Kepler: the first data, and hundreds of possible new planets

Remember Kepler? It’s the space probe with a mission to locate planets that are similar to our own (which are our best bet to start looking for life, or at least life we’d recognise). It launched in March 2009, and started looking in June of that year.

NASA has been collecting, reviewing, and categorising that data. Today they’ve released the first bit of it.

Here’s a summary from Dynamics of Cats: check that out for links to more detail.

306 new candidate exoplanets, with 5 multiple transiting systems – ie stars with more than one planet transiting them.

The really interesting systems though are the 400 objects that the Kepler team got permission to withhold, and the data on which will be released later.

Statistically 100+ of those ought to be real planets, and probably the most interesting of all the exoplanets they found.