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6 October 1995 - Discovery of The First Exoplanet Around a Sunlike Star

51 pegasi b artist impression

Artist impression of 51 Pegasi b. Image credit:ESO/M. Kornmesser/Nick Risinger

51 Pegasi b was discovered by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva.

The first discovered exoplanet around a sunlike star (51 Pegasi) is located 50 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus. 

On 6 October 1995 their findings were announced in Nature.

The exasolar planet was called 51 Pegasi b but unofficially it also goes by the names of Bellerophon or Dimidium.

The planet orbits its star in about 4 days. Which is much fast than Mercury around our own star, which takes about 88 days.

Location of 51 Pegasi in the Pegasus constellation:

Image credit: © 2003 Torsten Bronger

In February 2017, water was discovered on the planet's surface.

After that initial discovery, the number of exoplanets has grown exponentially. As of 1 October 2017, we're at 3,671 exoplanets.

The closest exoplanet we've discovered so far is Proxima Centauri b. It's located 4.2 light-years from Earth. It orbits the closest star to our solar system, Proxima Centauri.


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