An exoplanet is basically a planet outside the Solar System. A total of 973 such planets (in 743 planetary systems, including 162 multiple planetary systems) have been identified as of 14 September 2013. The Kepler mission space telescope has detected thousands more candidate planets, including 262 that may be habitable planets. Continue reading to see twelve fascinating exoplanets you won’t believe exist.

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In the Milky Way galaxy, it is expected that there are many billions of planets (at least one planet, on average, orbiting around each star, resulting in 100 – 400 billion exoplanets), with many more free-floating planetary-mass bodies orbiting the galaxy directly.

The nearest (unverified) exoplanet is Alpha Centauri Bb. Almost all of the planets detected so far are within our home galaxy the Milky Way; however, there have been a small number of possible detections of extragalactic planets. In 2013, it was estimated that there are at least 17 billion Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way.