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NASA announces discovery of first Earth sized planets in the universe

  1. Dec 20, 2011 #1
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2011 #2
    Re: NASA announces discovery of first Earth-sized planets in the universe

    Five planets inside the orbit of Mercury. The Galaxy is a weird place.
  4. Dec 20, 2011 #3
    Re: NASA announces discovery of first Earth-sized planets in the universe

    Earth is the only relatively cool one of the four, unfortunately. Cool in the sense of temperature, not in the sense of, "yeah, cool, man!" :)

    I'm very excited about this - not because I didn't think these worlds were out there, but that now we've seen that Kepler has the capability to detect them, so hopefully we should start seeing more such discoveries soon.
  5. Dec 20, 2011 #4


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    Re: NASA announces discovery of first Earth-sized planets in the universe

    So you're saying Earth is cool in temerature, but uncool as in not awesome? :tongue2:

    Maybe I should move to different planet then...
  6. Dec 20, 2011 #5


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    Re: NASA announces discovery of first Earth-sized planets in the universe

    This mainly demonstrates our ability to detect extrasolar earth size planets is still limited to those very close to the host star.
  7. Dec 21, 2011 #6


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    These ‘super-Earths’ are emerging as a new category of planet — and they could be the most numerous of all (see ‘Super-Earths rising’). Their very existence upsets conventional models of planetary formation and, furthermore, most of them are in tight orbits around their host star, precisely where the modellers say they shouldn’t be.

    “It poses a challenge,” says Douglas Lin, a planet-formation modeller and director of the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University in Beijing, China. “You can’t just tweak the parameters. You need to think about the physics.”

    Respectfully submitted,
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  8. Dec 22, 2011 #7
    Why the search for exoplanets when the government denies the existance of aliens and UFOs?

    Also, since we can't get to them, can't communicate with them, or do anything with them, why bother?
  9. Dec 26, 2011 #8
    The government isn't denying the possibility of the existence of alien life in the universe.
    What it denies is that it has secret knowledge of aliens which it keeps from the general public.

    Why do scientists search?

    1. Curiosity
    2. For message transmission focus purposes
    3. For future reference in case travel becomes feasable we know where to aim our ships..
  10. Dec 27, 2011 #9
    Re: NASA announces discovery of first Earth-sized planets in the universe

    Not necessarily; maybe the main obstacle is time. A planet in a larger orbit would need more time to show three transits (Earth would take three years). (Well, two-and-something. :)

    Of course, the REAL obstacle is probably funding -- if given, the next few years of Kepler are going to be awesome. I can't wait.
  11. Dec 27, 2011 #10
    I stand corrected! Earth is the coolest in both senses. :)

    I know one person already talked about this a bit, but I would like to mention that this is exactly the sort of attitude toward science that bothers me. We can't get to the stars either, or other galaxies, so why are we studying them?

    Astronomers are searching for the answers to questions about the nature of our universe. Answering those questions is worthwhile even if there is no short-term benefit. The search for knowledge is one way in which humanity shapes itself and its philosophy (how we perceive the universe in turn affects how we perceive ourselves, and I feel this is worthwhile all by itself in the same way that the arts are).

    I would like to know whether our universe is teeming with planets, or whether systems like our own are relatively rare. Maybe we can't get to one of these planets anytime soon, but that does not mean our descendents won't. The search for Earth-like planets is also the beginning of the search for life in other star systems, and many people would love to know whether or not there were other life forms out there - especially intelligent life forms. If we find a planet that is relatively close, we could send a transmission to it, and wait the appropriate amount of time to see if any transmission is returned. Would it take time? Yes.

    There is no obvious short-term benefit to many scientific endeavors. However, scientific knowledge often has unexpected consequences for innovation. James Burke's Connections series drove that into me when I was a kid. Cutting off some area of research due to a lack of immediate measurable profit is, I believe, short-sighted.

    Kepler is so worthwhile, and I sincerely hope its funding continues for a long time. :)
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011
  12. Dec 31, 2011 #11
    if the only way to detect a planet is to observe the dimming of a star(according to the link) that means we have to be in line with the observed star, now just imagine all of the other planets that are not detected my word there could be a lot more to discover .
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