The latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets beyond the solar system to nearly 1,700,
"We've almost doubled just today the number of planets known to humanity," Lissauer said.
These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, meaning many are in "multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system,"
Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth, it said.
Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun's habitable zone, where water can exist in liquid form, it said.
"The Kepler team continues to amaze and excite us with their planet hunting results," said
The team used the technique called verification by multiplicity to analyze stars with more than one potential planet, all of which were detected in the first two years of Kepler's observations,
"Four years ago, Kepler began a string of announcements of first hundreds, then thousands, of planet candidates -- but they were only candidate worlds," said Lissauer. "We've now developed a process to verify multiple planet candidates in bulk to deliver planets wholesale, and have used it to unveil a veritable bonanza of new worlds."
The findings papers will be published
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