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The following is a list of major space and ground missions that have found, are searching for, or can characterize exoplanets.


Kepler shot for Media Page

Launched: March 7, 2009
Location: Space
Operated by: NASA

Launched in 2009, the Kepler mission searches for exoplanets using the transit method. Is is currently monitoring some 100,000 stars near the constellation Cygnus for signs of exoplanets. 

Kepler's goal is the creation of a statistical survey that predicts how many Earth-like planets likely exist in our galaxy. Notable discoveries include the first multi-planet transiting solar system and some of the smallest exoplanets ever observed.

+ Visit Kepler website

+ Printable Kepler 3D model (beta)

Spitzer Space Telescope

Spitzer shot for Missions Page

Launched: August 25, 2003
Location: Space
Operated by: NASA

Designed to observe objects in the infrared spectrum, Spitzer has proven to be a revolutionary tool in the characterization of exoplanets. The mission is the first instrument to directly detect light from an exoplanet, and its data has revealed the composition, temperature, and even likely wind patterns on faraway exoplanets.

+ Visit Spitzer website

Hubble Space Telescope

hubble pic for media page

Launched: April 24, 1990
Location: Space
Operated by: NASA

Hubble's high-powered optics have produced some of the most breathtaking images ever taken of the cosmos - and have also managed to snap pictures of exoplanets.

One of the first directly-imaged exoplanets, Fomalhaut b, was discovered in images taken by Hubble. Astronomers continue to study images Hubble has taken over the years for exoplanet cameos that were previously undetected.

+ Visit Hubble website


corot pic for media page

Launched: December 27, 2006
Location: Space
Operated by: CNES/ESA

The first space mission designed to search for transiting exoplanets, CoRoT has produced dozens of new exoplanet discoveries, including the first temperate gas giant exoplanet to be observed.

CoRoT's strong emphasis on exoplanetary characterization has produced some of the most detailed exoplanet studies yet published.

+ Visit CoRoT website

Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI)

lbti pic for missions page

First light: December 7, 2010
Location: Mt. Graham, Arizona (see map)
Operated by: University of Arizona

An add-on to the Large Binocular Telescope (the largest single-mount telescope in the world), LBTI is a cutting-edge interferometer that will be able to observe planetary dust disks that are the birthplace of stars, as well as Jupiter-size exoplanets orbiting at distances from their stars similar to Earth's. 

+ Visit LBTI website