Twelve years of discovery

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Twelve years after the first discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun, there are at least forty programmes of research world-wide, seeking exoplanets. Their harvest now numbers more than 200 planets - a sufficiently large number to enable an overview of the whole field. Armed with data about the masses, periods and orbital eccentricities of giant exoplanets, astronomers can now try to understand how they form and evolve.

The La Silla Observatory, Chile. Several telescopes participating in the search for exoplanets operate at this site —among them the 3.6-metre telescope and the Swiss 1.2-metre telescope.

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