Alien Worlds Boosted by 27: This morning my iPhone rumbled with some very cool news: 27 new extrasolar planets — or exoplanets — have been confirmed, bringing the total count to over 800.
The news of this slew of new exoplanetary confirmations was brought to my bedside table courtesy of the awesome Exoplanet App that keeps track of all the new exoplanetary discoveries and maintains an invaluable archive of the exoplanets listed in the Exoplanet.eu and Exoplanet.org databases.
Although there are many hundreds more candidate exoplanets being discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and other ground-based observatories, the 811 exoplanets now listed by the Exoplanet App have been confirmed to exist.
Today’s 27 new additions come from multiplanetary star systems — around the stars Kepler-48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60 — and were confirmed by an international team of astronomers working on data from Kepler. They confirmed these exoplanets’ existence through transit timing variations — the gravitational tug of other exoplanets in their star systems resulted in slight variations in their orbits, thus confirming they are actually exoplanets. This publication can be found on the arXiv preprint service (arXiv:1208.3499v1 [astro-ph.EP]). via the Exoplanet App