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June 20, 2012

#1071: Exoplanets


[[An enormous diagram of dots, mostly of varying shades of brown and greenish yellow, with a number of smaller blue dots and larger red dots.]]

All 786 known planets (as of June 2012) to scale. (Some planet sizes estimated based on mass)

This [[indicating a small section of 8 planets out of the several hundreds]] is our solar system.

The rest of these orbit other stars and were only discovered recently.

Most of them are huge because those are the kind we learned to detect first, but now we’re finding that small ones are actually more common.

We know nothing about what’s on any of them. With better telescopes, that could change.

This is an exciting time.