Did You Know – Exoplanets

THE FIRST PLANETS – The first exoplanets were discovered in 1992 using a method called pulsar timing. This tracks the rapid rotation of a pulsar (a small neutron star) and observes perturbations in its regular spin due to the presence of a planet. However, as pulsars are rare, it is difficult to find many planets with this method. Indeed, habitable planets would likely not be found orbiting a pulsar, as the high levels of radiation emitted would prevent any life (at least as we know it) surviving on such a world.