As I continue to ponder the mind boggling character of quantum physics (the 10^-n reality), this National Geographic article provides a new perspective on exploration at the other end of the cosmic scale (the 10^n reality): New Planet Discoveries Signal a Shift in the Hunt for Alien Life (by Nadia Drake on April 27, 2017).
With ever more intriguing worlds found in the sun’s neighborhood, the search for extraterrestrials is set to take some bold new steps.
“We’re no longer wondering if rocky planets are in the habitable zones of stars,” the University of Arizona’s Olivier Guyon said during last week’s Breakthrough Discuss conference, hosted by the Breakthrough Initiatives. “As far as we can tell, they’re everywhere. We’re transitioning into life-finding. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet that orbits a star other than the Sun. The first scientific detection of an exoplanet was in 1988. However, the first confirmed detection came in 1992; since then, and as of 1 April 2017, there have been 3,607 exoplanets discovered in 2,701 planetary systems and 610 multiple planetary systems confirmed.
Just how are distant exoplanets detected?
… astronomers have generally had to resort to indirect methods to detect extrasolar planets. As of 2016, several different indirect methods have yielded success.