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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

Latest Blogs

Two cool discoveries today: icy-hot exoplanet and smallest ever Kuiper Belt object

Emily Lakdawalla • December 16, 2009

There are two cool stories circulating today on the theme of discovering new places in the cosmos.

FINDS Exo-Earths Starts Up: Testing the Prototype

Debra Fischer • October 30, 2009 • 2

The prototype that Julien constructed in the lab was taken to Lick Observatory, and we had our first-light run with the fiber in July.

Europlanet : CoRoT - Preliminary Results

Doug Ellison • August 20, 2007

ESA's planet-hunting satellite COROT bagged its first exoplanet in observations of the star COROT-Exo-1.

The Planetary Society and the Search for Extrasolar Planets

Amir Alexander • October 27, 2005

Almost since it was founded in 1980, The Planetary Society has been there for the search for other worlds.

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