Washington: Twenty years ago, astronomers announced that they had discovered a planet, 51 Pegasi b -- a Jupiter-like planet -- orbiting around a star similar to our sun.
While the discovery was revolutionary, finding an Earth-like planet was still out of reach.
51 Pegasi b was the first planet to be discovered orbiting a main-sequence star, the Sun-like 51 Pegasi, and marked a breakthrough in astronomical research.
The name 51 Pegasi b is the official astronomical name of the planet.
The exoplanet's discovery was announced on October 6, 1995, by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva in the journal Nature.
And in the last 20 years, astronomers have also discovered thousands of new exotic worlds, begun to characterize atmospheres of faraway planets, and are developing cutting-edge technology to launch us on our search for alien life.
Check out this documentary below from NASA as it tells the story of the pioneers in planet-hunting and how those who have followed are closer to answering one of humanity’s most ancient questions: Is there life elsewhere in the universe?
Text/Video credits: NASA/YouTube