Thursday, December 22, 2011

“Open Your Eyes, Look Up to the Sky and See…” / Otvori oči i pogledaj gore…

            Planets orbit many of the stars we see in the night sky. The big question is could one of them be like our own?
            Scientists believe they’ve found one that once was. It’s orbiting a star one thousand light years away and this is the first discovered planet that’s almost exactly the same size as our Earth.
            It is too hot to support life now, but millions of years ago it was further from its sun and so temperatures were much lower. It may have had oceans of water and perhaps it was suitable for life.
            Researchers have also discovered a second planet around the star which is slightly smaller than the Earth. But it’s also too hot to support life.
            The two Earth-like planets are believed to be rocky. Kepler-20e is a bit smaller than Venus. However, Kepler-20f is slightly larger than Earth. The Earth-size plants are part of a five-planet system named Kepler-20. Kepler-20 is in the constellation Lyra.
            Kepler-20 system has a strange arrangement. In our solar system, rocky planets circle close to the sun, while large, gaseous planets circle farther out. In the Kepler-20 system, the planets are positioned in alternating size. Scientists are not sure why the Kepler-20 system is arranged the way it is, but they do not believe that the planets originated in their current locations. They believe that the planets were in a greater distance from the sun-like star than they are now and eventually moved closer.
            The discoveries were made with NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Astronomers utilized a computer program called Blender to confirm the discovery of the Earth-size planets, Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f. Back on December 5th, the Kepler team announced the discovery of Kepler-22b.
            Up until now the researchers have only found planets that are much larger than the Earth. Scientists believe that planets similar in size to ours are more likely to support life. Finding planets with just the right size and just the right temperature seems only a matter of time now.
            They also believe they’ll find some form of life. It may not be intelligent, but it’s out there. 


            Kad pogledamo u nebo, vidimo bezbroj svetlećih tačkica koje predstavljaju zvezde udaljene milionima svetlosnih godina od nas. Oko tih zvezda kruže još brojnije planete. Da li bi neka od tih planeta mogla da bude poput naše, pitanje je koje postavljamo svi - i naučnici i laici.
            Nedavno otkriće planete koja je gotovo iste veličine kao Zemlja, od velikog je značaja. Prvo, to je praktični dokaz da takve planete postoje, a potom, to je i dokaz da konačno imamo tehnologiju koja može da ih detektuje. Novootkrivena planeta nije nastanjiva, temperature su suviše visoke za život, ali se pretpostavlja da je nekada bila poput naše. Možda je imala i vodu, okeane i bila pogodna za život.
            Istraživači su otkrili još jednu planetu koja kruži oko istog sunca, ali je nešto manja od Zemlje. Ona je takođe, zbog visokih temperatura, nepovoljna za život.
            Pretpostavlja se da su obe planete pretežno stenovite. Kepler-20e je malo manja od Venere, a Kepler-20f je malo veća od Zemlje. Obe planete su deo sistema koji se sastoji od pet planeta i zove se Kepler-20. Nalazi se u sazvežđu Lira.
            Raspored planeta u Kepleru-20 je neobičan. U našem solarnom sistemu stenovite planete kruže bliže Suncu, dok su gasovite udaljenije od njega. U Kepler-20 sistemu planete su pozicionirane naizmenično. Naučnici još ne znaju tačno zašto je to tako, ali veruju da njihov položaj nije uvek bio ovakav. Pretpostavlja se da su planete bile na većoj udaljenosti od svoje zvezde i da su se vremenom pomerale sve bliže.
            Za ova otkrića zaslužan je NASIN svemirski teleskop Kepler. Astronomi su koristili i kompjuterski program koji se zove Blender, za potvrdu otkrića planeta Kepler-20e i Kepler-20f. Nešto ranije, 5. decembra ove godine Kepler je otkrio i Kepler-22b.
            Sve do sada naučnici su uspevali da detektuju samo planete koje su bile znatno veće od Zemlje. Pronalazak ovakvih planeta, veličinom sličnih Zemlji, značajno je zato što se smatra da postoji veća verovatnoća da takve planete mogu da budu pogodne za život. Sada se čini da je samo pitanje vremena kada će se pronaći planeta koja odgovara i po veličini i po temperaturi.
            Veruje se da je na takvim planetama moguće i otkriće nekog oblika života. 

Sources/Izvori: BBC, NASA, YouTube animation clips

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