NASA discovers eighth planet orbiting distant star

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- An eighth planet has been found in a faraway solar system, matching our own in numbers.

This graphic shows the order and relative sizes of the planets in the Kepler-90 System and our Solar System. (Distances are not to scale.) | Image: NASA

Even more amazing, machines and not humans made the discovery. NASA joined with Google on Thursday to announce the finding.

This eighth planet orbits the star known as Kepler-90, 2,545 light-years away. Like Earth, this new planet is the third rock from its sun. But it's much closer to its sun and therefore a scorching 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 Celsius) at the surface.

Google used data collected by NASA's exoplanet-hunter, the Kepler Space Telescope, to develop its machine-learning computer program. It focuses on weak planetary signals -- so feeble and numerous it would take humans ages to examine.

This is the only eight-planet solar system found like ours -- so far.

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