The number of exoplanets found exceeded 4000! This is the result of the work of ground-based telescopes and spacecraft. But this is not the limit and in the near future tens of thousands of new discoveries are expected.
The exoplanet rotating around the pulsar PSR 1257 + 12, through the eyes of the artist
Exoplanets are any worlds that rotate outside the solar system. They can perform rotation, as around other stars, and be rogue planets. The first discoveries began to be announced only in the 1980s, as these are dull and small objects that are difficult to find.
For the first time astronomer William Jacob announced the existence of worlds near alien stars in 1855. But the first real find was the planet near the star Gamma Cephei A, which in 1988 was noted by a Canadian group of scientists. However, its true nature was confirmed only in 2002, therefore, the primacy in the discovery of the extrasolar world belongs to the Polish astronomer Alexander Wolschan. In 1991, he found an exoplanet near the neutron star PSR 1257 + 12.
Among the ground-based instruments operating in the transit method, used the SuperWASP telescope (more than 70 worlds), the HATNet telescope network (more than 30 exoplanets). The radial velocity method was used in the HARPS spectrograph and the Keck Observatory.
Most of the worlds could still be found when launching spacecraft. The most successful projects were:
- Kepler (original mission and extended).
- Gaia - creates a stellar census in the Milky Way, simultaneously hunting exoplanets.
- TESS is a recently launched telescope tuned to a transit search method.
Number of worlds found
Artistic interpretation of GIiese 686 b
Statistical analysis shows that more than 100 billion exoplanets can be found only on the territory of the Milky Way galaxy, where up to 20 billion objects belong to the Earth type. The numbers are shocking, but modern technology was enough to find 4011 extrasolar planets (as of March 10, 2019).
But this number has increased by another planet on March 21. The discovery was the super-earth GI 686 b, located near the red dwarf. Recall that about 4,700 objects are in the category of reliable contenders for the title of planets. Repeated observations must be made to confirm their nature.
4000 exoplanets - a reason to celebrate, because somewhere in cosmic darkness life may be hiding. But more shocking. Each release of the Gaia Observatory data provides a wealth of valuable information. Scientists believe that in the near future only with the help of this mission will find about 10,000 new worlds outside the solar system.