Count of discovered exoplanets passes the 1,000 mark

Oct. 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM
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BRUSSELS, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The count of exoplanets circling distant stars has passed a benchmark figure, astronomers said, as the 1,000th was added to a European database Tuesday.

For the last few weeks, astronomers have been waiting as the confirmed exoplanet count -- recorded by the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia website -- approached the 1,000 mark.

With the help of the Super Wide Angle Search for Planets (SuperWASP) collaboration, the number jumped from 999 to 1,010 overnight, reported.

All 11 of the newly confirmed exoplanets orbit stars with periods of between 8 days to less than 2 days, making them all "hot-Jupiters" and not remotely inhabitable, astronomers said.

Counting exoplanets isn't an exact process, they said, and the numbers can change with further research.

For example, some of the 1,000 exoplanets on the list -- particularly very massive ones -- are being looked at closely as they seem to exhibit stellar rather than planetary characteristics.

After further study, the astronomers said, some may be reclassified as brown dwarfs, or "failed stars," which would take them off the exoplanet count list.

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