(BY: MIKE WALL, SPACE.com SENIOR EDITOR) – Our solar system is not alone atop the planet-harboring heap anymore.
Scientists have discovered another world orbiting the star Kepler-90, bringing that system’s tally of confirmed planets to eight — the same number as in Earth’s solar system (at least according to the International Astronomical Union, which stripped Pluto of its “ninth planet” status back in 2006).
That’s one more than the previous extrasolar record, which had been held jointly by Kepler-90 and the TRAPPIST-1 system.
The research team found the new planet, known as Kepler-90i — as well as another world in a different system — after analyzing archival data from NASA’s Kepler mission using Google machine-learning techniques.
“Just as we expected, there are exciting discoveries lurking in our archived Kepler data, waiting for the right tool or technology to unearth them,” Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “This finding shows that our data will be a treasure trove available to innovative researchers for years to come.”