astroengine writes: The number planets beyond the solar system took a giant leap thanks to a new technique that verifies candidate planets found by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in batches rather than one-by-one. The new method adds 715 planets to Kepler’s list of confirmed planets, which previously totaled 246, scientists said Wednesday. Combined with other telescopes’ finds, the overall exoplanet headcount now reaches nearly 1,700. "By moving
... to statistical studies in a 'big data' fashion, Kepler has showcased the diversity and types of planets present in our galaxy," astronomer Sara Seager, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in an email to Discovery News.