Gallery: Some Of Kepler’s Strange New Worlds Outside The Solar System

With the latest Kepler space telescope exoplanet finding announced yesterday, the mighty planet hunter has now found 1,000 confirmed worlds — with about 3,000 more planetary candidates just waiting for confirmation.

The NASA observatory has found exoplanets of many sizes — smaller than Mercury, the size of our Moon, the size of Jupiter or larger, and in a couple of cases, Earth-sized worlds in the habitable regions of their stars. Below is a gallery of some of the observatory’s notable finds.

An artist’s conception of a planet in a star cluster. Credit: Michael Bachofner
An artist’s conception of one of the newly released exo-worlds, a planet orbiting an ancient planetary nebula. Credit: David A. Aguilar/CfA.
Meet Kepler-22b, an exoplanet with an Earth-like radius in the habitable zone of its host star. Unfortunately its mass remains unknown. Image Credit: NASA
NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered a new planetary system that is home to the smallest planet yet found around a star like our sun, approximately 210 light-years away in the constellation Lyra. Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
Artist’s Concept of Kepler-20e, one of two Earth-sized planets found by the Kepler spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
Kepler-37b, a moon-sized exoplanet. Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
Artist’s conception of the Kepler-35 system where a Saturn-sized planet orbits its two stars. Credit: © Mark A. Garlick / space-art.co.uk
The “invisible” world Kepler-19c, seen in the foreground of this artist’s conception, was discovered solely through its gravitational influence on the companion world Kepler-19b – the dot crossing the star’s face. Kepler-19b is slightly more than twice the diameter of Earth, and is probably a “mini-Neptune.” Nothing is known about Kepler-19c, other than that it exists. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)
Illustration of Kepler-186f, a recently-discovered, possibly Earthlike exoplanet that could be a host to life. (NASA Ames, SETI Institute, JPL-Caltech, T. Pyle)
Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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