During the past two decades more than 400 exoplanets have been discovered using a variety of increasing powerful and prolific techniques. Even more versatile and sensitive instruments are entering into use or well on the way, promising a rapid acceleration in the discovery of these new worlds surrounding distant stars.
There is growing observational evidence that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, with its 100 billion stars, may very well host more than 100 million solar systems – perhaps many times more. Before our very eyes a “new frontier for humankind” appears.
The Institute of Physics has now released an excellent, well-illustrated and highly readable report of just eight pages on Exoplanets: The Search for Planets Beyond Our Solar System.