Not so long ago the finding of an exoplanet was huge news, but these days they're announcing them with dozens at a time. BBC News reports today that researchers have found 32 exoplanets using a 3.6m telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla facility in Chile, the discovery takes the number of known exoplanets to more than 400. The newly discovered planets range in size from five times the mass of Earth to 5-10 times the mass of Jupiter.
The discovery is exciting because it suggests that low-mass planets could be numerous in our galaxy.
"From [our] results, we know now that at least 40% of solar-type stars have low-mass planets. This is really important because it means that low-mass planets are everywhere, basically," explained Stephane Udry from Geneva University, Switzerland.
"What's very interesting is that models are predicting them, and we are finding them; and furthermore the models are predicting even more lower-mass planets like the Earth."