ESO/M. Kornmesser

Space & Innovation

The Most Incredible Alien Planet Discoveries of 2016

The tally of exoplanet finds now numbers in the thousands, each world unique and very alien — but some stand out from the crowd and this year has been an extraordinary year for extrasolar planet hunters.

Published On 12/28/2016
7:00 AM EST
Artist's impression of the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 and its three planets, which are similar in size and temperature to Venus and Earth. | Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
Artist's impression of the bizarre ring system of J1407b. | Credit: Ron Miller
Artist's impression of three planets orbiting two close binary stars. | Credit: Carnegie Institution for Science
Artist's impression of a planet in the HD 131399 system, orbiting three stars. | Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser
Artist's impression of the Kepler space telescope on its K2 mission. | Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Artist's impression of some of the Kepler's many planetary discoveries. | Credit: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel
Artist's impression of a young planet orbiting the star K2-33. | Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Artist's impression of the disk surrounding the red dwarf star AWI0005x3s. | Credit: NASA
Artist's impression of the theoretical Planet Nine, with the sun in the background. | Credit: Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)