DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alien planet. Computer artwork of the view across an earth-like moon to its gas giant planet. Many exoplanets (or extrasolar planets) have now been detected, usually by the faint dimming of the star as the planet passes in front of it as seen from Earth. As of late 2011, nearly 700 alien planets have been detected, in over 500 planetary systems, with many hundreds more not yet confirmed. Around 50 may be capable of supporting life.
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