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George Cole reviews the properties and significance of the planetary systems discovered around stars other than our Sun.

There has been speculation for centuries that planets might exist around stars other than our Sun. Might they form planetary systems like our solar system? Will life be found elsewhere one day? Planets were, in fact, discovered orbiting a pulsar in 1991 but, more interestingly, companions were found to stars like our Sun four years later. More stars with companions are continually being discovered and some 50 systems are known at the present time. Can some of these orbiting bodies be planets and what might they be made of? Is there a pattern in the systems being found? How do they compare with the solar system? Can they sustain living material? This article attempts to throw light on these questions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-02-01

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