Scientists have discovered an exoplanet with characteristics distinctly similar to Jupiter. The planet was found when they checked old data collected by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope. Remarkably, the old telescope made the observation using gravitational microlensing.
The study, available on arXiv, describes exoplanet K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb. It has the same mass as Jupiter and even rotates as far away from its parent star as Jupiter. The data collected by Kepler in 2016 was the key to discovering Jupiter's twin.
Scientists say K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb is the first microlensing exoplanet discovered from space data. Kepler has managed to detect more than 2,700 confirmed exoplanets in its nine-year career, but this is the first time in the history of science that the telescope has been able to detect an extrasolar planet through a microlensing event. Kepler wasn't really designed for such observations.