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Extrasolar Planets

Is our world unique? Is it the only one in existence, or are there others – perhaps many others – out there? Do other beings – maybe even intelligent ones – call these worlds their home, and live out their lives completely unbeknownst to us?

It was only in 1995 that we first discovered evidence that other stars had planets, as ours does.  Now we have detected many thousands of other worlds, and evidence suggests that a majority of sun-like stars possess them.  Most of these stellar systems bear little resemblance to ours. The easiest planets to detect are massive worlds located close to their stars, so "hot Jupiters" dominate the current list of exoplanets.  As our surveys continue, however, we are discovering more and more Neptunes and even super-Earths, in orbits farther and farther from their suns.

How to Search for Exoplanets

How are scientists searching for extrasolar planets? Read here of the different approaches, their strengths and weaknesses, and how planet hunters are pursuing them all.

Catalog of Exoplanets

We recommend the Paris Observatory's Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. The Planetary Society no longer maintains our own Catalog of Exoplanets.

Our Exoplanets Research

Exoplanets Laser

Our newest sponsored project uses a triple-laser system to support precise, long-term spectrograph calibrations.

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Alpha Centauri Planet Search

Are there Earth-like planets around our nearest stellar neighbor?

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FINDS Exo-Earths

FINDS Exo-Earths is a fiber-optic spectrograph technology that helps exoplanet hunters look for worlds beyond our solar system.

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Latest Blogs

Upgraded Alpha Centauri Planet Search Underway

Bruce Betts • July 26, 2013 • 1

The Planetary Society sponsored Alpha Centauri planet search started using a newly upgraded system in May. Here is a quick update including info from project leader Debra Fischer from Yale about their new system.

Planetary Society Weekly Hangout, Thu Feb 14 1200PT/2000UT: Courtney Dressing

Emily Lakdawalla • February 14, 2013 • 3

Emily Lakdawalla and Courtney Dressing talked about just how common Earth-sized exoplanets may be in our neighborhood. Watch the replay here.

The raw data behind an Earth-like exoplanet

Jason Davis • January 11, 2013 • 14

Taking a closer look at KOI 172.02, a super-Earth exoplanet sitting in its solar system's habitable zone.

Planetary Society Hangout: Jan 10th, 2013 - AAS Coverage with Astronomer Meg Schwamb

Casey Dreier • January 10, 2013 • 1

Join Casey Dreier and Emily Lakdawalla as they are joined by Dr. Meg Schwamb from Yale University. They will discuss the latest announcements from the American Astronomical Society 2013 conference and Dr. Schwamb's research in outer solar system bodies.

Report from AAS: Exoplanets (and exo-asteroids, and exo-comets) everywhere

Emily Lakdawalla • January 08, 2013 • 7

This year's American Astronomical Society meeting featured tons and tons of news on exoplanets. They're everywhere! And not just planets, but also asteroids, comets, and more....

Can you find a new planet?

Martin Still • January 07, 2013 • 1

A change in the Kepler data delivery process provides both scientists and the public to get involved in planet discovery.

A dispatch from J-school: two short videos

Jason Davis • October 23, 2012

Two short videos produced by Jason Davis on astronomy and planetary science work taking place at the University of Arizona.

First Planet Discovered in Alpha Centauri System

Bruce Betts • October 17, 2012 • 12

European astronomers have made the first planetary discovery in the closest-to-Earth Alpha Centauri star system. Here is some information about the discovery, and insights from Yale Astronomer Debra Fischer, who leads another Alpha Centauri planet search partially supported by The Planetary Society.

DPS 2012, Monday: Icy moons and a four-star exoplanet

Emily Lakdawalla • October 15, 2012 • 1

In the first full day of the annual meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, I listened to scientific sessions on icy worlds and on an exoplanet in a four-star system.

Every Planet in the Galaxy!

Mat Kaplan • June 20, 2012 • 2

Okay, just the ones we know about. xkcd does it again.

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