• Question: How many planets have we discovered?

    Asked by DJSTobyM to Hannah, Lucy, Phil, Rochelle, Stephen on 13 Mar 2017.
    • Photo: Phil Sutton

      Phil Sutton answered on 13 Mar 2017:

      We have found about 3500 planets around other stars so far. We are finding them at a very fast rate at the moment thanks to lots of search going on. About 1/4 of these are in multiple planet systems and some have even been found with rings around them (J1407b), around binary stars (Kepler-16b) and triple stars (HD 131399Ab). Sorry for the boring names, us scientists aren’t always the most imaginative. These stars are real life sci-fi worlds and I can’t wait to find out more about them.

    • Photo: Lucy Kissick

      Lucy Kissick answered on 14 Mar 2017:

      Incredibly, as of March 1st there have been 3,586 exoplanets discovered! An exoplanet is any planet orbiting a star besides our own and some of them are fantastically exciting. There is one so big, for example, that it is very nearly a star, and another that is so close to its sun it’s completely molten on one side and frozen on the other.

    • Photo: Hannah Sargeant

      Hannah Sargeant answered on 15 Mar 2017:

      Astronomers have found evidence for a planet 10 times more massive than Earth in the far outer solar system, orbiting about 20 times farther from the sun than distant Neptune does.
      The problem with finding planets really far away from their star is that they are really dark and hard to see. It would be very exciting to be able to add another planet to our own solar system though!