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Astronomer Employs API Console In Search for A Second Earth

API is helping make science history! The Science Channel's "How the Universe Works" featured an API 3224, owned by Ben Folds, in their 9th episode this season. The Search for a Second Earth features astronomer Keivan Stassum, who explained how, when identifying potential Earth-like planets, it is difficult to determine their size from light data alone. Stassun then ventured to Ben's Studio in Nashville to demonstrate how sound data makes identifying planetary size infinitely easier. "We are identifying the area of the planet relative to the area of the sun—it's a ratio", and that ratio is difficult to see when suns and planets are at varying distances away from the telescopes that find them. The frequencies at which the suns give off light, however, easily identify them as anything between a red giant and a dwarf star, making the planets relative size immediately apparent. Stassun ran the light data through the API console to show the difference between the "deafening hiss" of a red giant and the much lower frequency hum of a dwarf star.

Thank you to Scott Kinzie in Nashville, TN, who noticed our console while watching "How the Universe Works."