And of those 54, five are Earth sized. This is huge, and that’s no exaggeration. There’s not much we can say about this that wouldn’t be ridiculously inadequate, so we won’t even try.
We’ll just give you an excerpt or two from the NASA press release and suggest that you click over to the NASA website to read NASA Finds Earth-Size Planet Candidates In Habitable Zone, Six Planet System. The bold font was added by us:
NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered its first Earth-size planet candidates and its first candidates in the habitable zone, a region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Five of the potential planets are near Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of smaller, cooler stars than our sun.
Five Earth-size planets in the Goldilocks zone! Let’s read on:
The discoveries are part of several hundred new planet candidates identified in new Kepler mission science data, released on Tuesday, Feb. 1. The findings increase the number of planet candidates identified by Kepler to-date to 1,235. Of these, 68 are approximately Earth-size; 288 are super-Earth-size; 662 are Neptune-size; 165 are the size of Jupiter and 19 are larger than Jupiter.
Of the 54 new planet candidates found in the habitable zone, five are near Earth-sized. The remaining 49 habitable zone candidates range from super-Earth size — up to twice the size of Earth — to larger than Jupiter.
One more excerpt:
“The fact that we’ve found so many planet candidates in such a tiny fraction of the sky suggests there are countless planets orbiting sun-like stars in our galaxy,” said William Borucki of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., the mission’s science principal investigator. “We went from zero to 68 Earth-sized planet candidates and zero to 54 candidates in the habitable zone, some of which could have moons with liquid water.”
If you’re interested — and if you’re aren’t, what’s wrong with you? — click over to NASA and read it all. As always, we’re awaiting the creationist response. It’s certain to be amusing.
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