Guest post by Andrew Grant
The population of planets outside the solar system has grown by about 70 percent, thanks to discoveries culled from Kepler space telescope data. Researchers are announcing 715 new confirmed planets in a February 26 press conference.
Astronomers had discovered 1,035 extrasolar planets since 1992, according to the NASA Exoplanet Archive. Now Kepler researchers have examined the telescope’s first two years of data and used a new statistical method to confirm the existence of 715 more planets around 305 stars. The telescope has identified another 3,600 or so candidates that still require independent confirmation.
A more in-depth story will follow.