Research reveals that the discovery of exoplanets has influenced science fiction, leading to more accurate and varied portrayals of these celestial bodies, highlighting the genre’s role in science communication.

An astronomy lesson on binary stars could begin with a series of complex diagrams and data, or with a clip from the movie Star Wars where Luke Skywalker looks up at the sky of his home planet, Tatooine, and sees two suns shining. Which will more easily awaken the interest of a sleepy high school class?

Science fiction has always captured our attention, and as many scientists claim, it has often been a source of inspiration for their scientific careers. For this reason, it is sometimes used to communicate science to the public, even conveying complex content. To be sure that this is an effective method, it is necessary to understand how actual science is represented by science fiction.

This is what a new paper published in the Journal of Science Communication — JCOM has done, using a quantitative methodology capable of analyzing a large corpus of science fiction works (specifically addressing exoplanets), showing that significant changes in scientific knowledge correspond to changes in science fiction literature as well.

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