Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is another image of planets orbiting another star, this time taken with infrared radiation:
These three planets are orbiting the star HR 8799.
NASA has an ambitious plan to search for Earth-sized, or even Earth-like planets. The hope is to be able to directly image Earth-sized planets (the above image shows Jupiter-sized worlds) and to be able to analyze the light reflected from these bodies. This should tell us if the atmospheres of these Earth-sized planets contain oxygen, water, and ozone, which would indicate the existence of photosynthesis.
“Such a discovery would at last provide convincing evidence that we are not alone.”
Only if one considers the bacterial slime to be enough to say “we are not alone.”
NASA/JPL site: Planet Quest Overview
Grace and Peace