Reasons to Believe

Extrasolar Planets

  • Milankovitch Cycle Design

    We all know friends and relatives who exhibit frequent, large mood cycles. In some cases, the cycles can be so extreme as to make maintaining a normal life challenging.

    Planetary scientists are … more

  • 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