Google’s AI found an overlooked exoplanet, and now our Solar System is tied for biggest
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has discovered a record-tying eighth exoplanet circling a Sun-like star using Google’s artificial intelligence (AI).
Our solar system now is tied to the most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light-years from Earth, marking the first finding of an eight-planet solar system like ours.
The newly discovered exoplanets or planets outside of the earth’s solar system were found after researchers applied the same AI techniques that help computers recognize images like cats in photos to data gathered from the Kepler space telescope.
The Kepler Space Telescope has been searching the galactic sky for exoplanets, or planets outside our own Solar System since it launched in 2009.
The research by Google and the University of Texas at Austin that used data from Nasa raised the prospects of new insights into the universe by feeding data into computer programs that can churn through information faster and more in-depth than humanly possible, a technique known as machine learning.
The software’s artificial “neural network” combed through data about 670 stars, which led to the discovery of planets Kepler 80g and Kepler 90i.
According to researchers, Astronomers had never before observed an eight-planet network beside the solar system that includes Earth.
Christopher Shallue, an artificial intelligence researcher at Google, and Andrew Vanderburg, an astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin, said they plan to continue their work by analyzing Kepler data on more than 150,000 other stars
According to Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division in Washington: “Just as we expected, there are exciting discoveries lurking in our archived Kepler data, waiting for the right tool or technology to unearth them.”
“This finding shows that our data will be a treasure trove available to innovative researchers for years to come.”
With the new exoplanet, the Kepler-90 system ties our solar system to the number of planets. With AI’s help, more planets may be spotted to change that.