1,284 new planets identified by Kepler team

NASA has announced the discovery of 1,284 new planets using the Kepler telescope.

Not only is that the most exoplanets that has ever been announced at one time, but it more than doubles the total number of planets discovered by the planet-hunting space telescope to 2,325.

"This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth,"  said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington.

Overall, more than 3,200 planets outside our solar system have now been confirmed.

NASA says the bounty of discoveries was made possible by a new technique that allows scientists to confirm planet discoveries with 99 per cent certainty without having to observe each one individually with ground-based telescopes.

Instead, they use computer modelling to rule out the possibility that the planet-like signal is caused by an unusual configuration of stars or a brown dwarf.

The new discoveries are published in the Astrophysical Journal.

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