Scientists' list of verified planets is now more than two dozen planets longer, thanks to NASA's Kepler space telescope team.
The Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems with 26 verified planets in the Cygnus and Lyra constellations, NASA said Thursday.
This nearly triples the number of verified multiple-planet stars that the Kepler mission has discovered, now standing at 17. And it nearly doubles the number of verified planets it has discovered, which now is 61.
Before the Kepler satellite was launched in 2009, scientists knew about perhaps 500 planets outside our solar system "across the whole sky," said Doug Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA.
"Now, in just two years staring at a patch of sky not much bigger than your fist, Kepler has discovered more than 60 planets and more than 2,300 planet candidates," Hudgins said in a news release. "This tells us that our galaxy is positively loaded with planets of all sizes and orbits."FULL STORY