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NASA's Prolific Planet Hunter: Kepler Telescope By-The-Numbers

NASA's Kepler space observatory has found more than 1,200 potential alien worlds since it began hunting for extrasolar planets in 2009. Full story

500th Alien Planet Discovered, With Hundreds More to Come

The 500th alien world appears to have been discovered, according to extrasolar planet trackers. Full story

500th alien planet discovered

The 500th alien world appears to have been discovered. The milestone was reached Nov. 19, according to the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia, a database compiled by astrobiologist Jean Schneider of the Paris-Meudon Observatory. Full story

Doubt cast on existence of possibly habitable alien planet

Last month, astronomers announced the discovery of the first potentially habitable extrasolar planet. But this week at an International Astronomical Union meeting, doubts were raised about the existence of this exciting new planet said to be orbiting the star Gliese 581. Full story

Alien planet's weather forecast: Hot and extra cloudy

Astronomers peering at a large alien planet have found it to be covered by an atmosphere unlike that of any extrasolar planet yet seen. Full story

Backwards alien planets challenge theories Several extrasolar planets have been discovered to be orbiting backwards — that is, they revolve in the opposite direction that their host star rotates — challenging accepted ideas of how planets form, according to the astronomers who made the discovery. Full story

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Related Photos

Extrasolar planet transit
Extrasolar planet transit

In this artist's conception, a Jupiter-scale extrasolar planet in the foreground passes in front of its sunlike parent star.


Astronomers can detect an extrasolar planet by watching for the characteristic dimming of a star as the planet's disk passes over, as shown in this graphic.