NASA’s Tally of Extra-Solar Planets

From time to time we post about the discovery of newly found extra-solar planets. Whenever we do so, we delight in saying that this is bad news for creationists, because they insist that the Earth was created as the only world in existence, in the center of what — to the ancients — seemed to be a rather limited universe, consisting of the Sun and the Moon, with the stars as lights set in a presumably solid firmament rotating around us, just below the glorious realm of Yahweh.

Until very recently they insisted that ours was the only planetary system in existence, so they could still believe that Earth was specially created for us as the focus of divine attention. But in recent years, to their increasing horror, other planetary systems have been discovered, and more are constantly being sighted.

For an example of how creationists think, look at this oldie-goldie from the 1970s from the Institute for Creation Research: The Stars of Heaven. It was written by Henry Morris himself, who said:

[T]he earth is unique in the solar system and, for all we know, the solar system is unique in the universe. So far as we can observe, there are not even any planets anywhere else, let alone a planet equipped to sustain biological life.

Those were the days! But they’re gone now. Those infernal scientists keep doing research!

The last time we wrote about this subject was about six months ago — see NASA Has More Bad News for Creationists — when the total of verified extra-solar planets was over 3,000, of which over 500 are rocky planets like Earth, and more than 20 of those (about 4%) are in their star’s so-called Goldilocks zone, or rather, the Circumstellar habitable zone.

Then, a couple of months ago, they announced the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, which has seven terrestrial planets, three of which are in the Goldilocks zone.

While looking for new information we discovered that NASA is maintaining what appears to be an up-to-date tally of extra-solar planets. You can find it here: Planets Beyond Our Solar System. The current number of confirmed planets is 3,472, of which 359 are terrestrial. However, they don’t specify how many of those terrestrial planets are in their star’s Goldilocks zone. Presumably, it’s not that many — but even a few is too many for creationists.

Anyway, now that we’ve found NASA’s link for this information, we have a handy way to drive creationists crazy. Well, many of them are already crazy, but if you feel like engaging them in some kind of dialog, now you have a source of the latest data.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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3 responses to “NASA’s Tally of Extra-Solar Planets

  1. Our Curmudgeon provides a cool NASA resource–but then proposes

    if you feel like engaging them [Creationists] in some kind of dialog, now you have a source of the latest data.

    Creationists don’t do ‘dialog’, they witness. And data is an utterly alien concept to them.

  2. Actually, most creationists don’t worry about the existence of terrestrial planets, as astronomers define that term. They can always claim that, well, no life-bearing worlds other than Earth exist; or if they do, then they don’t have any intelligent life; or if any of them do, then they were created by You-Know-Who, life and all, at the same time the rest of the universe, including Earth, was.

  3. Ross Cameron

    When creos come out with the denial of life elsewhere, hit them with the old Hambo thunderbolt ‘Were you there’? At least we have the scientific possibility of the planets being habitable. They have book of fairy-tales.