Saturday, 31 December 2011

Astronomer in Nature: Exoplanets Are Weird

Gliese 581 c was touted as the first habitable Earth-like exoplanet. Image courtesy of ESO.

Joel Kontinen

In recent years, habitable exoplanets have often made headlines around the world. However, a closer examination has usually shown that the hype has been premature.

Recently, astronomer Chris Tinney reviewed Ray Jayawardhana’s book Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System (Princeton University Press, 2011) in the journal Nature and concluded that exoplanets are weird.

Professor Tinney says that planetary systems that resemble our solar system and Earth-like planets are rare. Huge gas planets orbit their sun where according to naturalistic models they should not be. Nevertheless, Tinney believes that one day the first Earth-like habitable exoplanet will be found.

The search for extraterrestrial life is based on the belief that life can originate spontaneously in favourable circumstances. However, in reality life only comes from life and design requires a designer.


Tinney, Chris. 2011. Finding other worlds. Nature 472 (7341): 36.