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One of Ten Billion EarthsHow we Learn about our Planet's Past and Future from Distant Exoplanets$
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Karel Schrijver

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799894

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198799894.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

From One to Astronomical

From One to Astronomical

(p.1) 1 From One to Astronomical
One of Ten Billion Earths

Karel Schrijver

Oxford University Press

Where centuries ago one could be burned at the stake for speculating about distant worlds, the modern scientific method has made us realize that there are planetary systems around most of the over a hundred billion stars in the Galaxy. Learning that the Earth was not the center of the Solar System represented a true revolution in our thinking, but the recent insight that the Solar System is but one of an immense number of similar systems was smoothly adopted by our culture, which had already been exposed to many fictional worlds over the preceding dedades. This introductory chapter describes these changes, woven into the story of how astrophysics has grown from the work of a few isolated individuals into a globe-spanning, fast-publishing enterprise with state-of-the-art observatories, from master–pupil teaching to university-based education, and from learning from often ancient books to modern observation-based investigations.

Keywords:   introduction, renaissance, laws of physics, exoplanet discovery, scientific method, Solar System timeline, habitability, Goldilocks zone

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