The Kepler telescope, designed to find Exo-planets (which I believe refers to planets beyond our own solar system), has so far turned up 1,235 in multiple solar systems in just a few months. This is even more impressive when you consider that it only looks at a small area of space, equivalent to about 1/400th of the sky.
Interestingly, none of these other solar systems have as many planets as our own (the most so far is the system that is being called ‘Kepler-11’ with 6 planets).
Of course, there may be more – the method for detecting new planets is to look for the tiny reduction of light that reaches the telescope from a star when an exoplanet passes in front of it. This information is used to direct astronomers here on earth to the location so they can confirm it.
Only five planets so far are in what is known as the habitable zone. This is an area of space around a star which is also known as the Goldilocks zone because any planets there will be not too hot and not too cold to support life as we know it. This means that there could be life on these planets, or at least the potential for it. Make you wonder, doesn’t it?