by Staff Writers
Paris (UPI) Nov 18, 2011
Just two decades after the search for planets outside our solar system began, scientists have found more than 700, a French astronomer says.
Astrobiologist Jean Schneider of the Paris-Meudon Observatory, who maintains the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia database, said the tally now stands at 702, SPACE.com reported Friday.
The count has been growing quickly lately and will increase by hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of new alien planets in the near future, astronomers said.
The first alien worlds, two planets orbiting a rotating neutron star, or pulsar, about 1,000 light-years from Earth, were detected in 1992.
One instrument in particular has bagged the lion's share of known exoplanets. Since its launch in 2009, NASA's Kepler space telescope has identified 1,235 possible planets.
And astronomers say a goodly number of them appear to orbit in their stars' habitable zone, where liquid water -- and perhaps life as we know it -- could exist.
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement