JAN 07, 2020 3:16 PM PST

Everything You Need to Know About Exoplanets

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

While most people are familiar with the planets residing in our solar system from lessons taught back in grade school, it’s important to remember that our solar system is just a tiny blip in this ever-expanding universe. There are literally countless worlds existing in stellar systems besides our own known as exoplanets, and the number of known exoplanets is growing with each passing day thanks to space telescope observations.

For the most part, exoplanets are comprised of the very same elements that make up the planets in our solar system, albeit with different composition balances that give each exoplanet its own distinctive qualities. There are four primary exoplanet classifications, including Neptune-like worlds, Hot Jupiter-like words, Super Earth-like worlds, and Earth Analog-like worlds.

Neptune-like exoplanets are large and gaseous much like Neptune, and while they may not be the same color or size, they generally lack any terrestrial qualities. Hot Jupiter-like exoplanets are star-hugging gaseous exoplanets with extreme temperatures that occur due to their distance from their host star. Super Earth-like exoplanets are terrestrial worlds that make the Earth look small in comparison. And lastly, Earth Analog-like worlds are terrestrial planets that compare in size and composition to Earth.

When it comes to finding exoplanets, astronomers don’t generally get to observe them directly. Most of the time, they utilize transit events to detect their existence around other stars and measure the amount of blocked sunlight and frequency of blockages to discern how large those worlds are and how close they orbit their host star. In some cases, astronomers can even determine a world’s composition.

While thousands of exoplanets have been confirmed to exist thus far, most of those have been found right here in our own Milky Way galaxy and there’s no telling how many might be residing in the depths of the universe. With all the stars we can see in the night sky, one can only imagine just how many undiscovered exoplanets might be out there, and whether any might harbor intelligent life as the Earth does.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
FEB 11, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 11, 2020
Why China Was Banned from the International Space Station
The International Space Station is just that – a place where international space agencies can work together in an ...
MAR 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 01, 2020
Astronomers Say it Was the Biggest Explosion Detected Since the Big Bang
When you’re an astronomer, you come to grips with the fact that the job involves a lot of waiting and watching as ...
MAR 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 06, 2020
Father of the Dyson Sphere Passed Away
Last Friday, February 28, 2020, the world said goodbye to Freeman Dyson, was a British American physicist and mathematic ...
APR 05, 2020
Microbiology
APR 05, 2020
How Life Beneath the Sea Informs the Search for Life on Mars
Single-celled microbes that live beneath the floor of the ocean have provided insight into how scientists might be able ...
APR 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 12, 2020
Three New Crew Members Arrive at the International Space Station
The International Space Station received three new crew members this past week following extensive pre-quarantine measur ...
APR 17, 2020
Cancer
APR 17, 2020
Can astronauts withstand radiation on a mission to Mars?
New research published in the journal Science Advances attempts to model the risk of cancer that astronauts will incur f ...
Loading Comments...