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NASA Telescope Discovers 1,000 New Possible Planets

VOA News February 02, 2011

Researchers with the U.S. space agency NASA say a telescope has discovered more than 1,200 possible planets and hundreds of new multi-planet systems.

NASA released data Wednesday from the Kepler planet-finding telescope. The telescope was launched into space in 2009 to find planets that could support life. Kepler is pointed at an area of more than 150,000 stars in a part of the Milky Way galaxy.

New findings reveal there are more planets the size of Earth or smaller - rather than giant planets like Jupiter.

Jonathan Fortney, an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said the findings are "exciting" because researchers really did not know what to expect Kepler to find.

Kepler tracks a potential new planet by watching it pass in front of a sun-like star it orbits.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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