Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, University of Leicester
Since the discovery of the first planets around other stars in the 1990s, our knowledge of extra-solar planets (Exoplanets) has exploded. Dedicated surveys with ground-based telescopes have now discovered hundreds of exoplanets, and new observations with the Kepler satellite have extended this census to over 3000 objects (and counting). Along the way there have been many unexpected discoveries, but perhaps the biggest surprise has been that most planetary systems are very different from our own. We see "hot Jupiters" which orbit their stars in just a few days, planets which meander across entire solar systems on highly eccentric orbits, and even planets orbiting twin, binary suns. I will discuss the techniques used to find these planets and attempt to summarise the current state of our knowledge, as well as discussing what these results tell us about how planets form, and about our place in the Universe.