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The ONLINE ASTROLAB
EXOPLANETS
As of 2007 there were at least 250 exoplanets
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THESE WONDERFUL WORLDS         
Exoplanets are planets around stars other than our own sun. It wasn't until 1995 with 51 Pegasi b, the first extrasolar, or exoplanet to be discovered around a normal star. Since that time the techniques have improved and as of 2007 there were at least 220 exoplanets confirmed. It seems, planets are a dime a dozen! So far the  worlds are very diverse. There are large, gassy giants and small and rocky worlds. Some are two-faced worlds of fire and ice, and some float disconnected through space, bound to no star.  The 21C brings us the techniques with which we may soon be able to discover Earth like worlds. All in all, very exciting times!

   
Epsilon Eridani b orbits an orange Sun-like star only 10.5 light years away from Earth. It is so close to us telescopes might soon be able to photograph it. It orbits too far away from its star to support liquid water or life as we know it, but scientists predict there are other stars in the system that might be good candidates for alien life.

Fire & Ice
Upsilon Andromeda b is tidally locked to its sun like the Moon is to Earth, so one side of the planet is always facing its star. This setup creates one of the largest temperature differences astronomers have ever seen on an exoplanet. One side of the planet is always hot as lava, while the other is chilled possibly below freezing.

There are known exoplanets that have one, two and even three suns. But one bizarre class of planet-sized objects has no suns at all, and instead floats untethered through space. Called planemos, the objects are similar to, but smaller than, brown dwarfs, failed stars too small to achieve stellar ignition.

SWEEPS-10 orbits its parent star from a distance of only 740,000 miles, so close that one year on the planet happens every 10 hours. The exoplanet belongs to a new class of zippy exoplanets called ultra-short-period planets (USPPs), which have orbits of less than a day.

 

WEB RESOURCES
 

General Sites Extrasolar Planets:

Searches for Extrasolar Planets:

Graphical Renderings of Extrasolar Planets:

Theory and Life: