I’m usually pretty good with big sciency words but spectropolarimetry took a little extra effort to get a handle on.  Luckily I was able to read up on what the world meant and how its used as I let my subconscious put the word together for me.

120302210234Spectropolarimetry essentially allows for the analyzing of light reflecting off a planet to determine whether life might be present on said planet.  Astronomers used this technique to analyze the light from our sun reflecting off Earth and back off the moon to see if they could determine signs of life.  Well they were able to.  They could tell that Earth has a cloudy atmosphere, is covered in oceans, and has vegetation… all from reflected light!

Astronomers now have a novel and incredibly accurate tool to determine whether an exoplanet harbors organic life, or at least has a high probability of doing so.  As someone who is eager to see evidence of any life, be it animal, plant, intelligent, or just like us here on Earth, this is an amazingly intriguing new advancement.  With yet more potential exoplanets being discovered all the time, and the recent discovery of atmospheric oxygen on a planetary body within our own solar system, the chances of finding evidence of the obvious (come on, you know we’re not all there is in the universe) continue to increase dramatically every day.
Image Source: [universetoday]