SCIENCE
01/14/2013 02:47 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

42 Alien Planets Found By 'Planet Hunters,' Including Some That Could Support Life

Evidence for 42 alien planets has been found by a group of amateurs, just days after NASA announced it had discovered 461 new planet "candidates."

The discovery was made by 40 volunteers, who have been crowdsourcing NASA data for the "Planet Hunters" project, Space.com reported.

Fifteen of the 42 alien planet candidates are believed to be in habitable zones--not too close to their host stars and not too far away. That suggests some of the planets may be capable of supporting life. Among the planets is a Jupiter-sized planet known as PH2 b. While it is unlikely that the giant planet is home to life, one of its moons could be, NBC News reported.

This is not the first discovery announced by Yale University-led Planet Hunters. In October, the group said it had found an alien planet with two suns.

The discoveries are making science fiction seem more realistic. The film "Avatar" depicts an alien moon near a huge planet that supports life, and the "Star Wars" series features an alien planet with two suns.

PlanetHunters.org has more information on the ongoing project and allows visitors to browse data as crowdsourcing efforts continue to turn up new planets.

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