Saturday, 13 July 2013

Nature: Some Exoplanets Might Not Exist

This bright object in the Fomalhaut system might not be a planet after all. Image courtesy of NRA/NSF/NASA.

Joel Kontinen

The number of exoplanets might be smaller than astronomers and astrobiologists previously thought, research recently published in Nature suggests.

Astronomers had even previously suspected that the bright object in the disc around the star Fomalhaut (HD 216956) was not a planet after all.

Now, Wladimir Lyra, an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and Marc Kuchner, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, suggest that such features are probably not planets at all.

This is not very good news to exoplanet hunters who had assumed that habitable planets are common in the universe.

However, habitable planets seem to be very rare. And, as we know, life only comes from life. As the Book of Genesis says, “In the beginning God created.”


Perkins, Sid. 2013. Proposed exoplanets may be just gas and dust. Nature News (10 July).