Exoplanets - New Worlds and Discoveries in Space

Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has gazed up into the stars in search for answers and meaning, whilst exploring the galaxy and discovering new worlds, mankind’s ultimate endeavor. What else lies out there in the vast Cosmos? Perhaps some other extraterrestrial being millions of light-years away looks back at us and wonders the same question: does intelligent life exist outside our beloved planet, and if so, what implications does that carry? The Babylonians of the 7th Century BC were the first civilization on Earth to have some general notion of what a planet was, being able to observe Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn with the naked eye. During the medieval European renaissance, the scientific revolution and invention of the telescope redefined the concept of a planet. The heliocentric model brought forth by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler gave humanity a deeper understanding of our Solar System, and by the 19th Century, several other celestial objects became classified as planets, though further progress in astronomy gave us the total complete count for our planetary neighborhood, with the final addition of Pluto in 1930. In 1988, the first scientific detection of an exoplanet was recorded and confirmed in 1992, opening the exoplanet flood gates for the next two decades. In 2002, The HARPS was installed on ESO’s 3.6m telescope at Chile’s La Silla Observatory, to date lays claim for over 130 exoplanet discoveries while the newly retired Kepler Space Observatory launched in 2009 is responsible for over 2000 exoplanet discoveries. Additional planet hunting technologies continue developing and launching into space, including NASA’s TESS and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, further augmenting past discoveries and paving the way for new ones. As of the year 2019, 4,048 planets have been accounted for, confirmed to exist in the Milky Way Galaxy in 3,022 star systems, 656 of these systems having more than one planet. Of all these floating orbs, 49 of them lie in the habitable zone of their corresponding stars, which means they each have the potential to harbor life, and the number continues to grow.

Exoplanet Discoveries

Confirmed

Multiplanetary Star Systems

Planetary Systems

Habitable Zone

Proxima Centauri B

Located slightly over 4 light-years away from Earth, Proxima Centauri B, our closest neighboring world, bears many characteristics that suggest it might offer ideal conditions to support life. The exoplanet, also referred to as Proxima B, was discovered in 2016 by the...

Gliese 667 Cc

Residing in a triple star system in the Scorpius constellation some 23-23 light-years away, Gliese (GJ) 667 Cc orbits within the habitable zone of its red dwarf star.  Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory discovered Gliese 667 Cc in 2011 (announced 2012)...

Kepler-1229b

Kepler-1229b is a confirmed Super-Earth exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star, Kepler-1229, inside the habitable zone. It is the lone planet of the star system, located 770 light-years away from Earth in the Cygnus constellation. Discovered on May 12, 2016 by the Kepler...

Wolf 1061c

Wolf 1061c is an exoplanet confirmed to orbit within the habitable zone of its host star (Wolf 1061) 13.8 light-years away from Earth, residing in the constellation Ophiuchus, the fifth closest potentially habitable world to Earth. Above: artist concept of a...

NASA’s TESS Reveals New Exoplanets, Distant Supernovae

After almost a year since launch, the first of many discoveries of NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) have been revealed. Launched into orbit on April 18, 2018, TESS began its mission to survey the skies with advanced equipment to find what other...
China’s Chang’e 4 Spacecraft is a lunar exploration mission that became the first manmade spacecraft to successfully land on the dark side of the Moon on January 3, 2019

Chang’e 4

China’s Chang’e 4 Spacecraft is a lunar exploration mission that became the first manmade spacecraft to successfully land on the dark side of the Moon on January 3, 2019. Wu Weiren, the Lunar exploration chief of the mission, remarked that the event is a “huge stride”...

Kepler-442b

Kepler-442b (KOI-4742.01) is a confirmed exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of its star (Kepler-442). It is located 1,206 light years away from Earth, residing in the constellation Lyra. Discovered by the Kepler Spacecraft using the transit method, NASA...
On October 3, 2018, using data from the Kepler Space Telescope, NASA announced that astronomers have acquired captivating evidence of a possible exomoon orbiting an exoplanet.

NASA Announces Evidence For Possible First Exomoon

On October 3, 2018, using data from the Kepler Space Telescope, NASA announced that astronomers have acquired captivating evidence of a possible moon orbiting an exoplanet. The discovery of an Exomoon would mark the first of its kind, a moon orbiting a...
2MASS J11193254–1137466 two rogue planets four times the size of Jupiter

Double Planet All The Way

In 2015, astronomers discovered two rogue gas planets four times the size of Jupiter wandering together in Space. Exoplanets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and compositions, though most are bound orbiting a host star... but in our vast, infinite universe, there...
First exoplanet outside our solar system with oxygen and carbon detected in its atmosphere

Osiris

Osiris, also known as HD 209458b, is an extra solar planet with some intriguing characteristics. It is known for being the first exoplanet outside our solar system with oxygen and carbon detected in its atmosphere, though there’s a catch. The oxygen and...

Proxima Centauri B

Located slightly over 4 light-years away from Earth, Proxima Centauri B, our closest neighboring world, bears many characteristics that suggest it might offer ideal conditions to support life. The exoplanet, also referred to as Proxima B, was discovered in 2016 by the...

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Gliese 667 Cc

Residing in a triple star system in the Scorpius constellation some 23-23 light-years away, Gliese (GJ) 667 Cc orbits within the habitable zone of its red dwarf star.  Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory discovered Gliese 667 Cc in 2011 (announced 2012)...

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Kepler-1229b

Kepler-1229b is a confirmed Super-Earth exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star, Kepler-1229, inside the habitable zone. It is the lone planet of the star system, located 770 light-years away from Earth in the Cygnus constellation. Discovered on May 12, 2016 by the Kepler...

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Wolf 1061c

Wolf 1061c is an exoplanet confirmed to orbit within the habitable zone of its host star (Wolf 1061) 13.8 light-years away from Earth, residing in the constellation Ophiuchus, the fifth closest potentially habitable world to Earth. Above: artist concept of a...

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Chang’e 4

China’s Chang’e 4 Spacecraft is a lunar exploration mission that became the first manmade spacecraft to successfully land on the dark side of the Moon on January 3, 2019. Wu Weiren, the Lunar exploration chief of the mission, remarked that the event is a “huge stride”...

read more

Kepler-442b

Kepler-442b (KOI-4742.01) is a confirmed exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of its star (Kepler-442). It is located 1,206 light years away from Earth, residing in the constellation Lyra. Discovered by the Kepler Spacecraft using the transit method, NASA...

read more

Double Planet All The Way

In 2015, astronomers discovered two rogue gas planets four times the size of Jupiter wandering together in Space. Exoplanets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and compositions, though most are bound orbiting a host star... but in our vast, infinite universe, there...

read more

Osiris

Osiris, also known as HD 209458b, is an extra solar planet with some intriguing characteristics. It is known for being the first exoplanet outside our solar system with oxygen and carbon detected in its atmosphere, though there’s a catch. The oxygen and...

read more

WASP-39b

On March 1, 2018, NASA announced that it had detected large amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere of WASP-39b. The exoplanet is a fascinating one. It's located in the constellation Virgo, and orbits its star (WASP-39) at an interval of once every four days. It's 20...

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Kepler-452b

Also known as Earth's older cousin, or Earth 2.0, Kepler 452b is an exoplanet orbiting Kepler 452 in the Cygnus constallation. Its mass is five times that of Earth's and the gravity is doubled, though this is only estimated. It is potentially the first rocky Super...

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Kepler-22b

Kepler-22b is an exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of Kepler 22. It is roughly twice the size of Earth and located about 600 lightyears away. Astronomers have determined that Kepler-22b does not have an earthlike composition, but rather a volatile-rich...

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Kepler-186f

Famous for being the first discovered exoplanet residing in the habitable zone with a radius similar to Earth's, Kepler 186f made headlines when it was publicly announced on the 17th of April in 2014. It was discovered by the Kepler Observatory using the transit...

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