Kepler Detects 5 New Planets

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, sent into space in March 2009, detected its first five exoplanets—planets beyond our solar system—the American Astronomical Society announced at a meeting in Washington. The new "worlds," as the BBC calls them, are all larger than Neptune (some four times the size of Earth), and bear the names Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b and 8b. NASA also reported the planets are hotter than the sun, deterring any hopes of finding life on them. "The planets we found are all hotter than molten lava; they all simply glow with their temperatures," said Kepler lead scientist Bill Borucki. Kepler is equipped with the largest camera ever launched into space and continuously monitors more than 150,000 stars.