The term extrasolar planet or exoplanet can apply to any world revolving round another star. 

However, until quite recently – 1995 – none had actually been detected. The first was 51 Pegasi b, and more followed quite rapidly. Most were discovered using Doppler spectroscopy: shifts toward blue or red in the light of the star. The first claims of direct observation came in 2004. Hardy was one of the first artists chosen to depict how these may look.

Text & images copyright © 2015 AstroArt by David A. Hardy. All Rights Reserved.

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RS Ophiuchi

February 12th 2006, the recurrent nova RS Ophiuchi erupted for the first time since 1985. It erupted in 1898, 1933, 1958, 1967, 1985, and 2006 and reached about magnitude 5 on average. The recurrent nova is produced by a red giant and white dwarf star closely orbiting each other, as in the 'Nova' image. (Digital, for PPARC. It was an APOD on 26 July 2006.)