”I want to find another Earth. That’s what I am living for” says the planet hunter


Sara Seager, MIT astrophysicist has been looking for planets outside the solar system. She says she wants to find another Earth. Planets beyond the solar system are called exoplanets and Seager is found searching for exoplanets for almost 20 years.

When Seager was a graduate at Harvard searching for a topic for her Ph.D., she was fascinated by the idea of newborn field of faraway planets.

During 1990s the first ones were explored but it was found questioned by many. Also, nobody thought it was real, but with the help of better technology, today we can see more than 6,000 of them. They are mostly giant balls of gas. The list is found growing every week.

As the list is increasing, Seager wants to distinguish and identify one that resembles Earth; a world with liquid water and where life is possible. She believed in herself in making that discovery.

Exoplanets are however not easy to see even through a telescope. This is because of the blinding light that comes from their host stars, which are of various sizes and features as compared to our sun.

When the first ones were discovered, they were discovered indirectly in response to the pull of another object’s gravity. They would wobble slightly. But the wobble can also be caused by another star and this is the same reason for having several planet discoveries retracted.

Now, a different technique has been found in order to make the search easier which is called transit. Transit is when a planet moves in front of its host star and makes the star’s light to dim slightly.

It was found exoplanets were real when transit was shown from one of the planets from the wobble technique.