“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
I am often drawn toward accounts of supposedly Earth-like planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. This is because the popular science websites are replete with accounts of such worlds. So the latest such article, as I write, concerned the discovery of an Earth-size planet known as Kepler-1649c, orbiting a red dwarf star. Although the discovery was made just recently, the data used for the discovery was not new – in fact, it came from the Kepler space telescope, which NASA had actually retired two years previously.
When first confronted with such an article, we can imagine that there was a photograph of the planet, previously overlooked. But there is no photograph of Kepler-1649c because that is not how these discoveries work. The planet cannot actually be seen, but its existence, size, and orbital radius and period are estimated from quantities of numbers which represent the tiny light intensities measured when the telescope was pointing at this particular red dwarf. This is not to deny the existence of this planet; the inferences drawn are sound, but the image accompanying this Creation Moment on our website is an artist’s impression.
This newly discovered planet is thought to be a similar size to the Earth and to be receiving a similar amount of light. Evolutionary scientists are very anxious to assume the existence of evolved life on such worlds. Those of us with a biblical worldview will, in contrast, rejoice at the extent of God’s creativity, which reveals His Glory.
Prayer: Lord, as we discover more of Your universe, we pray that You will enable us to declare Your righteousness and goodness to all we meet, along with the Good News of the salvation which You offer. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Earth-size, habitable-zone planet found hidden in early NASA Kepler data: While the star it orbits is much smaller than our Sun, it gets about 75 percent of the sunlight Earth does.” ScienceDaily, 16 April 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200416105650.htm>. Image: Shutterstock image, licensed to author.
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