The Silver Scribe

Ross 128 b

Marima Jules, Staff Writer

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With the holiday season rolling in, a new planet like our own is an ideal present. Last month, astronomers discovered the planet with the help of a European telescope. Astronomers look for wobbles that can be caused by gravitational interactions from other planets to detect new ones. This exoplanet is orbiting a red dwarf star which is much cooler than our class G star. According to the Exoplanet Exploration website, it is about the same mass of Earth. Every 9.9 days the planet orbits its star Ross 128. If these numbers mean nothing to you, the main take away is that this planet has enough similarities to our own that scientist are excited about this discovery.

This planet is not the first discovered planet that can be possibly like ours. The TRAPPIST planets-seven earth sized planets- have been discovered orbiting the same star-TRAPPIST-1. Because of proximity in size, scientist believe that they might have roughly the same climate as our own terrestrial planet. Proxima b is another exoplanet that was found that orbits a red dwarf star. This planet is even closer to us  than the other two. The repetitive use of the lowercase letter b is not the fascinating aspect of these plants. Instead, it is the puzzling question of how far we will go until we find actual evidence of organisms like us.

I’m not talking about the catchy tune off of Moana, but rather the technological advancements needed to actually land on these planets. Who better to ask this question than the teacher who teaches Astronomy? Mr. Willis has taught Astronomy for over 10 years at Riverton High School. He acknowledges the fact that we use telescopes to scope out these planets rather than visiting them. The “presence is detected” by “indirect observation” states Mr. Willis using his knowledge of planet discovery. Hunter Hovatter, a senior at Riverton believes that the technological advancements aren’t enough to reach where we want to go-yet. On the other hand, Xzavier Ojeda is black and white on the subject. He says that there either are organisms like us or not.

Even with these new discoveries surfacing, it doesn’t have a big impact on students, says Mr. Willis. He’s right. It doesn’t necessarily affect us directly but, knowing that we are not alone can be reassuring. Although they are important, the focus is not on the name of the planet. It’s not on the technology either. It is that unexplainable comfort that you get to hear that there are more than 8 billion people in the world and if you haven’t found one that relates to you, done give up yet.

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Ross 128 b