Home → FAQ → How many alien solar systems have been found so far?
Strictly speaking, “solar” is a term associated with our Sun, whereas “stellar” is a term associated with any star in general. However, the term “solar system” is in use in the popular and specialist literature as a label that is not exclusive to our Sun and is also used for systems associated with other stars. Therefore, I will also use the term “solar system” to refer to a system of planets around a star other than the Sun, although it is not, strictly speaking, correct to do so.
The field of exoplanet research is advancing so rapidly of course, that the number of alien solar systems found changes by the week, almost daily. So I here I will show you the most reliable way to find the latest number of planetary systems outside our own solar system. Go to the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia catalog page and near the top of the page you will see, right above the table, three numbers. The first number, just before the words “planetary systems,” is the latest number of alien solar systems found. For example, on a particular day in October 2012 I saw the following:
Showing 665 planetary systems / 843 planets / 126 multiple planet systems
(italics added by me). The key number here is therefore 665. This is already quite staggering, considering we have only just touched the surface in this exciting endeavour.
Learn more about exoplanets with Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems.
File under: Number of alien solar systems found; number planetary systems outside our solar system; exoplanet observations.
© Tahir Yaqoob 2011-2012.