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NASA announced yesterday the discovery of 11 planetary systems and 26 alien planets.

Kepler discovers 26 more alien worlds

Orbital positions of the planets in systems with multiple transiting planets discovered by NASA's Kepler mission. (credit: NASA Ames/Dan Fabrycky, University of California, Santa Cruz)

NASA announced yesterday the discovery of 11 planetary systems and 26 alien planets. These planets are the latest finds from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope. According to NASA, these new planets “triple the number of stars known to have more than one planet that transits, or passes in front of, its host star.”

Astrobiology Magazine describes the findings:

The planets orbit close to their host stars and range in size from 1.5 times the radius of Earth to larger than Jupiter. Fifteen are between Earth and Neptune in size. Further observations will be required to determine which are rocky like Earth and which have thick gaseous atmospheres like Neptune. The planets orbit their host star once every six to 143 days. All are closer to their host star than Venus is to our Sun.

2011 was an exciting year with the release of Kepler data. And much more data will continue to be released in 2012. As MSNBC explains, the mission has successfully confirmed 61 planets, and has identified another 2,326 planetary candidates that have yet to be confirmed.

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About Jason McClellan

Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.