Were 42 alien planets found by amateurs instead of professional astronomers? Supposedly, 40 volunteers with the Planet Hunters group discovered 15 planets in the habitable zone that could potentially harbor life. And get this: they did if from their web browsers using data from NASA space records. Imagine that?
My Fox wrote on Jan. 12 that in addition to the 42 alien exo-planets found, a Jupiter-size world called PH2 b, is the largest planet that could possibly hold some form of life.
The so-called "habitable zone" is an area that has conditions to support life as we know it. There has been evidence of liquid water on some of these bodies orbiting a distant star. In fact, when a body passes in front of a distant star and the light dims, it possibly signals the presence of a planet.
The amateur astronomers discovered PH2 b using NASA's prolific Kepler Space Telescope. The good news is the large body was confirmed with 99.9 percent confidence using observations made from the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
However, experts believe the size is too large to host life. But get this: any one of its moons may hold evidence of life.
University of Oxford's Chris Lintott, who heads up Zooniverse, shared this statement about the 42 alien planets found:
"These are planet candidates that slipped through the net, being missed by professional astronomers and rescued by volunteers in front of their web browsers. It's remarkable to think that absolutely anyone can discover a planet."
Planet Hunters has 48 alien planet discoveries under its belt, with the first find taking place just in 2011.
All that remains is for professional astronomers to do is verify that the 42 alien planets found are really, well...planets.