This exoplanet is inflated like a balloon

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This is an artist’s impression of the exoplanet HAT-P-11b. The planet has an extended helium atmosphere that’s being blown away by the star, an orange dwarf star smaller but more active than our sun.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This image shows an artist’s impression of the surface of Barnard’s star b, a cold Super-Earth discovered orbiting Barnard’s star 6 light-years away.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

An artist’s illustration of what the super-Earth found around the orange-hued star HD 26965 (also known as 40 Eridani A) might look like. The recently discovered exoplanet is being compared to the fictional planet of Vulcan because Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry said the star was the ideal candidate to host Vulcan, Mr. Spock’s home world.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

For the first time, eight planets have been found orbiting another star, tying with our solar system for the most known planets around a single star. The Kepler-90 system is in the constellation Draco, more than 2,500 light-years from Earth.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This artist’s illustration shows exoplanet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf host star in the background. The planet is only 11 light-years from our solar system. It is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected, after Proxima b.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

WASP-121b, 880 light-years away, is considered a hot Jupiter-like planet. It has a greater mass and radius than Jupiter, making it “puffier.” If WASP-121b were any closer to its host star, it would be ripped apart by the star’s gravity.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

NASA’s Kepler space telescope team has identified 219 more planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and in the habitable zone of their stars.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Welcome to the KELT-9 system. The host star is a hot, rapidly rotating A-type star that is about 2.5 times more massive and almost twice as hot as our sun. The hot star blasts its nearby planet KELT-9b with massive amounts of radiation, leading to a daylight temperature of 7800 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter that most stars and only 2000 degrees cooler than the sun.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This artist’s concept shows OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb, a planet orbiting an incredibly faint star 13,000 light-years away from us. It is an “iceball” planet with temperatures reaching minus-400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

LHS 1140b is located in the liquid water habitable zone surrounding its host star, a small, faint red star named LHS 1140. The planet weighs about 6.6 times the mass of Earth and is shown passing in front of LHS 1140. Depicted in blue is the atmosphere the planet may have retained.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

An artist’s concept image of the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f. Of the seven exoplanets discovered orbiting the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, this one may be the most suitable for life. It is similar in size to Earth, is a little cooler than Earth’s temperature and is in the habitable zone of the star, meaning liquid water (and even oceans) could be on the surface. The proximity of the star gives the sky a salmon hue, and the other planets are so close that they appear in the sky, much like our own moon.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Artist’s conception of the binary system with three giant planets discovered, where one star hosts two planets and the other hosts the third. The system represents the smallest-separation binary in which both stars host planets that has ever been observed.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This artist’s impression shows the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our solar system.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

An artist’s rendering shows Earth-sized exoplanets TRAPPIST-1b and 1c in a rare double transit event as they pass in front of their ultracool red dwarf star, which allowed Hubble to take a peek at at their atmospheres.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Out of a new discovery of 104 exoplanets, astronomers found four similar in size to Earth that are orbiting a dwarf star. Two of them have the potential to support life. The craft depicted in this illustration is the NASA Kepler Space Telescope, which has helped confirm the existence of thousands of exoplanets.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This artist’s impression shows a view of the triple-star system HD 131399 from close to the giant planet orbiting in the system. Located about 320 light-years from Earth, the planet is about 16 million years old, making it also one of the youngest exoplanets discovered to date.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

An artistic impression of the planet Kepler-1647b, which is nearly identical to Jupiter in both size and mass. The planet is expected to be roughly similar in appearance. But it is much warmer: Kepler-1647b is in the habitable zone.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

HD-106906b is a gaseous planet 11 times more massive than Jupiter. The planet is believed to have formed in the center of its solar system, before being sent flying out to the edges of the region by a violent gravitational event.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Kepler-10b orbits at a distance more than 20 times closer to its star than Mercury is to our own sun. Daytime temperatures exceed 1,300 degrees Celsius (2,500 degrees Fahrenheit), which is hotter than lava flows on Earth.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This Jupiter-like planet in the HD-188753 system, 149 light-years from Earth, has three suns. The main star is similar in mass to our own Sun. The system has been compared to Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine in “Star Wars.”

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Kepler-421b is a Uranus-sized transiting exoplanet with the longest known year, as it circles its star once every 704 days. The planet orbits an orange, K-type star that is cooler and dimmer than our Sun and is located about 1,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Astronomers discovered two planets less than three times the size of Earth orbiting sun-like stars in a crowded stellar cluster approximately 3,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This artist’s conception shows a hypothetical planet with two moons orbiting in the habitable zone of a red dwarf star. The majority of the sun’s closest stellar neighbors are red dwarfs.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Kepler-186f was the first validated Earth-sized planet to be found orbiting a distant star in the habitable zone. This zone a range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the planet’s surface.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

Kepler-69c is a super-Earth-size planet similar to Venus. The planet is found in the habitable zone of a star like our sun, approximately 2,700 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

The Kepler-444 system formed when the Milky Way was just 2 billion years old. The tightly packed system is home to five planets that range in size, the smallest is comparable to the size of Mercury and the largest to Venus, orbiting their sun in less than 10 days.

Weird and wonderful planets beyond our solar system

This artistic concept image compares Earth, left, with Kepler-452b, which is about 60% larger. Both planets orbit a G2-type star of about the same temperature; however, the star hosting Kepler-452b is 6 billion years old — 1.5 billion years older than our sun.



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