What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Alien Solar System Is a Lot Like Ours, Say Astronomers

August 1, 2012, 11:30 AM

What's the Latest Development?

Examining data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, astronomers have found that an alien planetary system bears many similarities to our own, confirming parts of planet formation theory which suggest that most planetary systems begin in similar fashion. "Researchers studying the star system Kepler-30, which is 10,000 light-years from Earth, found that its three known worlds all orbit in the same plane, lined up with the rotation of the star—just like the planets in our own solar system do." The planetary system consists of three known extrasolar planets circling a sunlike star, all of which are much larger than Earth. 

What's the Big Idea?

Since its launch in March 2009, the Kepler space telescope has located more than 2,300 potential alien worlds, 700 of which have been confirmed as genuine planets. "Kepler uses the 'transit method,' noting the telltale brightness dips caused when a planet crosses, or transits, a star's face from the telescope's perspective. In the new study, the scientists studied Kepler observations of the extrasolar system even more closely." While we once believed our position in the cosmos was privileged, it is becoming clearer than our solar system, sun and planet may be rather ordinary. Astronomers have identified between five and ten alien planetary systems where they can further test their theories. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



Alien Solar System Is a Lot...

Newsletter: Share: