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Earths Beyond Earth The Search for Other Worlds In early 1990 the first extrasolar planet was detected surprising everyone by its strangeness More planets have now been discovered outside our solar system than in it These planets present many great mysteries to the astronomical world Extrasolar planets are planets that exist outside our solar system they are orbiting a star other than our Sun So far eighteen have been found all of them defying well-established theories about planets and how they operate Winters 46 As Stephen Maran said The new discoveries remind us that ignorance is not just bliss it is also a lack of imagination The newfound planets show us not only that a solar system is not a rare commodity but that ours may be plain vanilla 73 Finding extrasolar planets is both difficult and complicated The average star for instance is one hundred million times brighter than any planet orbiting it De Grasse Tyson 87 Picking out a planet against the glare of a star is like trying to spot a 100-watt light bulb next to a 100-billion-watt searchlight says Michael Lemonick 54 Also earth-size planets are too small to have any significant effect on their star so they are almost impossible to detect De Grasse Tyson 88 There is however a way to find extrasolar planets without using direct sight the Doppler Effect When a star has a planet in its gravitational field it makes the star appear as if it is wobbling by stretching the light waves and slightly changing the stars color Maran 75 A second method of finding a planet is to search through a disk of debris surrounding a star such as Vega Chances are that a planet will exist there De Grasse Tyson 87 Out of the detected planets only a few have actually been seen being found by accident by either the Hubble Space Telescope or the Infrared Space Observatory Lemonick 53 In
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