An exoplanet, also known as an extrasolar planet, is a planet external to our solar system. It orbits another star in our galaxy rather than the Sun. Set on a mission to know the unknown, find out, “What is the closest exoplanet to Earth?” NASA scientists have devised creative ways to detect these seemingly tiny planets.
With over 5,000 verified exoplanets, scientists did find Proxima Centauri b, the closest known exoplanet to Earth, still about 4 light-years away. Van Maanen identified the first exoplanet in 1917. However, it was not until the 1990s that the detection was confirmed.
Exploring Worlds Outside Our Solar System
Exoplanets, or celestial bodies outside of our solar system, invite scientists and pique the interest of astronomers in the vastness of the universe. These far-off planets, of which more than 5,000 are confirmed, provide an exciting insight into the rich diversity of planetary systems other than ours. Allow us to take you on a journey to explore the cosmos, reading through 10 amazing exoplanets pushing the boundaries of what we know about the universe.
NASA’s Kepler mission found Kepler-22b, a massive gas giant circling its star in a habitable zone with elegance. Scientists are intrigued by this far-off planet because its orbit has liquid water, which is essential to life that may exist there.
Proxima Centauri b
Proxima Centauri b takes center stage as the nearest known exoplanet to the Sun, right in our cosmic backyard. This rocky wonder raises concerns about its possible habitability as it orbits Proxima Centauri, the star in the Alpha Centauri system.
Seven Earth-sized exoplanets, each capable of supporting life, are housed in a celestial orchestra on Trappist-1. This fascinating system, located 40 light-years away, pushes the boundaries of what we think is a habitable planet and intensifies the search for extraterrestrial life.
Kepler’s eyes revealed K218b, a rocky super-Earth with a hazy atmosphere. This exoplanet, at the edge of habitability, makes us wonder if there could be life in the cosmos. This is one of the exoplanets that resembles Earth-like characteristics in terms of its atmosphere.
HD 20700 is the main character in the cosmic ballet; a hot Jupiter, the planet completes its orbit in 1.9 days with grace. The exoplanet is exposed to extremely high temperatures during its near contact with its star. Thus providing insights into the difficulties associated with proximity in planetary dynamics.
Admire OGLE-111, a massive exoplanet that is sixteen times bigger than Jupiter. Its quick 45-day orbit around WASP-11 demonstrates the variety of planetary sizes and orbital dynamics found outside of our own solar system.
WASP-47b is the first exoplanet in the Wide-Angle Search for Planets (WASP) project. It took about 12 hours for it to complete its circle. This fast flight provides an insight into the dynamic and diverse character of planets outside our solar system.
KIC 8462 stands out in the cosmic tapestry as a star that may host several exoplanets. This astronomical riddle challenges our knowledge of star systems and planetary dynamics, with estimations pointing to as many as 10 planets.
Barnard’s Star b
Barnard’s Star B is a lone gas giant orbiting within the habitable zone of Barnard’s Star. This placement prompts reflection on the possibility of life existing in the cosmic shadows of red dwarfs.
The red dwarf star Gliese 581 is home to Gliese 581 b and c, at least two exoplanets. These exoplanets are intriguing prospects for the possible finding of life. They are Earth-sized and orbit star within their habitable zone.
Exoplanet research modifies our understanding of the universe. Besides, it also piques our curiosity and inspires science fiction stories about space travel. The cosmic adventure continues as technology develops, offering additional discoveries that could expand our understanding of the beginnings of life. And the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. The issue remains: What is the closest exoplanet to Earth in the ever-expanding universe? Possibly, the answer will be made available by the future studies on universe, where every new finding adds a chapter to the cosmic story.