NZ Herald/AP: 32 more planets discovered

European astronomers have found another 32 planets in solar systems outside ours, bringing the total number of exoplanets to more than 400.

Exoplanets – or planets outside our solar system – intrigue scientists interested in studying whether life could have evolved other than on Earth. Finding earth-like planets is of particular interest.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Scientists using the European Southern Observatory telescope did not find any planets quite the size of Earth or any that seemed habitable or even unusual.

“Astronomer Stephane Udry of the University of Geneva said the results support the theory that planet formation is common, especially around the most common types of stars.

“”I’m pretty confident that there are Earth-like planets everywhere,” Udry said in a Web-based news briefing from a conference in Portugal.”