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Exo-planets February 21, 2012

Posted by daniel ayad in Science.

Many people do not know that there are hundreds of planets beyond our solar system. These planets beyond our solar system are commonly called exo-planets as they orbit a star other than our own sun. Most people are familiar with the planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – Pluto is not a planet anymore!) but not exo-planets. Amazingly by February 2012 there have been 758 exo-planets that have been discovered.

The number of discovered exo-planets has rapidly increased with advancements in astronomy, and the number will just continue to rise and rise. I think that there are probably trillions of exo-planets in the universe, but who I am to speculate the total number.

To discover an exo-planet one of two things can happen[1]:

  1. The mass of the planet makes the star wobble slightly. Astronomers can detect this for large planets. So far all the planets found have been much bigger than the earth and close to the star.
  2. The planet can go in front of the star and eclipse it. The light from the star dims slightly, and this tiny change in light level can be measured.

I find that we learn two lessons from exo-planets.

  1. God has made a very, very big universe to help us realise how utterly small and insignificant we are.
  2. Despite us being really, really small He cares deeply about us. He cares about the entire little thing that go on in our lives – the number of hairs we have, our wounds and joys. 

The Creator is an amazingly big God that can create galaxies and exo-planets…..yet also care about you so much that He made you in His image.

I think that’s an awesome God to worship!

[1] http://burro.cwru.edu/stu/advanced/esol_find.html accessed on Feb 21 2012



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