It was back in June 2010. The Kepler space telescope discovered over 750 extrasolar-planets culled from data that it had collected in its first 43 days of observations of the cosmos. Marked "candidates" - since then astronomers have gone on to confirm hundreds of planets orbiting alien suns light years beyond our own little solar system. But one planet alone has drawn the most excitement. We name it “Keptoo-toobe”.
The recent discovery by astronomers of an extra-solar planet designated Kepler 22b comes just one year after a treasure trove of stars was unveiled by the space telescope Kepler at NASA.
“This is the biggest release of candidate planets that has ever happened,” said scientist William Borucki at that time.
NASA expected only 50% of these so-called alien candidates to actually turn out to be real planets.
Kepler 22b, almost two and a half times the size of the Earth, has not only been confirmed as a real planet after moving through its third rotation around its parent star, it is also the most interesting, the crown jewel of planet hunting.
”Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet," declared NASA scientist Dr Borucki. "The first transit was captured just three days after we declared the spacecraft operationally ready. We witnessed the defining third transit over the 2010 holiday season.”
But why was this the most ‘phenomenal discovery in the course of human history’ - ever - kept from the world for 18 months?
Did the Vatican have something to do with it?
Will world religions fall?
After all the newly discovered Earth has been around long before God uttered the words that his chosen species would record in a book and pass down through the millenia: 'Let There Be Light.’
So that would have the Church in a right flap, right?
The Kepler team came under fire by others in the science community last year for keeping 400 candidate exoplanets to themselves for later confirmation by other telescopes used by the same team. To confirm a ‘candidate’ three transit observations were required of the target star.
But if this was the ‘defining’ third transit, why was its discovery only mentioned… now?
Could the “2010” third transit be a reporting error? Or could there be another reason why NASA was slow to reveal to the world that this new world had been discovered?
That said, it would be very interesting to see a maths wiz work out the date of the first sighting, and the date of the second, which would give us the exact date of the ‘third event’.
So what has NASA been doing since that date?
NASA was stumped for a new name having tried a number of them - ’Earth Two‘ - nah. ’Vulcan’ - forget it! 'Borucki?' - y’know the way it goes at NASA it's all up in the air…
And that is the reason why we have rushed to name the planet Keptoo-toobe.