Nearly 4,100 planets have been observed orbiting other stars. Our Milky Way galaxy is now inferred to have billions of planets. Data
show that the structure of our solar system has some rare, but not unique, characteristics that favored the evolution of complex, carbon based life. The methods used for discovering planets and determining their orbits around distant stars will be presented with minimal
jargon, along with descriptions of their possible climates and their potential for having life as we know it.