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NASA's Kepler Survey Catalog Reveals 219 New Planet Candidates

First Posted: Jun 20, 2017 04:15 AM EDT

NASA scientists have introduced 219 new planet candidates, in which 10 of them are the near-Earth size and orbiting in their star's habitable zone. They were identified by Kepler space telescope and have been added to its discoveries that reach a total of 4,034 candidate planets.

The findings of the new catalog study were presented at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley on Monday. The study was led by Susan Thompson, a Kepler scientist for the SETI Institute in California, and other colleagues.

NASA stated that this is the most comprehensive and detailed catalog release of candidate exoplanets that are planets outside the solar system. This is also the final catalog from the view of Kepler of the patch of sky in the Cygnus constellation.

About 2,335 have been confirmed as exoplanets among the total of the discovered 4,034 candidate planets detected by Kepler. Among the 50-near-Earth-size habitable zone candidates, there were 30 that have been verified.

Thompson said that with this catalog they are able to extend their analysis of planets' demographics out of the longest periods. These periods are like the planet Earth. This catalog will also help the scientists calculate how many planets like the planet Earth are in the galaxy, according to Space.com.

Meanwhile, Mario Perez, Kepler program scientist in the Astrophysics Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, described the Kepler data set as unique. This is because it contains the population of these near-Earth-size catalog of planets that have almost the same size and orbit as Earth. He further said that understanding their frequency in the galaxy will help inform the design of the future NASA missions to directly image another Earth.

This catalog is the latest release of Kepler during the first four years of its mission. Kepler identifies planets through determining the minuscule drop in the brightness of the star that could happen when a planet crosses in front of it, in which it is called a transit. 

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