• Question: What are the new planets

    Asked by 834sptm26 to Ollie, Guy on 16 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Guy Rixon

      Guy Rixon answered on 16 Mar 2018:

      We see a wide range of planets. One of the big surprises recently is the variety of planets out there, around other stars. They’re not all like the planets in our system.
      Seeing planets is really hard with current telescopes as they are much fainter than the stars they orbit and get lost in the light of those stars. Imagine trying to see a candle next to a distant streetlight and you get the idea.
      Therefore, most of the exoplanets (exoplanet = planet of a star that is not our sun) so far are giant planets, as big as Jupiter or even bigger. That doesn’t mean that most exoplanets are giants, just that the big ones are easier to see.
      A lot of exoplanets are much closer to their stars than Earth is to the Sun. Some of them are so close that they are melting!
      Here’s a list of all the known exoplanets: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_exoplanets New ones are found often, so there will be a few ones not yet on that list.