Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Planets


Thanks to the work of the Kepler spacecraft with telescope, scientists are discovering...on practically a daily basis...new planets orbiting stars outside of our solar system. There has been the recent discovery of a star with perhaps seven planets orbiting it. Most of these discoveries are taking place in our own Milky Way galaxy between 100 and 2500 light years away...relatively close in the grand scheme of things.

Astronomers believe this is all part of a growing body of evidence that the universe is full of planets. It is difficult to discern much about many of these worlds at this time, because they are so small in comparison to their home stars... and that the stars' brightness just dwarfs the reflection of the planets. Although most of the recent discoveries are of worlds many times larger than our own Earth, there is the possibility that several are like our home world...including one that may only be one and half times larger than Earth. Below is an artist's conception of a "super-sized" earth-like planet. (Note the blue-dot :-).

Blessings, Don

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