To see planets like ours, we need to get past the glare of alien suns.
One of the most exciting frontiers in astronomy right now is the discovery of other terrestrial planets like Earth that could harbor life. We know there are billions of such planets out there, many within our own galaxy, but until now they’ve been extraordinarily hard to see.
That’s because most terrestrial planets are located very near to the stars they orbit. Those stars create a glare that makes it almost impossible to see what’s around them. Until now, we’ve used telescopes that attempt to block out the star’s light to make planets visible, which works pretty well, except that the refracted light still ends up reflecting back into the image. But new advancements in telescope technology mean that soon this will not be as much of a problem, and many possible life-sustaining planets will be visible for the first time. Find out more about advancements in telescope technology in this episode of PBS Space Time.
Source: PBS Space Time