The most powerful planet-hunting tool ever built has been switched on. Located in Chile, ESPRESSO is a spectrograph that searches for habitable planets by looking for tiny changes in the light of their stars.
The discovery of extra-solar planets has certainly heated up in the past few years. With the deployment of the Kepler mission in 2009, several thousands of exoplanet candidates have been discovered and over 2,500 have been confirmed. In many cases, these planets have been gas giants orbiting close to their respective stars (aka. “Hot Jupiters”), which has confounded some commonly-held notions of how and where planets form.