Ever year, planet hunters and astronomers find ever more and more exoplanets. The amount of worlds circling other stars has almost doubled this year, reaching to nearly 1800 and many were exciting and groundbreaking finds.
//READ MORE/ Exoplanet next door looks a lot like Earth
What we thought could be a planet has changed.
Our limited view on what is a world has been shattered by strange alien exoplanets changing our understand of the universe.
These are the 8 standout groundbreaking exoplanet from this year:
Hopes for finding life and another Earth got a huge boost in 2014. Keplar-186f is the first known planet to inhabit its star’s so called Goldilocks zone; the not too hot/close and still not to far/cold spot when liquid water can exist on the surface. The friendliest planet for life found so far, Keplar-186f continues being the topic of debate and study.
This planet took the term ‘Mega Earth’ and ran with it. Initially discovered in 2011, Astronomers had a good idea it was a large planet. New measurements in 2014 confirmed that the planet was rocky and Earth like with a solid mass 17 times that of our home. It has since earned the nicknamed ‘Godzilla Earth’ by many researchers.
Before this hard-to-say planet was found, it was believe that planets could not form in binary star systems. Nearly half of all known stars are, in fact, paired with a twin, shrinking our hope for Earth-like rocks. Not only did this little guy change that idea, but it also happens to be very Earth like. With an orbit much like our own and a size similar to Earth’s, the odds of finding life have just increased in the wider Universe thanks to this find.
This planet changed many minds this year when it was discovered hanging out almost 200 billion miles away from its sun – 2000 times farther than most Earth-like planets. Almost 10 times the size of Jupiter, Gu Psc b turned most leading theories about planetary formation on their ears.
This exoplanet may be newly found, but it is surprisingly old. Nearly twice as old as Earth, Kapteyn b is 11.5 billion years old. It may also be habitable, as its orbit would be suitable for liquid water. If life is possible here, it may have had extra billions of years to evolve and grow.
Kepler-413b’s orbit has been shown to be a bit wobbly. It orbits a pair of stars and dips above and below the plane in a quick 11 year cycle. By comparison, Earth takes 112,000 years to complete a similar loop. while most planets cross the face of their sun regularly, Keplar-413b goes years without a transit because of its wild orbit dips. What a ride
In 2010, Gilese 581d and 581g were highly touted as some of the first habitable exoplanet. Unfortunately , new research this year showed that both planets likely didn’t exist, and the dips in sunlight we thought were planets, were likely just sunspots