It was not too long ago that astronomers discovered the first planet orbiting a star other than our own star, the Sun. Wow, the whole world was excited to hear the news and wondered what the planet was like and if it had life. Hate to tell you but those people should have known that the first planet to be discovered would have to a huge one and not capable of life as we know it. The first planets discovered were all very, very huge with close, fast orbits around their star. They were nick-named fast Jupiters. It wasn’t until a few years later that planets were discovered orbiting in their stars “habitable zone”; that is the area where liquid water can exist on a planet.
Just lately it was announced that astronomers have just discovered 50 new planets around stars and that 16 of these are super-Earths (planets like ours only larger) and that one is in its star’s habitable zone. We have come a long way in our ability to find smaller and smaller planets way out there. From that humble start back a few years ago with the discovery of the first exoplanet (one from a solar system other than ours) up until now a lot of planets have been found. In fact, astronomers now know of 700 such exoplanets.
You all have a great day orbiting around our own star, you hear?