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Snapshots From The Final Frontier

Almost completely ignored by Galileo and Rene Descartes, Johannes Kepler introduced ideas in the 17th century that would revolutionize astronomy and the world of science. Last week, NASA launched its Kepler space telescope in the hunt for Earth-like planets.

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With the help of other space-based telescopes such as the Hubble and Spitzer, nearly 300 planets have been discovered since 1995. Kepler will orbit the sun, observing a patch of space in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra — a region containing more than 100,000 stars. Take a look at some of the images that Hubble and Spitzer have captured through the years. And read more about the Kepler mission here.

Images courtesy NASA/ESA.