According to Fox News on Saturday, astronomers are to finding the 1,000 alien planet just two decades after discovering the first planet beyond our own solar system.
Four of the five databases that catalog the discoveries of planets outside our solar system, also known as exoplanets or extrasolar planets, now list more than 900 confirmed alien worlds, and two of them peg the tally 986 as of September 26th. The Planetary Habitability Lab keeps track of all five databases, whose different numbers highlight the uncertainties involved in exoplanet detection and confirmation.
Scientists are so close to finding the 1,000 exoplanet, in fact, that it may be announced in as little as a few days to weeks.
In 1992, scientists detected two planets orbiting a rotating neutron star, or pulsar, about 1,000 light-years away from Earth, outside the solar system where we reside. However, confirmation for this first "alien world" circling a star like our sun did not come until 1995.
Since then, the discoveries have continued to pour in as astronomers have been able to hone techniques that help them find alien planets more easily.
Many more planets are thus out there, zipping undetected around their parent stars. Indeed, a team of researchers estimated last year that every Milky Way star hosts, on average, 1.6 worlds — meaning that our galaxy perhaps harbors 160 billion planets.
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