RICHARD BIZLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD BIZLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Extrasolar planets, artwork. Some of the planets are transiting their parent star. If the Earth and the planets and its star are aligned correctly, this is one method that is used to detect such planets, which range in size from Earth-like to large gas giants. NASA's Kepler Observatory, launched in 2009, has detected hundreds of such candidate planets. Several planetary system with multiple planets, as shown here, have been discovered.
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