NASA Planet Hunter Finds 5 New Worlds

Glowing hot planets found, 100 possibles being analyzed
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2010 3:00 AM CST
Updated Jan 5, 2010 6:00 AM CST
This image taken by the Kepler telescope shows an expansive, 100-square-degree patch of sky in our Milky Way galaxy where NASA hopes to find Earth-like planets.   (AP Photo/NASA/JPL CALTECH)

(Newser) – NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope has found its first five planets outside our solar system, and they're all hotter than molten lava.The planets are all much bigger than Earth and orbit their suns very closely. Their discovery is a dramatic demonstration that Kepler is working well, boosting the hopes of finding an Earth-like planet more suited to life within the next few years, note NASA officials.

Another 100 signals from Kepler are still being scrutinized and may indicate the existence of other planets, the BBC reports. Kepler also uncovered two mysterious planet-sized objects that appear to be hotter than the suns they orbit. "There's a lot of real interesting stuff," said the director of NASA's Ames Research Center. "That's all we can say now."

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