Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/21/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Discovery has implications for life beyond Earth.

Astronomers have discovered the smallest planet yet outside of our solar system. The tiny planet is about the size of our moon and orbits close to its parent star, so it's inhospitable. Despite its inhospitable nature, it represents a new milestone in astronomy.

There may be a virtually infinite number of worlds awaiting our discovery, each with its own chance of harboring life.

There may be a virtually infinite number of worlds awaiting our discovery, each with its own chance of harboring life.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/21/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: planets, smallest, life, Kepler, telescope, search, Kepler 37b


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Designated Kepler 37b, the tiny moon-sized planet bakes at 700 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's not a candidate for life. It orbits very close to its parent star, so it has no atmosphere or water.

The discovery of, Kepler 37b has far-reaching implications for astronomers. First, it suggests that planets are very common with most stars hosting them. Small rocky planets such as the Earth, are apparently normal.

Second, this discovery has implications in the quest for life beyond Earth. It suggests that many solar systems may have planets orbiting within their habitable zones where liquid water and atmosphere can exist. If so, then the preconditions for life may also be common.

This implies the universe could be teeming with life.

To date, 861 planets have been detected by NASA's Kepler telescope, which finds planets by monitoring the light from stars. As planets orbit their stars, they block some of the light coming from them, much like one might see a light flicker if someone walks in front of it. The Kepler telescope can detect when this happens and if it happens on a regular, predictable basis, it is a sign that a planet is present.

Astronomers can then determine the mass of the planet by studying the light from the star and seeing how that light is changed by the planet's orbit. Even a small planet can cause a tiny, but detectible wobble in the star. The required equipment is very sensitive and sophisticated, but the method works.

Astronomers predict that they will now begin discovering planets that are remarkably similar to Earth. Once they learn how to find such planets, they can zero in on those that could harbor life and monitor them for telltale signs, such as radio signals, and even pollution in their atmospheres.

This means the discovery of the first planet with life could easily happen  within our lifetime as soon as the next generation of space and earth-bound telescopes are deployed.

Read More: What happens to our faith if we find life out there?

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Technology

FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH? Next step in human evolution could lead to eternal youth Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Humanity's life expectancy has grown over the years, thanks to medical advances. However, this does not necessarily translate into quality of life. Living longer sometimes means living in increasingly reduced circumstances due to infirmity and old age. ... continue reading


NASA's top scientist believes signs of alien life will be discovered 'within a decade' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"I think we're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan said. The proclamation was made during a panel discussion that ... continue reading


From battle weapons to photographers, drones now cleverly used as advertisement model Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the past few years, drones have become efficient in making deliveries, serving as waiters and even doing photography on sporting events. Now, drones are starting to fly with advertisements. According Eugene Stark, founder of the company Hoovy, drones have ... continue reading


Removing human error: Planes without pilots new, viable option Watch

Image of Some advocates for air safety say that current advances in sensor technology, computing and artificial intelligence are making human pilots less necessary than ever in the cockpit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following the Germanwings tragedy, when a distraught copilot slammed a plane into the French Alps in a suicide that cost the lives of 150 other people on board, many are questioning the validity of pilots on planes. Some argue that human pilots are in fact ... continue reading


Is Facebook changing? Facebook plans to conquer the virtual world this year Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Facebook's chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer promised that the Virtual Reality (VR) program will come into life within the year. The Oculus headset, which was on their top secret list before, was announced to be available soon, but the exact release date is not ... continue reading


Smartphones and Internet may be putting your child's mental health in jeopardy Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil

The number of young people being admitted for mental treatments since 2010 has rapidly increased. Julie Lynn Evans, a psychotherapist for over 25 years now, is grateful for the additional funding being sent into mental health services, but she believes the dilemma ... continue reading


Stealth fighter jets in U.S. set to get massive upgrades Watch

Image of Pentagon officials have stressed the importance of developing the new long-range strike bomber calling it critical to national security and nuclear deterrence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mainstay of United States military defense, stealth bombers have been around since the Seventies. The Air Force's aging fleet is now ready for an expensive makeover. The Pentagon intends to develop a high-priority, super-classified, next-generation bomber. ... continue reading


Will you say 'hello' to Barbie? Mattel's new Barbie doll is 'creeping out' parents, raising concerns of privacy Watch

Image of Hello Barbie will allow its owner to carry on a conversation through recorded audio and WiFi.

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Classic toy doll, Barbie, has been reinvented after the makers, Mattel received numerous requests for a Barbie doll that kids can talk to, according to a spokesperson of the toy company. Mattel's response is WiFi connected "Hello Barbie" that comes with an installed ... continue reading


Scientists find way to eliminate inherited diseases with genetically modified human eggs Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New gene-editing techniques are being improved and could soon eliminate inherited diseases from future generations by modifying the DNA of human egg cells. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although the idea of editing chromosomes in human eggs or sperm is feared, ... continue reading


Hidden spy cameras discovered at United States post office, installation confirmed by USPIS Watch

Image of freerepublic.com

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A hidden camera disappeared just after an hour of being discovered at a Denver local post office, Fox31 Denver reported. People became alarmed that they are being watched as they drop-off their mails with the possibility of the camera collecting their facial features ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
13 It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
2 Children of men, how long will you be heavy of ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 2:1-5
1 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2015 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter