Segments in this Video

Search for other Earths (01:26)


Using the Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers are on the verge of discovering whether other life sustaining planets exist.

Planet Transits (01:47)

At Mt. Haleakala Observatory, astronomers watch Venus cross between Earth and the sun. Dimming light indicates previously undetected planets.

Kepler Space Telescope (01:23)

Learn how new technology measures dimming light to search for exo-planets. NASA has focused on a specific field of view containing 150,000 stars.

Exo-planet Candidates (03:13)

Measuring light curves, Kepler has discovered 3,000 planets—many of them earth's size. Learn why size may indicate the existence of life.

Solar System Diversity (01:38)

Experts describe Kepler's contribution to humanity. Data is helping explain how planets are formed and different orbital and planetary patterns.

Goldilocks Zone (01:33)

Astronomers search for planets with the right conditions to support life.

Planet Hunting History (03:48)

Exo-planets can't be seen due to solar glare. Learn how Gordon Walker and Bruce Campbell developed a way to measure the Doppler Effect caused by gravitational wobble.

Exo-planet Pioneers (03:28)

Learn how Walker and Campbell developed technology to measure the Dobbler Effect caused by star wobbles—detecting a possible planet.

MOST Technology (01:34)

Learn how the first Canadian space telescope detected planetary transits—providing a proof of concept for Kepler.

Launching Kepler (03:00)

NASA launched the space telescope in 2009. 150,000 stars are monitored for transits to identify planets in the Goldilocks Zone.

Verifying Exo-planets (03:53)

Learn how the Keck Observatory measures star wobbles to confirm Kepler's discoveries. One candidate is too close to its star to sustain life—but the team believes earth's twin exists.

MEarth Project (02:12)

Kepler discusses the commonality of earth-like planets. An Arizona observatory studies stars close to earth and looks for planet atmospheres supporting life.

Exo-planet SAT (02:19)

Learn how a telescope measuring starlight passing through planetary atmospheres will look for oxygen molecules—a sign of life.

Detecting Planet Atmospheres (02:57)

Scientists use Voyager I's long distance photograph of Earth to model how life sustaining exo-planets might appear.

Life Sustaining Candidates (02:31)

Astronomers hope to detect exo-planetary atmospheres. Goldilocks planets are increasing; learn how cooler stars may support life on planets with closer orbits.

Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) (02:53)

The Kepler Mission has identified planetary systems potentially supporting life. Citizen scientists help search for radio signals that can't be produced in nature.

Finding other Earths (03:43)

Kepler is discovering watery planets that may contain life. Experts discuss why visiting them is impossible with current technology and how we can still learn from them.

Credits: Planet Hunters (01:04)

Credits: Planet Hunters

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Planet Hunters

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For millennia, humans studying the stars had no idea if there were planets outside our solar system, let alone ones similar enough to ours to sustain life. The first extra-solar planet—or exoplanet—was only discovered in 1995. Now, a new space-based telescope has discovered thousands more, and some of them may be just like Earth. If the Kepler Space Telescope’s discoveries are verified, and if what is true for one randomly chosen area of the cosmos is true throughout, then our universe is probably full of habitable planets. This discovery would have enormous implications for the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. (45 minutes)

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL58450

ISBN: 978-0-81608-555-2

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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