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Search for exoplanets reveals 54 potential Earth like worlds

Astronomers have said they have identified 54 new exoplanets that may be able to sustain life.

The news comes from the team of scientists operating the Keplar space telescope, who have said that the new discovery brings the total number of possibly habitable worlds in excess of 1,200. Other findings included in the latest data release also include a unique solar system bearing six close-orbiting planets around a single star and an additional 170 solar systems that have two or more planets orbiting far off stars.

Scientists say that five of the newly discovered set are about the same size as Earth, bringing the total number of Earth-sized exoplanets identified by the Keplar telescope to 68. There are 288 planets up to twice the size of our own, dubbed ‘Super-Earths’, as well as 662 that are the size of Neptune and an additional 184 that are even bigger.

All of these findings have come just months after the initial launch of the Keplar space telescope, which was specifically designed for the purpose of hunting exoplanets. The team use the device to stare out at a fixed portion of the night sky near the constellations Lyra and Cygnus.

William Borucki, lead researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center, said that the fact that they’ve already found so many exoplanets in tiny piece of the night sky means that their must be countless amounts of exoplanets orbiting stars in our own galaxy.

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