Is there life on other planets?
The theory that there is life on other planets has been debated since ancient times. In the earlier era of these theories common belief was that extraterrestrials were considered more like gods, the debate was whether they were gods, or not. This is how the factions of believers and non-believers began for the most part, and in those days it was more convenient to sacrifice the non-believers. In modern times, that’s considered first-degree murder.
Now, scientists are trying to find signs of life on other planets by finding the planets themselves, and looking for key characteristics that would produce life.
There are many methods of discovering planets, the most popular and basic method is using a telescope. For centuries this method has been used by the greatest astronomers of all time, and even the not so great astronomers. Today, astronomers use high powered telescopes, some are observatories, and other not so common ones are in orbit around earth.
A favorite, yet not so common method involves a telescope, and is called Astrometry. It’s defined as “The scientific measurement of the positions and motions of celestial bodies.” (Merriam Webster, Circa 1859)
How it works is scientists study the stars that are out and about in our galaxy, and they watch its movements. They watch for the very precise and small wobble that is created when a planet is orbiting a star. “The presence of a planetary companion will induce a cyclical perturbance on the observed motion of the parent star. NstED (The NASA Star and Exo-planet Database) refers to this as the astrometric wobble. The units of the wobble are micro-arc seconds. The astrometric wobble depends on the mass of the star, the mass of the planet, and its distance to the star.
For an Earth-like planet, the values stored in NStED are calculated by placing a one Earth mass planet at the center of the Habitable Zone of the parent star. For a Jupiter-like planet, the calculated...