Posted tagged ‘Exoplanets’

Backwards Orbiting Planets Discovered

April 14, 2010
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Several new exoplanets have been discovered that orbit backwards, that is, their rotation is opposite of that of their hosting star.  This is opposite of what is found in our own solar system.  But, when scientists looked back at older data, they found that this behavior is not unusual.  Out of a larger 27 planet sample, 6 were found to exhibit this behavior also.  These discoveries made lead to a revision of theories of planetary formation.

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Astronomers Use Kepler to Find Five New Exoplanets

January 5, 2010

Artist's conception of the Kepler Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA

Scientists with the Kepler Space Telescope announced the discovery of 5 new exoplanets found using Kepler.  The five planets, named Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b, and 8b, are considered to be “hot Jupiters”.  They have about the same mass as Jupiter and orbit very close to their respective stars.  All of the planets are very hot with temperatures ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Earth-like Planet Discovered

December 18, 2009
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Astronomers have discovered a nearby giant Earth-like planet.  The planet, known as GJ 1214b, is six and half times as large as Earth.  Planets this large, with a mass roughly between five and 10 times Earth’s, are known as superEarths.  Located 40 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus, the planet is close enough for study.  Astronomers believe that GJ 1214b is likely made mostly of water and is likely much hotter than Earth.

Rocky, Earth-like Exoplanet Found

September 30, 2009
Artist's illustration of CoRoT-7b.  Illustration Credit: ESO/L. Calcada

Artist's illustration of CoRoT-7b. Illustration Credit: ESO/L. Calcada

The discovery of the first exoplanet with a density similar to that of Earth was recently announced.  While CoRoT-7b has a rocky surface similar to Earth, it is otherwise dissimilar.   The planet has an orbit that is very close to its sun — about 1.6 million miles.  Being this close, CoRoT-7b’s surface temperatures are scorching, with highs on the side facing its sun above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Also, the planet is probably tidally locked due to its close location to its sun.  This means that one side always facing its sun and the other side always in darkness.  For more information, see ScienceNews.

Science Cafe Tomorrow

May 11, 2009

A Year of Science 2009 Event

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This month’s Science Cafe speaker is Dr. Paul Adams, Fort Hays State University.  Dr. Adams will discuss ”Exoplanet Discovery.”   The Science Cafe is at 7pm on Tuesday, May 12th, at Cafe Semolino in Hays, KS (110 West 11th Street).

Science Cafe, May 12th

May 6, 2009

A Year of Science 2009 Event

yos2

This month’s Science Cafe speaker is Dr. Paul Adams, Fort Hays State University.  Dr. Adams will discuss ”Exoplanet Discovery.”   The Science Cafe is at 7pm on Tuesday, May 12th, at Cafe Semolino in Hays, KS (110 West 11th Street).