Reasons to Believe

Discovery of New Extrasolar Planets

TNRTB Archive - Retained for reference information

A recent announcement that astronomers had discovered small rocky planets like Earth—with the implication that life-supportable planets are common—was dispelled in the discovery research papers submitted for publication. The newly discovered planets have minimum masses equal to 14.2 and 21 times the mass of Earth. Both planets orbit their stars far too closely for the planets to have formed there. Thus, they must have formed farther out and drifted in. The presumption the planets are “rocky” is based on models showing that rocky planets 15 to 20 times the mass of Earth could form in the warm portions of dusty disks around newborn stars. However, the newly discovered planets more likely formed in cold portions of the disk out of a predominantly gas mixture and then drifted a large distance inward. In either case, the planetary drift would have so disturbed the orbit of any possible planet like Earth in the system that it would have rendered such a planet unfit for life. These discoveries once again demonstrate that the more scientists learn about extrasolar planets, the more evidence they uncover for the supernatural design of the solar system for the support of life.

o   Paul Butler et al., “A Neptune-Mass Planet Orbiting the Nearby M Dwarf GJ436,” preprint, 2004; astir-ph/0408587


o   Barbara E. McArthur et al., “Detection of a Neptune-Mass Planet in the rho Cancri System Using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope,” in press, Astrophysical Journal Letters, 2004; astro-ph/0408585


o   Robert Irion, “Hard Feelings Over Small Planets,” ScienceNow, August 31, 2004


·         Related Resource

o   Hugh Ross, “Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity

·         Product Spotlight

o   Journey Toward Creation, 2nd ed., by Hugh Ross

Subjects: Extrasolar Planets

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.