STARGAZERS have discovered 20 worlds “hiding in plain sight” which they believe could be habitable.
Analysis of data from the Kepler space telescope revealed a list of planets that orbit stars like our own sun.
Each potential new world comes with varying orbit times, including one that takes the equivalent of 395 Earth days to circle its star and another which takes just 18.
The exoplanet with a 395-day year is one of the most exciting, according to Jeff Coughlin, the Kepler team leader who helped badyse the data.
It is about 97 per cent the size of Earth but colder and more like our tundra regions.
Despite its chilly climate, it is still warm and large enough to hold liquid water – which is vital for life.
Coughlin told New Scientist: “If you had to choose one to send a spacecraft to, it’s not a bad option.”
The planets will form part of an investigation from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Earlier this year the Kepler spacecraft has detected 219 new exoplanet candidates – and ten could be habitable.
There are around 4,034 observed potential planets in our galaxy, according to Nasa’s Ames Research Center.
The centuries-old hunt for other worlds like our own was recently rejuvenated thanks to the Kepler Telescope, which is currently orbiting Earth.
Scientists have spotted thousands of contenders after sifting through data collected by the instrument.
They are hoping to find terrestrial planets – around one half to twice the size of our planet and in the habitable zone.
The Kepler telescope began observing a fixed point in the Milky Way back in 2009 but suffered a technical glitch that put an end to its work in 2013.
A second mission was launched again in 2014 and will continue to send data back until 2018.
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