7 Exoplanetaries

Nearby Exoplanetary Systems

n e a r b y &nbsp e x o p l a n e t a r y &nbsp s y s t e m s


Schematic view of the central stars of all known (and two suspected) planetary systems within 65 light years (20 parsecs). Alternate version (290 KB); PDF (156 KB). Last revised: March 2010. DEEP FLY 2010

For more information, see Table of Exoplanetary Systems Within 65 Light Years



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More than 400 extrasolar planets have been detected so far, in orbit around more than 300 individual stars. Most are located within 100 parsecs (326 light years) of our Sun. The present sample of exoplanetary systems is limited by observational technologies and biased in favor of gas giant planets and nearby stars.

Most of these alien systems bear little resemblance to our own. Their planets are unexpectedly massive – sometimes two, three, or four times the size of Jupiter, up to the uncertain boundary between planets and brown dwarf stars. Their orbits are unexpectedly tight, with many known exoplanets traveling in “torch” orbits within a few million miles of their host stars. For example, the nearby red dwarf star GJ 876 harbors three planets whose aggregate mass exceeds all the planets and moons of the Solar System. Yet all three planets of GJ 876 are found within a circumstellar radius that is only half the size of the orbit of Mercury, the smallest planet in our own system with the tightest orbit.

The population of reported exoplanetary systems is explored on the pages linked here, with particular emphasis on the ones located in the immediate Solar neighborhood. This small sphere, as represented above, encloses 9 of the 14 extrasolar systems known to contain 3 or more planets. It also harbors a few dozen stars with debris disks corresponding to the Asteroid and Kuiper Belts of the Solar System, along with more exotic systems containing binary stars, white dwarfs, and red giants.


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Exoplanetary Overview

Exoplanetary Systems Within 65 Light Years

Star Map of Nearby Systems (PDF)

Evolution of Planetary Systems
Basic Planetology

Multiple Planetary Systems

Planets of Red Suns

Debris Disks









All text is copyright Raymond Harris 2006-2010. Image credits appear in the accompanying caption.