Learn about Earth-like worlds outside the Solar System with The X-Planets: Discovering Other Earths in our Planetarium


February 1, 2013
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As of this instant, we’ve found more than 800 planets orbiting other stars. We’ve also identified life forms on Earth that might survive on these alien worlds. Our discovery of life in Earth’s extreme environments has broadened our definition of the habitable zone where life might exist on a planet orbiting a distant star.

Our new Planetarium show, The X-Planets: Discovering Other Earths introduces audiences to the most famous of the newly discovered “exoplanets” — planets outside the Solar System.

The show first zooms the exoplanet’s star out of the star field, then takes viewers in for a closer look at the alien world, followed by an artist’s conception of how the planet’s surface might look:

X-Planets: Now Playing at the Burke Baker Planetarium

This is perhaps the most cutting-edge science the Planetarium has ever introduced, with the latest discoveries in the search for planets around other stars and the search for extreme life forms on Earth.

The show features the following firsts in our quest for Earth-like worlds:

Date    X-Planet               Significance
1995    51Pegasus b         First exoplanet orbiting a sun-like star
2001    HD 28185 b           First exoplanet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star
2007    Gliese 581d           First Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone
2009    CoRot 7b               First rocky exoplanet
2011    Gliese 370b           First rocky exoplanet in the habitable zone
2011    Kepter 16b             First exoplanet of a binary star
2012    Gliese 667Cc        First rocky exoplanet in the center of the habitable zone
    
The X-Planets: Discovering Other Earths is now playing at the Museum’s Burke Baker Planetarium.

Authored By Carolyn S Sumners

Carolyn is VP of astronomy for the Museum; she develops Planetarium shows for the Museum that tour all over the world, developed the very first Challenger Learning Center and runs the Museum’s George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park. In her spare time, she does research in the field of archaeoastronomy, which attempts to replicate the night sky at critical moments in history.


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