Published on: Monday, November 11, 2019
Since 1995, when Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the Observatoire de Geneve, discovered the first planet orbiting another star like the Sun, over two hundred more extrasolar planets have been found in more than 170 solar systems outside our own.
Detected by watching the star wobble, the original discovery by Mayor and Queloz of Geneva Observatory, Switzerland, stunned the world because the planet was initially considered the wrong type for the orbit in which it was found.
Since then, the number of planets detected by this method has grown rapidly. Other methods like detecting planets transiting in front of their star and occulting a small part of the light, or using gravitational lensing (where a star with a planet passes directly in front of a background star and magnifies the light from the latter in a way that reveals the presence of the planet), have become important.
As an example, in October 2006, scientists reported the detection of thermal emission (with NASA’s SPITZER Infrared Space observatory) from ups And b (the first planet discovered around the star Upsilon Andromedae). Together with this detection, the astrometric confirmation of the planet around the star epsilon Eridani, and two new transiting planets WASP-1b and WASP-2b were reported.