University of Michigan - Department of Astronomy




Version: Worksheet

Extrasolar Planets - worksheets


Table 1 - Extrasolar Planetary Data


51 Pegasi

47 Ursa Major

70 Virginis

Spectral Type of star




Luminosity (Lo)




Mass of star (Mo)




Period of planet (yr)




distance (AU)




T of planet




Liquid Water?




Mass of planet





  1. Is the typical mass of these extrasolar planets greater than the mass of the Earth, or less?

  2. Judging from their mass, what kind of planet are these extrasolar planets likely to be (terrestrial/rocky or jovian/gas giant)?

  3. Are they likely to have a large atmosphere? Explain.

  4. When you consider the mass of the planets and the distance they are orbiting their stars, how are these other solar systems different from our own?

  5. While some of the extrasolar planets discovered so far are in the right place in their solar system to have liquid water, they are all gas giants. Do you think it would be possible for life to develop on a gas giant? Why/why not?

  6. Could life exist in other solar systems if the planets were terrestrial planets, and not gas giants? What factors not already discussed here might impede the formation of life in other solar systems?

Last update: 11/19/10

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