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NASA to announce discovery of 'intriguing planetary system'

By the CNN Wire Staff
A drawing of the Kepler space telescope on its hunt for Earth-like planets.
A drawing of the Kepler space telescope on its hunt for Earth-like planets.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Kepler observatory has been recording blips from 150,000 stars
  • The stars dim in brightness if a planet crosses in front of them
  • So far, Kepler has identified more than 700 planet candidates
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(CNN) -- For more than a year, the spacecraft Kepler has been combing the vastness of space looking for Earth-like planets.

On Thursday, NASA scientists will share news of what they are calling the "discovery of an intriguing planetary system."

Since its launch on March 6, 2009, the space observatory has recorded tiny blips from more than 150,000 stars.

If a planet happens to cross -- or transit -- in front of a star, the star dims in brightness.

That is how Kepler determines it may have come across a planet.

In June, NASA announced that the space observatory had identified more than 700 planet candidates, including five solar systems that had more than one transiting planet.

But scientists need to examine further to make sure it is indeed a planet that is crossing in front of a star, and not another orbiting star.

 
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