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Using public data collected by NASA's Kepler mission, astronomers
have catalogued the planet candidates that may be similar to our third
rock from the sun. The tabulation of candidates will help astronomers
focus their research efforts in the search for life.
The analysis, led by Stephen Kane, an associate professor of physics
and astronomy at San Francisco State University in California,
highlights 20 candidates in the Kepler trove that are less than twice
the size of Earth and orbit their star in the conservative habitable
zone -- the range of distances where liquid water could pool on the
surface of an orbiting planet. Of these 20 candidates, nine have been
previously investigated and determined to be verified planets, including
notables like Kepler-62f, Kepler-186f, Kepler-283c, Kepler-296f and
The results are presented in a paper accepted by the Astrophysical
Journal. For a listing of the candidates and their properties, the paper
can be reviewed at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1608.00620.
NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley manages
the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed Kepler
mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation
operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for
Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.