Whenever astronomers announce a discovery involving NASA’s Kepler space telescope, the “Goldilocks” zone and rocky exoplanets, chances are it’s cause for excitement. Scientists Tuesday confirmed eight “Earth-like” exoplanets orbiting in the habitable zone of their host star. The Kepler planet-hunting mission has been incredibly successful with the latest discoveries pushing the total number of exoplanets discovered by the space telescope to more than 1,000.
As part of the confirmation of eight exoplanets, the Kepler team added 554 candidate planets, bringing the total number to 4,157. Of the eight planets confirmed, three are within the habitable zone of their host stars and two, Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b, are believed to be rocky exoplanets slightly bigger than Earth. The study was led by Guillermo Torres, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Astronomers call the area around the host star where temperatures are neither too cool nor too hot to sustain liquid water the “Goldilocks” zone.
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