The growing planetary family

At least 1,200 added to list of possible planets beyond the solar system

By Stephen Ornes, 18:34 PM February 17, 2011

 

This photo shows the tiny patch of sky around the Milky Way that the Kepler space telescope constantly studies. Credit Carter Roberts

 

 

Planet hunters and space enthusiasts, rejoice! On February 2, astronomers announced the discovery of 1,235 possible new planets in the galaxy. These strange new worlds — near and far, large and small ― are called exoplanets, or extrasolar planets. They orbit stars other than the sun, racing through space far away from the solar system. Before the announcement, scientists knew about more than 500 exoplanets, so the new discovery brings the planetary count to more than 1,700.

 

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