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Author Topic: New astronomy technique
Babbler # 560

posted 08 January 2003 11:49 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now that I've read this, it looks pretty interesting, so I thought I'd post it.

New technique helps detect distant, Hades-like planet

SEATTLE, WASH. - A new space-search technique has allowed astronomers to discover a far-off planet with an atmosphere hot enough to vapourize most metals.

A team from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered the planet orbiting a star 5,000 light-years away. (A light-year is about 10 trillion kilometres, the distance light travels in a year.)

The researchers used a new technique, called a transit search, to find the planet. They were able to detect a slight dimming as the planet blocked the star's light.

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1885

posted 08 January 2003 11:56 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"It's not a very pleasant place to be," said Sasselov. "It's a very exotic place but being so close to its star, the temperature in its atmosphere can be as high as 2,000 degrees."

That's hot enough to have iron fog and showers of molten iron, he said.

Sounds like Toronto in the summertime.

But seriously, neat artcle. I'm gonna have to do some reading tonight...I had no idea astronomers had catalogued 100 planets around other stars. I'd guess they're all pretty massive, if they were all detected using this technique or by measuring wobble.

From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
T. Paine
Babbler # 2018

posted 08 January 2003 10:05 PM      Profile for T. Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One of those inexplicable gas giants in an orbit approximating our mercury has recently been de-listed, due to a error being discovered in the original work.

When the 'wobble' technique was first used, it uncovered a lot of really counter intuitive stuff in regards to solar system formations.

We expected to see solar systems like ours, with dense rocky planets close to the star, and less dense gas giants further out. It's the way our solar system is arranged, and it squares with physics.

But, we started seeing these gas giants orbiting in places where they shouldn't be, according to our previous best guesses.

I've always thought this was more a reflection of the technique being new, and our methodology being suspect. Either it's error prone, or maybe because this technique might only be able to detect anomolous solar systems.

I haven't read a lot on this lately, but it seems to me as our methods get better refined, we're starting to detect solar systems that fit our best guess model.

But it's really too early to tell one way or another if we live in a typical or atypical solar system.

As good a place as any to mention that according to "Sky and Telescope", Venus and Mars are close together in the morning sky right now and should be a nice sight.

I can't say from my own experience. It's been too durned cloudy that last while. I was just out though, and Orion and Canis Major are polished under a clear cold sky. A good time to aquaint your kids with these constelations and their constituent stars.

[ January 08, 2003: Message edited by: T. Paine ]

From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged

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