Discovery Of New Planets
As a camper, cottager type person I have an interest in the night sky. Who doesn’t? At least those of us who are fortunate enough to spend some time away from light pollution where we can occasionally look up and marvel at the stars above and wondering about the discovery of new planets. You probably have done the same, peering into the night sky, wondering what is out there. I have happily spent countless hours beside the dying embers of a campfire gazing up at the night sky, watching the moon come up, and the stars twinkle high overhead, and I am always amazed.
The Keplar Telescope
Well, you are not alone…nope, the good scientists at NASA are doing the same thing, only they have a little bit better equipment for looking up at the night sky. In particular, they have something called a Keplar space telescope, or something along those lines. With their Keplar space telescope they are able to see quite a bit further than you and I, regardless how much we paid for our astronomy hobby telescope.
Discovery of New Planets
And here is what is quite amazing. Recently the Keplar telescope and the NASA scientists have discovered a planet, located approximately 600 light years away from us, that could be habitable. It may have water. NASA’s Kepler Mission has confirmed that it has discovered the first planet in the “habitable zone.” What they mean by the “habitable zone” is a region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface.
According to Wilkipedia “The Kepler spacecraft is an American space observatory, the space-based portion of NASA’s Kepler Mission to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named in honor of the 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched in March 2009 with a planned mission lifetime of at least 3.5 years.” You remember 16th century astronomer Johannes Keplar, he was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. A key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution, he is best known for his laws of planetary motion. Here is his picture.
Possibly 1000 New Planets
But wait, there’s more….The Keplar telescope has also discovered more than 1000 possible new planets, which is close to double what they thought was out there…err..up there. Of those planets, ten of them are similiar in size to planet Earth and like earth, orbit in the “habitable zone” of their host star (sun). The additional planets are not confirmed yet, but the scientists tell me they are following up.
On the other hand, the newest planet, one they have dubbed Kepler-22b is the smallest they have found orbiting in the habitable zone of a star like our sun. It’s about 2 1/2 times the radius of Earth. It’s a little early yet to tell much more than that, such as whether or not the planet is rocky or gaseous or liquid, but they assure us they are working on it.
This is pretty amazing stuff, that for some reason doesn’t seem to get the credit or attention that I think it deserves. The discovery of new planets is not something that should be taken lightly. This is the kind of news that could very well prove the existence of life on other planets, maybe even prove the existence of UFO’s and aliens…or not. But think about it, what makes us so damm cocky that out of the millions of stars, the infinite area of space, what makes us so cavalier, or so stupid, that we can refuse to believe there is life out there somewhere. Maybe even identical to the type of life we have here on Earth?
I think those of us campers and cottagers who have spent some time looking up at the night sky won’t be particularly surprised by this. We’ve all seen a UFO or two as we stargaze a summer night by the campfire, and we’ve all seen enough of the marvels of the night sky to realize that there must be more out there than meets the eye.
But I bet there are people who have no idea, some of whom probably believe the night sky is neon, because when they look up, that is all they see, neon signs and skyscraper lights. This is especially true for anyone living in bigger cities where the night sky, the real night sky, is all but impossible to see and appreciate most of the time. It’s one of the reasons why children should all get an opportunity to go outside on a clear night in the country and look up. Nobody can do that, especially on a clear night, without realizing there is so much more than we know, perhaps more than we will ever really know.
Perhaps it is time the media lose some interest in Kim Kardashians marital status and start to pay attention to things like the discovery of Keplar-22b and the work of NASA. We might be better for it. It amazes me that news stories like this, get so little attention while other less important news gets done to death. Almost makes one think that perhaps the ideas of conspiracy theorists might hold some water. Perhaps there are those who would like the masses to become mindless watching “reality” televison shows while the “real” reality goes on under our noses.
Sorry…I got carried away…suffice to say, the next time you are lucky enough to spend some time under a clear night sky, you really can look up and wonder, is there someone standing on the shore of a lake on another planet looking back at you, wondering, like you, what is really out there…
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