Dark and unimaginably far away, planets in other solar systems -- or " exoplanets" -- are very difficult to spot. But enhanced telescopy and ingenious exploitation of physical laws means astronomers can now detect the presence of alien planets thousands of light years away. The Milky Way has over 100 billion stars, most of which are believed to have a planetary system: conservative estimates put the total number of exoplanets in the billions.
More than 500 exoplanets have been confirmed since the first was discovered in 1992 by radio Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail. Although many are giant planets with eccentric orbits, astronomers have also found several Earth-like planets. Wired brings you a selection of the most interesting exoplanets discovered.