Reasons to Believe

Extrasolar Planets

  • Through the Lens: Astronomy, "Gas Giants" (SD)

    Video Url: http://c450919.r19.cf2.rackcdn.com/ttl_astronomy_gasgiants_sd.mp4

    Discussion Ideas

    Before watching the video:

    Activity: Research the term "gas giant." What are the characteristics of a gas giant? What makes a body a planet? (This term will be … more

  • Through the Lens: Astronomy, "Gas Giants" (HD)

    Video Url: http://c450919.r19.cf2.rackcdn.com/ttl_astronomy_gasgiants.mp4

    Discussion Ideas

    Before watching the video:

    Activity: Research the term "gas giant." What are the characteristics of a gas giant? What makes a body a planet? (This term will be … more

  • Tides Influence Habitability

    “My own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent...I have almost no doubt about it.”

    So said the UC-Santa Cruz astrophysicist who discovered an … more

  • Plate Tectonics Design

    The phrase “a hard nut to crack” aptly describes coconuts, Brazil nuts, and spies trained to resist interrogation. A new research study by Yale University geophysicist Jun Korenaga … more

  • Earth’s Primordial Atmosphere Must Be Fine-Tuned

    An adult human can last 40 days without food, a week without any sleep, three days without water, but only five minutes without air. Yet nothing is more taken for granted than the air we breathe. … more

  • Finding Planets in the Habitable Zone

    The inevitable finally happened. Astronomers using the Kepler Telescope detected five Earth-sized planets orbiting in the liquid water habitable zone. Yet, unlike previous bold assertions that such … more

  • Similar But Not The Same

    These are exciting times in the hunt for planets outside our solar system. The catalog of alien worlds grows (almost daily it seems) and continues to showcase planets that look nothing like ours.

    One … more

  • Planet from Another Galaxy Discovered

    I still remember the excitement I experienced as a kid each time someone gave me a box of Cracker Jacks. Not only were the caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts delicious, each box contained a surprise. … more

  • Many Earth-Sized Planets

    Perhaps the root of “barking up the wrong tree” is easier to decipher. Yet, one should take the latter advice to heart in trying to understand the apologetic implications that the recent … more

  • Improved Exoplanet Tool Promises Better Tests

    Much to my kids’ chagrin, I enjoy leisurely wandering around The Home Depot (or any other tool/hardware store). Occasionally, I’ll find a new or improved tool that would help me finish a … more

  • Habitable Planet Doubts: Waffling Science?

    A couple of weeks ago, I reported on a recently discovered exoplanet that some scientists felt confident hosted life.1 Now, another team of astronomers question whether the planet even exists. Are … more