Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

2/27/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.

Few people paid attention to the news yesterday when it was announced that the Kepler Space telescope had discovered 715 new planets orbiting distant stars, after all, it's just one more astronomical discovery that doesn't mean much to folks on Earth. -But actually, it changes everything.

Kepler only examined one patch of sky where most of the stars were over a hundred light years away. What happens when we look everywhere else? The deep sky is filled with planets.

Kepler only examined one patch of sky where most of the stars were over a hundred light years away. What happens when we look everywhere else? The deep sky is filled with planets.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/27/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Kepler, planets, Goldilocks, habitable, zone, worlds, intelligent, life, extraterrestrial, implications, discover, search, radio


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With a single announcement, scientists have updated what we know about the space around our Sun. We now know of over 1,000 planets outside of our solar system and we can safely conclude that planets are both normal and common around stars.

Most importantly, about 20 percent of those planetary systems have planets which are small in size, similar to Earth, and orbit in the habitable zone around their parent stars.

St. Dominic de Guzman, the patron saint of astronomers
.

If these numbers were extrapolated out to the rest of the galaxy, it would mean the odds for intelligent life out there just grew many-fold times.This changes everything by dramatically increasing the odds for discovering intelligent life beyond Earth.

Conveniently, Kepler also identified which star systems are most likely to host planets that can support life, so scientists will know precisely where to look, which will make evaluation much faster. It's also worth noting that Kepler only studied a single patch of sky around the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. There's a lot more sky left to study.

Last month is was suggested we may discover evidence for life outside our solar system within the next twenty years. The discovery that possible life-bearing planets are more common than previously suspected means we could answer the question even sooner than that.

Scientists also made clear that they weren't finished yet. The discoveries were made using just the first two years of Kepler data. The telescope has been working since 2009, and another two year's of solid data are waiting for review. That data will certainly increase the number of candidate worlds for life that we know about.

The Kepler spacecraft discovered these planets because it was designed to look for the dimming of starlight as planets passed in front of the star. Scientists then looked for patterns of dimming which could only be caused by planets. By combining this with the predictable wobble planets have on their parent stars, which can easily be detected, they can determine with great precision how many planets, and what their masses and orbits are around each star.

Unfortunately, Kepler lost some of its functionality last year when some of its pointing equipment failed. The telescope is still operational, but it is now impaired and its mission is coming to an end. It will soon be replaced by a small fleet of improved telescopes designed to perform the same duties, but even better.

Other telescopes in the planet-hunting fleet will actually be used to seek signs of life on these distant worlds.

It is breathtaking to imagine that we are but years away from possibly answering one of the most fundamental questions about the universe. How common is life? Are we truly alone? For decades, astronomers have doubted our loneliness, but there has been zero scientific evidence accumulated to suggest otherwise. Yet, given the vast size of the universe, it also seems extraordinarily unlikely.

Is life common, or is it exceptionally rare? Whatever the answer may be, we are likely to be astounded by the conclusion. As Arthur C. Clarke once surmised, "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


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


Comments


More Technology

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg predicts the future of technology Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, shared and explained preparations the social media company is developing for the future. Through his profile's Q&A, he explained that he believes we will be soon able to send our thoughts out as we think them, with an optimum ... continue reading


ISIS posting up to 100,000 tweets per day, governments falling behind in cyber war Watch

Image of Sometimes all it takes - is one sympathetic ear or voice in a massive sea of indifference to turn a law-abiding citizen into an agent of terror and mass destruction.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sometimes all it takes - is one sympathetic ear or voice in a massive sea of indifference to turn a law-abiding citizen into an agent of terror and mass destruction. Islamic State or ISIS continues to post 100,000 tweets daily in order to recruit ... continue reading


Hundreds of iPhone users hit with worrisome 'blue screen of death' Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Complaints have piled up against Apple iPhones, reaching social media, after several iPhones of various models were hit by the "blue screen of death" just before rebooting without any notice. The random occurrences became somewhat of an outbreak, after people revealed ... continue reading


Samsung's amazing new technology promises to help lower car accident fatalities Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Traffic accidents are horrifying and in an effort to prevent road accidents involving trucks, Samsung has introduced its new product, the "Safety Truck." The common response of drivers annoyed by a blocked view of a slow running big truck is they want to get ahead, but ... continue reading


Tokyo's Lexus creates levitating hoverboard -- A reality? Or another hoax? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

You may find it hard to believe, but a working model for a hoverboard is actually here. The Tokyo branch of Lexus in Japan has developed a model for the hoverboard. It seems to act like magic - at least for now - as the hoverboard promises to carry a person using ... continue reading


Facial recognition technology taking over the world, even APPEARING IN CHURCHES Watch

Image of Facial recognition technology can identify you, even if you're not completely facing a camera.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Companies and events are utilizing facial recognition technology to identify a person's face, even if the face is partially hidden. Facebook uses their vast facial recognition database, which can recognize a face even when it's hidden. Google's new Photos app can now ... continue reading


Strange new COCKROACH ROBOT squeezes through impenetrable gaps Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have created a robot based on a cockroach. The new technology is so innovative; it is hard not to find yourself stunned to witness the cockroach bot escape into an extremely miniscule gap. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Extra-terrestrial life exists - but not at Area 51 Watch

Image of There is life on other planets - but there are no little green men hiding out at Area 51, according to NASA Administrator Major Charles Bolden.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is life on other planets - but there are no little green men hiding out at Area 51, according to NASA Administrator Major Charles Bolden. He was on hand to greet a crowd of curious British schoolchildren, and said that there are so many planets like our ... continue reading


Is there water - and life on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons? Watch

Image of Jupiter is about 390 million miles from Earth when the two planets are at their closest.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Europa, one of Jupiter's larger moons, and is approximately the size of Earth's moon. Many astronomers say the moon has the greatest potential for life in our solar system. To this end, NASA is planning a more in-depth study and mission to this mysterious ... continue reading


Is a 706 MPG car possible? BMW hopes of creating stunning new electric car Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Several months after the release of BMW's i8 hybrid sports car, rumors are circulating about a new model. According to the rumors', the German automaker is currently focusing on the development of a more efficient model than the previous i8. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... 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, Genesis 22:1-19
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
1 Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to your name give ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:1-8
1 He got back in the boat, crossed the water and came ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Bernardino Realino
July 2: St. Bernardino Realino was born into a noble family of Capri, ... 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