Astronomers have announced that the NASA Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a number of extra-solar planets deep in the Milky Way. The discovery was made during the Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search, also known as SWEEPS. The light of 180,000 stars were monitored over one week to try and see any dimming that would occur from the passing of a planet. The newly discovered bodies are at least 10 times as far from Earth as the more than 200 planets already discovered outside of our solar system.
The 16 planet candidates are orbiting numerous stars in the central region of the Milky Way galaxy. Calculations have shown that at least seven of the bodies can easily qualify as planets. One of planet candidates circles close enough to its star that the planet’s surface temperature is more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As many as five of the newly discovered planets are able to orbit their home stars in less than a day – one of them is able to do it in 10 hours, according to astronomers. The fastest planet in our solar system, Mercury, is able to orbit around the Sun in 88 days.
None of the planet candidates can be confirmed as planets until the NASA James Webb Space Telescope is launched in 2013.