It is hard to imagine that our ancestors all of the way back through time ‘believed’ that the sky was 2-dimensional and that the stars were pasted on a dome surrounding our earth. Hell, Copernicus was laughed-at by non-thinking imbeciles in his society when he suggested that we were not the center of the universe. And that was just 500 years ago. Imagine the ignorance that prevailed for all of the millenia before Copernicus, including the mythical cosmology contained in the Bible when they believed the sky was a solid dome or firmament and the Sun, Moon, and stars embedded in it.
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright;
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to Thy perfect light.
A star ‘guiding’ the travelers as it moved in the firmament.
A star that then stood still over the Dead Sea.
A star that pinpointed with a narrow beam of light in GPS fashion a specific piece of earth, a cave opening.
Of course, as children we sang that song believing that such an event had occurred some 2000 years ago. But then, we also believed that Santa came down our chimney but that his red suit was soot-proof.
Two days ago NASA scientists discovered two more earth-sized planets in our Milky Way Galaxy, Kepler 20-e and 20-f. These are the 713th and 714th extrasolar planets discovered so far. The latest two mark the first time that planets as small as our own have been detected. Astrophysicists tend to think that our size of planet is the Goldilocks ‘just right’ size on which lifeforms could develop.
Neither of these two newly discovered planets, however, could sustain the type of life forms that we have on earth because the surface temperatures are way-too hot. That’s the other Goldilocks test.
“We’ve crossed a threshold: For the first time, we’ve been able to detect planets smaller than the Earth around another star,” lead researcher François Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., told SPACE.com. “We proved that Earth-size planets exist around other stars like the sun, and most importantly, we proved that humanity is able to detect them. It’s the beginning of an era.”