A global team of scientists led by the Technical University of Denmark’s National Space Institute (DTU Space) PhD student Andrew Mayo has discovered 95 new exoplanets, which are based outside the solar system.

The discovery was made through data provided by Nasa’s K2 Kepler telescope, thereby bringing the total number of new exoplanets found by the mission to 300.

Nasa launched the telescope in 2009, with an aim of searching exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but the telescope stopped functioning after suffering a mechanical failure in 2013.

“This research has been underway since the first K2 data release in 2014.”

Despite the failure, the astronomers and engineers created a way to repurpose and save the telescope by periodically changing its field of view.

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The telescope is still helping scientists to locate exoplanet transits, which can be found by registering dips in light created by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its host star.

Mayo said: “We started out analysing 275 candidates, of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets. In turn, 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries.

“This research has been underway since the first K2 data release in 2014.”

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The research that led to the discovery of the new exoplanets is part of a senior project conducted during Mayo’s undergraduate studies at Harvard College, Massachusetts, US.

It included a team of representatives from Nasa, Caltech, UC Berkeley, University of Copenhagen, and the University of Tokyo.

Mayo added: “We validated a planet on a ten-day orbit around a star called HD 212657, which is now the brightest star found by either the Kepler or K2 missions to host a validated planet.

“Planets around bright stars are important because astronomers can learn a lot about them from ground-based observatories.”

The Kepler space telescope and its successor K2 mission have so far provided more than 5,100 exoplanet candidates for further study.