Scientists have discovered over 4,000 exoplanets outside of our Solar System, according to NASA’s Exoplanet Archive.
Some of these planets orbit multiple stars at the same time. Certain planets are so close to their star that it takes only a handful of days to make one revolution, compared to the Earth which takes 365.25 days. Others slingshot around their star with extremely oblong orbits, unlike the Earth’s circular one. When it comes to how exoplanets behave and where they exist, there are many possibilities.
And yet, when it comes to sizes of planets, specifically their mass and radius, there are some limitations. And for that, we have physics to blame.
I am a planetary astrophysicist and I try to understand what makes a planet able to support life. I look at the chemical connection between stars and their exoplanets and how the interior structure and mineralogy of different sized planets compare to each other.