Extrasolar planet discoveries have boosted by 50 percent the number of known planets orbiting massive stars. Extrasolar planets are those outside of our solar system.
Astronomers have found 18 new alien planets, all of them Jupiter-size gas giants that circle stars bigger than our sun, a new study reports.
The discoveries increase the number of known planets orbiting massive stars by 50 percent. The exoplanet bounty should also help astronomers better understand how giant planets form and grow in nascent alien solar systems, researchers said.
The haul comes just a few months after a different team of researchers announced the discovery of 50 newfound alien worlds, including one rocky planet that could be a good candidate for life. The list of known alien planets is now well over 700 and climbing fast.
The researchers surveyed about 300 stars using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and instruments in Texas and Arizona. They focused on so-called "retired" type A stars that are at least 1.5 times more massive than our own sun.