College is often a time of great personal and scholarly discovery, and that is particularly true of a recent graduate at the University of British Columbia.
While working on her bachelor's degree in physics and astronomy, Michelle Kunimoto found four previously unknown planets.
Until they've been confirmed, they are all being regarded as "planet candidates" and each carries the cataloging distinction KOI, or Kepler Object of Interest.
Of the four planets, KOI 408.05 is capturing the most attention. The Neptune-sized celestial body is in its star's habitable zone.
Said Kunimoto of the orb, "Like our own Neptune, it's unlikely to have a rocky surface or oceans. The exciting part is that like the large planets in our solar system, it could have large moons and these moons could have liquid water oceans."
Kunimoto plans to do more planet searching in the near future, as she will be returning to the school in the fall to pursue a master's degree.
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Experimental space habitat Bigelow Expandable Activity Module on ISS
College student finds 4 previously unknown planets
The unexpanded Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is seen attached to the Tranquility module on the International Space Station in this still image taken from NASA TV May 26, 2016. NASA called off an attempt to inflate an experimental habitat attached to the International Space Station after the fabric module failed to expand as planned on Thursday. NASA TV/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is seen during a media briefing at Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 16, 2013. Astronauts aboard the space station will inflate early on Thursday a prototype expandable module, which will be tested for two years as a possible habitat for crews on long-duration missions around the moon or to Mars. Bill Ingalls/NASA/File Photo/Handout via Reuters FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS