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Strange New Worlds by Ray Jayawardhana

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Chapter 1

Quest for other worlds

The Exciting Times We Live In

We are living in an extraordinary age of discovery. After millennia of musings and a century of false claims, astronomers have finally found definitive evidence of planets around stars other than the Sun. A mere twenty years ago, we knew of only one planetary system for sure—ours. Today we know of hundreds of others. What’s more, thanks to a suite of remarkable new instruments, we have peered into planetary birth sites and captured the first pictures of newborns. We have taken the temperature of extrasolar giant planets and espied water in their atmospheres. Numerous “super-Earths” have been found already, and a true Earth twin might be revealed soon. It is still the early days of ...

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