Saturday, 20 August 2016


With understandably more exuberance than expected an as yet to be confirmed finding, Der Spiegel’s English edition is reporting that astronomers may have detected an exoplanet (not such a novelty these days with over three thousand verified sightings and a conservative estimate of a billion planets in our galaxy) with a proximity to its host star that we believe would create conditions ideal for life as we know it (there are dozens of these candidates as well—not to be sniffy about it), and lastly the possible planet was spied just in the star system closest to us.
When I first saw the headline, I admit that I kind of dismissed it—vaguely remembering, as Universe Today expands on, that we had found a planet already four years ago in this projection of the constellation Centaurus that we would aim to reach, with the technology of yesterday, within the next fifty years. Supposedly sighted by the same Chilean observatory under the auspices of the European Space Agency, the article quotes unnamed sources ahead of the official announcement to come within days. The 2012 detection was found to be a false-positive though I don’t remember anyone rolling back the fanfare—and probably rightly so, and although the astronomy community is cautious, that did not stop the writer from speculating on the types of flora and fauna that might thrive there, under the feeble light of the red dwarf, Proxima Centauri. We will be spacefarers no matter the outcome, but having a port on the horizon this tantalisingly close is a great motivator.  Be sure to watch for the announcement; watch the skies.