Where are exoplanets?

In a lot of places! Most of the exoplanets discovered so far are in a relatively small region of our galaxy, the Milky Way. ("Small" meaning within thousands of light years of the solar system). That is as far as current telescopes have been able to probe.

A swirling Milky Way Galaxy, with our Sun seen on the outskirts.
The Sun and our solar system in relation to the Milky Way galaxy. The white circle indicates the area where the majority of exoplanets have been found with current telescopes.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

Astronomers think that nearly every star in the universe could have at least one planet. That’s trillions of planets, waiting to be found. If you go outside on a clear night and look up at the stars, virtually every star you can see has at least one planet in orbit around it, and most likely, several.

After nine years in space collecting data that revealed our night sky to be filled with trillions of hidden planets, NASA ended the Kepler Space Telescope’s science operations in October 2018. Kepler discovered more than 2,600 planets, some of which could be promising places for life.
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