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How to Search for Exoplanets

Even through a powerful ground-or-space-based telescope, stars look like tiny points of light. Planets are even tinier, and are very difficult to spot next to their bright host stars. Therefore, scientists rely on indirect methods, like looking at the stars themselves for signs that planets might be orbiting them.

Some exoplanet-hunting methods almost sound like science fiction: Using gravity as a magnifying glass, watching stars wobble at turtle-like speeds, and searching for tiny dips in starlight.

Seven Ways to Find Exoplanets

How We Search for Exoplanets Infographic

The Planetary Society

How We Search for Exoplanets Infographic
As of 2020, we have discovered more than 4,100 exoplanets outside our solar system, and we keep finding more.
Bill Nye and people
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