We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. A little girl was looking for something to eat and a place to rest, when she wandered into an environment that – after a few experiments – had everything necessary to be “just right”… at least until the bears came home! Now, experience humankind's search for a planet with conditions which would be “just right” in A Planet for Goldilocks.
In 1995, astronomers detected 51 Pegasi, the first exoplanet – a planet orbiting a star other than our sun. Since that time the search for a planet like Earth, one with temperatures, oceans, and an atmosphere like ours has been a little like Goldilock’s search for a decent bowl of porridge: some are too hot, some are too cold, but a few are “just right.”
This program explores the ongoing search for just such an exoplanet – in the habitable zone - where an exoplanet might even support life.
Learn the techniques astronomers use to find the tiny, dark worlds in orbit around distant stars. Using the Dopler shift method and the transit method of planet detection, you will understand how scientists can be sure of these distant discoveries. The amazing NASA Kepler mission results have already given us more than two thousand exoplanet candidates, some of which are in the Goldilocks Zone. As we continue to search wider fields of view and add exploration tools like the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, we will undoubtedly find thousands more.