Yesterday, NASA announced a new discovery and expanded our knowledge of the Universe! Could there be Aliens? Well… maybe? According to scientists, atmospheric studies still have to be done before determining if the new discovery is capable of supporting living organisms and that will take years. No actual extraterrestrial life or aliens have been confirmed. So, Science Fiction (and its many fans) will not have to change to the nonfiction section…yet. All science fiction implications aside, the science facts of the new discovery are still really exciting.
A new solar system has been discovered with seven planets orbiting their star (named TRAPPIST-1). They are our new-found neighbors, about the size of earth, 235 Trillion Miles away. In Ophthalmology, we measure vision based on how you see 20 feet in the distance. How did NASA see 235 Trillion Miles in the distance from earth? You may be surprised that the same branch of physics, optics, applies to both! Which highly advanced optics tool has such awesome vision?
Today’s Google Doodle contains the answer! It features earth viewing through a telescope to see the new found planets. While this is a fun artistic styling of the true science behind the discovery, it shares a common bond with the real science. The Spitzer Space Telescope gets the credit for the images of the new solar system. Refracting telescopes use lenses to bend light and make images appear closer than they really are. The lenses you wear to see well, whether glasses, contact lenses, implants or inlays have a common bond with NASA’s most advanced technologies!