That brings the K2 tally to 292, and the total haul over Kepler's entire operational life to almost 2,440-about two-thirds of all the alien worlds ever discovered. Of which, more than 3,200 now have been verified as exoplanets and 2,300 of these were discovered by Kepler.
"This research has been underway since the first K2 data release in 2014", Mayo stated.
The number of exoplanets has risen by nearly 100, as an global team of astronomers confirms a new batch found in data captured as part of the K2 mission - the NASA Kepler telescope's new lease on life.
But mission managers figured out a way to stabilize Kepler using sunlight pressure, and the spacecraft soon embarked on its K2 mission, which involves exoplanet hunting on a more limited basis, as well as observing comets and asteroids in our own solar system, supernovas and a range of other objects and phenomena.
Using powerful telescopes, exoplanets can be detected as they orbit around their star, which causes a subtle dimming of starlight. The Kepler telescope had a mechanical failure in 2013 after observing one swath of space for four years, picking up faraway, dim planets and stars. "In turn, 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries", said USA doctoral student Andrew Mayo at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.
One of the 95 planets discovered was found to be orbiting the brightest start ever observed by the Kepler telescope.
The whole idea of this research is that people will eventually find Exoplanets, and not only - maybe other planets, too - which are as the same size of the Earth and in which will be able to live.
According to their observations, a total of 275 signals for candidate planets were found, out of which 149 resulted in being exoplanets. The search for more is far from over, and each discovery brings us a little closer to understanding how Earth fits into our galaxy-and maybe to finding life elsewhere.
Mayo says they "detected planets that range from sub Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger".
Mayo and his team had to analyze hundreds of signals to determine which were caused by exoplanets dipping in front of their host stars, and which were something else entirely.
"Exoplanets are a very exciting field of space science", said Mayo. "Planets around bright stars are important because astronomers can learn a lot about them from ground-based observatories", said Mayo.
The Kepler space telescope has made huge contributions to the field of exoplanets both in its original mission and its successor K2 mission.