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Lure of the Golden Hoax – The Science

Signficant research went into writing ‘Lure of the Golden Hoax’ and much of the book uses real scientific information. On this page (below) you will find links and descriptions for a variety of scientific sites, many with extraordinary space imagery and authorative information.

The answer to the Facebook question – ‘Do Oceans Exist on Alien Planets?’

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Planets with Oceans?

Here is what NASA say: (NASA Announcement April 8, 2015) –
‘The Solar System and Beyond is Awash in Water’

..The chemical elements in water, hydrogen and oxygen, are some of the most abundant elements in the universe. Astronomers see the signature of water in giant molecular clouds between the stars, in disks of material that represent newborn planetary systems, and in the atmospheres of giant planets orbiting other stars.
..With the study of exoplanets — planets that orbit other stars — we are closer than ever to finding out if other water-rich worlds like ours exist. …Recently verifying its thousandth exoplanet, Kepler data confirm that the most common planet sizes are worlds just slightly larger than Earth. Astronomers think many of those worlds could be entirely covered by deep oceans.


So oceans, in all likelihood, do exist on alien planets (i.e. beyond our solar system). So what is the evidence of extra-terrestial water? Well, closer to home we do know water, in the form of ice, occurs in many parts of our solar system. There are entire asteroids, comets, moons and even dwarf planets composed largely of water-ice. Some are suspected of having liquid water oceans beneath their surface water ice (Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus, which has over 100 water vapour geysers). It is even theorised that Earth gained its oceans from collisions with icy asteroids! So water is certainly found in our solar system.

Can scientists detect water on alien planets (exoplanets)?

Yes, for example planet Gliese 1214b, which is only 42 light years from Earth, has provided evidence of a watery atmosphere. Of course, this is not the same as landing on the planet and going for a swim, but it’s pretty good for a species that so far has not managed to travel beyond the Moon!

How many ‘alien’ planets (or ‘exoplanets’) are there?

Exoplanet.EU, a French-based organisation of research astronomers from the Paris Observatory (and other European institutions), reports that as of November 2017, 3696 exoplanets have been discovered, in 2771 planetary systems, of which 620 have multiple planet systems. Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, using the data obtained from the NASA Kepler spacecraft, now extrapolate that virtually all sun-like stars have planets. They estimate 17% of all stars have Earth-sized planets. Across our galaxy, this is of course a very large number, tens of billions of Earth-sized planets! And a small proportion of these Earth-sized planets (still hundreds of millions) are rocky, have an atmosphere and are in the ‘habitable zone’ (where water might be liquid).

How close is the nearest alien Planet?

Almost 30 years ago, there was scientific excitement when the first planet was formally discovered orbiting an alien star. Research around the world soon identified many more. In 2009, NASA launched the Kepler Spacecraft Mission for the purpose of finding smaller Earth-like planets in our neighbourhood of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Kepler spacecraft continually monitors over 100,000 stars, and has confirmed over 3,500 planets. One planetary system, TRAPPIST-1, is only 40 light years form Earth and has been observed to have 7 planets. Indeed, the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri at 4.25 light years away, has at least one planet (Proxima b) in the habitable zone (where water might be liquid).

Where can I find out more information?

Check out these important websites – many with extraordinary imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope and other major Telescopes:

Easy to Access Image Websites

This site provides over 6700 astronomical images from some of the largest
and most important telescopes in the world. Images can be browsed, or
searched by subject, telescope or type. All images are annotated.


Or try this NASA link for a full list of 22 years of ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’:


NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) archives include two decades
of many of the most important and/or interesting astronomical images
available, each with a simple but informative paragraph explanation. A
free App is available for tablets for this website and provides excellent

Easy to Watch Web Videos

Try searching any of the following subjects: planets, stars + brightest, stars +
biggest, galaxies, black holes, Hubble telescope, NASA, string theory,
Hawking, Susskind, Large Hadron Collider, Higgs Boson, and so on. There
are many exciting and informative videos freely available – look especially
for material prepared by reputable scientists from higher education and
scientific institutions.

Astronomy – Scientific Websites

The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System – This site is hosted by the High
Energy Astrophysics Division at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for
Astrophysics. This is a Digital Library portal containing more than 11.2
million records for researchers in Astronomy and Physics, operated by the
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a NASA grant.
This site also contains links to other NASA websites, such as the Chandra XRay
Observatory, Infrared Science Archive (IRSA), NASA/IPAC
Extragalactic Database (NED), Planetary Data System (PDS), and the
Spitzer infrared telescope site.


This site lists existing exoplanet discoveries by date (name, location, mass etc.) and discovery methodology.
As of November 2017 they report there are 3696 exoplanets discovered, in 2771 planetary systems of which 620 have multiple planet systems.
Compiled by a group of research astronomers based around, but involving others, the prestigous scientific Paris Observatory.

[You might also try searching yourself for topics such as: planets, exoplanets, stars + brightest, stars + biggest, galaxies, black holes, Hubble Space Telescope, NASA, string theory, Large Hadron Collider, Higgs Boson, Hawking, Susskind, Cassini, Juno and so on. But as always be careful on the web - look for authorative sources, real scientists, and respected institutions.]

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