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Astronomers find 32 new planets

From Mercury to Pluto and beyond. . .

Postby blackvault » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:26 am

Astronomers find 32 new planets

Astronomers have discovered 32 new planets outside our solar system, some of them only a few times larger than Earth.

The relatively small size increases the odds that these so-called exoplanets could have conditions similar to the ones that gave rise to life on Earth.

Scientists made the finds using the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS, attached to the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla, Chile.

The findings, presented at a conference in Porto, Portugal, raises the number of known so-called exoplanets to more than 400.

Most are giant balls of toxic gas similar to Jupiter, and would have no chance of sustaining life. But 28 are so-called "super-Earths" with masses up to 20 times the size of Earth, and are thus probably rocky planets.

Whether any are home to life forms would depend in part where they orbit in relation to their stars.

Earth sits in a so-called "Goldilocks zone" where the temperature is neither too hot for our atmosphere to be stripped away, nor too cold for our seas to freeze - but just right to have liquid water, essential to life as we know it

"We have now completed our initial five-year programme, which has succeeded well beyond our expectations," Stephane Udry, a researcher at the University of Geneva, which was behind the research, said in a statement.

No Earth-like planets were identified in the most recently-discovered group, he said.

As with the previously detected super-Earths, most of the new low-mass candidates reside in multi-planet systems, with up to five planets per system.

Distant planets, even big ones, are too small to be directly observed, and can only be detected by measuring their impact on the movement of the stars they orbit.

The first exoplanet discovered -- 51 Pegasi b -- was found in 1995, and the first super-Earth came to light in 2004.

Gliese 581e, the lightest exoplanet so far detected around a normal star, was spotted earlier this year. Planets are formed from a disc of gas and dusty debris left over from the creation of a star. Just how long this process takes is still a matter of debate.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/spac ... anets.html
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Postby chiselray » Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:21 am

good read john...nothing to add other than its always great news when new forms are found...

Closer to home now, the origin of the moon is one that fascinates me,the theories and its importance to our development ,just understanding how integral its location is makes you shiver..
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Postby BloodStone » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:27 am

Nice find...



Amazing how much stuff is really out there. We have barely scratched the surface.









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Postby MonarchSmile » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:29 pm

[quote="BloodStone"]Nice find...



Amazing how much stuff is really out there. We have barely scratched the surface.

What's really nice is the technology behind the new discoveries...
I don't think it's based on the gravitational effects displayed(Wobbles of the star).
The real story is in the imaging systems that are being used,now :!:
:D
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Postby greeney2 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:39 pm

So what did they finally decide about Pluto? Is Pluto now in the Planet hall of shame as nothing but a big hunk of ice, or is it still our 9th planet? Lets give Pluto a break and let him be a planet until we can get there and ruin it somehow. :lol: Did they actually demote poor ol Pluto a few years ago?
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Postby chiselray » Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:37 am

just what i was thinking...if we got there we would ruin that place as well...
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Postby greeney2 » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:24 pm

We already defaced the moon and left junk on the ground. Expensive junk but still garbage.
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