Exosolar planets are planets that do not revolve around our own sun. They orbit sun stars from near and distant galaxies, some as many as millions of light years away. The closest possibly inhabitable exosolar planets are as little as 10 light years away, meaning that we could meet, in our lifetime, any ETs who may live there.
Its been less than 10 years ago that astronomers first discovered these planets in the universe. As of Summer 2006, over 200 exosolar planets have been seen and confirmed. They all hold the possibility of being home to intelligent life. Whether they would like to admit it or not, astronomers are keenly interested in these exoplanets, for one reason and one reason alone: to discover which of these planets do, in fact, harbor intelligent life.
There seems to be growing evidence from interplanetary probes in our own solar system that some form of life may exist deep underground on Mars or perhaps on one of the many moons of Saturn or Jupiter. Yet keep in mind that there is only one earth-sized, carbon-based, water-predominant planet in our own solar system, which is host to an enormously vast array of living creatures. If youre going to look for intelligent life forms similar to earthlings, your search will have to take you out of our solar system to the planets of other stars.
How do astronomers find planets around other stars?
Because a planet is relatively close to its sun, powerful telescopes cant see the planet becuse it is lost in the glare of its suns light. However, about 20 years ago, astronomers began to notice that some of the stars they observed had a slight wobble. They found that that wobble was being caused by the gravitational pull of a large planet orbiting around it. So, wobbly star = large planet - Jupiter large. It stands to reason, that if we have many planets smaller than Jupiter in our own solar system, that other Suns with Jupiter-size planets may also have smaller planets.
The Extraterrestrial Planet Finder Kit
Fun & easy! Find the position of inhabitable planets in the night sky. Instant e-delivery.
The ET Planet Finder Kit includes:
Scientific profile of the closest habitable exosolar planets
Full color star chart showing their position in the night sky
Audio tour of the sky with one of our astronomers. Listen to a sample:
Instruction guide with simple easy-to-follow instructions
This is whats making extraterrestrial contact so exciting. Before we knew that exosolar planets actually existed in the universe, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and other organizations looking for extraterrestrial life were systematically, yet randomly, scanning the skies for any kind of frequency that might signal ET communication.
Now we can point our radio telescopes to certain stars that we know have planets, and listen to see if theyre talking to us. In the past, the only way we could send a message to a star was if we got a message from them first. This ascertained their location, allowing us to know exactly where to send a message to them. Now, we dont have to wait. We have over 200 precise locations in the night sky tward which to beam our message. Even more miraculous, many of those stars with exosolar planets are so close,you can see them without a telescope and you could get a call-back in your own lifetime.
Windowpane Observatorys ET Planet Finder Kit gives you all the information you will need to find out what kind of planets are orbiting other stars, how far away those stars are (so you can know when to expect a call-back), and even the habitability zone of where an Earth-like planet might reside orbiting that star..
Our advanced kit, coming in Spring 2007 will contain step-by-step plans to build your own ET contacting transmitter. Whether you want to send a picture of yourself as a typical earthling, or transmit your favorite YouTube video, beings from outer space now have an opportunikty for you to message them directly.
This ET Planet Finder Kit is the first step. Not only does it contain a wealth of information about potentially life-bearing planets, but we have selected the brightest stars that you doent even need a telescope to see. Take the supplied star chart outside and show your friends and family where ETs might be living.