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New app brings users alien planets

New app brings users alien planets
Screenshot of the Kepler Explorer app. Credit: University of California, Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., April 4 (UPI) -- A new app for iPhones and iPads allows users to interactively view information on thousands of alien planets discovered in a cosmic survey, its developers say.

Developed at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the free Kepler Explorer app lets users study displays of the 2,300 alien planet candidates detected to date by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

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Kepler Explorer displays data on nearly 1,800 Kepler-discovered planetary systems plus our own solar system, SPACE.com reported Wednesday.

Users can select a system and are then presented a view of the planet or planets in orbit around their host star, and can click on an individual planet for information about it.

"I have pretty good intuition for what the likely composition of a planet is based on its size, but the app allows anyone to explore the properties of many different planets very quickly," said UCSC astrophysicist Jonathan Fortney, a Kepler mission scientist who helped develop the app with UCSC astronomers, artists and designers.

The Kepler Explorer app will be automatically updated to add planet candidates as they are discovered, its developers said.

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