The Number Of Confirmed Exoplanets Has Touched 5,300

The Number Of Confirmed Exoplanets Has Touched 5,300

by Karan Kamble - Mar 12, 2023 10:05 PM +05:30 IST
The Number Of Confirmed Exoplanets Has Touched 5,300This artist’s cartoon view gives an impression of how common planets are around the stars in the Milky Way. (Photo: ESO/M. Kornmesser)
  • In the little over three months this year, 65 exoplanets have been confirmed, to take the total to 5,300.

The number of planets confirmed beyond our solar system now stands at 5,300.

“One of the newly-discovered worlds is more than 1,000 light-years from Earth,” the Exoplanet Exploration Program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) tweeted on 10 March along with the exoplanet tally update.

NASA Exoplanets was referring to the recent discovery of a Neptune-like planet titled TOI-2525b in its tweet. The planet was detected using the transit method.

Most exoplanets are discovered with the transit method, which uses the periodic dimming of the light of a star by the planet(s) orbiting it, to make a determination. The other three planet-hunting methods are gravitational microlensing, direct imaging, and astrometry.

Most of the confirmed exoplanets are Neptune-like, followed by the gas giant and super Earth kinds.

An exoplanet, or extrasolar planet, is any planet outside our solar system. The five exoplanet types are Neptune-like, gas giant, super Earth, terrestrial, and unknown.

From 4,904 at the end of 2021, the confirmed exoplanet tally at the end of 2022 stood at an impressive figure of 5,235. It was an increase of 331 confirmed exoplanets last year alone.

Along the way, a landmark of 5,000 confirmed exoplanets was crossed on 21 March 2022.

In the little over three months this year, a further 65 exoplanets have been confirmed.

There are 9,245 exoplanets awaiting confirmation still.

NASA's Exoplanet Archive gets updated when a discovery comes from peer-reviewed scientific papers and after having been confirmed using multiple detection methods or by analytical techniques.

Exoplanet discoveries began in 1992. Three planets going around a type of neutron star called a “pulsar” were the first-ever planets to be discovered outside our solar system.

The first planet detected around a Sun-like star came three years later, in 1995.

The Milky Way galaxy, where the Earth resides, is said to likely hold hundreds of billions of exoplanets. The Milky Way is only one of about 200 billion galaxies estimated to be in the observable universe.

The James Webb Space Telescope, which was a particular scientific highlight of 2022, holds great promise for exoplanet discovery.

Thanks to Webb, there was, for the first time ever, clear evidence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of an exoplanet last year. It also marked Webb's first official scientific observation of an exoplanet.

Karan Kamble writes on science and technology. He occasionally wears the hat of a video anchor for Swarajya's online video programmes.

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