How Quickly Do Planets Form? Is Our Solar System Unique or Normal?

Eric Jensen discusses what we have learned so far from our study of extrasolar planets, and the prospects for detecting Earth-like planets in the near future.

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by Associate Professor of Astronomy Eric Jensen

"Twelve years after the first discovery of planets outside our own solar system, we now know of more than 200 extrasolar planets," Jensen says. "This is enough to allow us to start to see emerging patterns that may yield clues to how Jupiter-like planets form, though current techniques are not yet able to detect Earth-like planets. I discuss what we have learned so far from our study of extrasolar planets, and the prospects for detecting Earth-like planets in the near future."