Insight Into: Exoplanets

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From the supernova seen in 1054 to its nebular remains almost a thousand years later, it's slowly going to fade away.

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Sonoma State University

All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA, ESA, and STScI except:
  • Night sky imagery created with Stellarium
  • Images of supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy (SN 2011fe) courtesy of Peter Nugent and the Palomar Transient Factory, Thunderf00t (Wikipedia), and BJ Fulton/LCOGT
  • Type Ia supernova animation courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser
  • Taurus constellation drawing from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory
  • Black-and-white Crab Nebula image: Bill Schoening/NOAO/AURA/NSF
  • Drawing of the Crab Nebula by William Parsons, the Third Earl of Rosse
  • Written by Vanessa Thomas
  • Designed by John Godfrey

The Hubble Space Telescope floats in space.
Text, When the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, the only planets we knew of were the ones in our own solar system.
Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury in a row.
Text, Only a few years later, astronomers announced their discovery of the first planets outside our solar system.
Dark planets hang in space among blue gas streams.
Today, several thousand exoplanets have been identified.
Three planets orbit a red giant star.
Astronomers continue to uncover exoplanets just about every place they search, even where they didn't expect to find planets.
A red gas giant orbits a yellow star.
Ranging from giant, gaseous planets more massive than Jupiter to smaller rocky planets the size of our own Earth, these alien worlds seem to be plentiful.
A row of planets. Large colorful gas giants give way to watery planets and then rocky planets.