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SUPER EARTH Discovered Through Small Telescope!!!

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posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 05:28 PM
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I found this really cool article which talks about the discovery of a similar planet to Earth, but it's called a "Super Earth"

Tiny space telescope reveals 'super-Earth'


www.vancouversun.com...
Posted: April 29, 2011



Canada's tiny space telescope has unmasked a "super-Earth" that has an international team of astronomers, including University of B.C.'s Jaymie Matthews, buzzing.

The planet, named 55 Cancri e, is the densest solid planet known and whips around its star in just 18 hours, according to the team that released its findings Thursday.

"You could set dates on this world by your wrist watch," said Matthews.

Not that there is much chance of life on the planet, he said, noting that the surface temperature is believed to be close to 2,700 C. Despite the inferno, the astronomers say the planet may retain an atmosphere because of its strong gravity.

"It's so exotic, it's like the poster child for rocky super-Earths," Matthews added.

It is also so close to Earth -its home star is visible to the naked eye -that the scientists say 55 Cancri e is a "unique laboratory to investigate the story of how planets form and evolve."

The team used Canada's bargain-basement space telescope to "stake out" the exoplanet and determine its orbit, mass and size. The suitcase-sized telescope, called MOST for Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars, was launched by the Canadian Space Agency in 2003 to study 10 stars. The mission was expected to last a year.

Almost eight years later, MOST is still going strong and has observed more than 2,000 stars, says Matthews, mission scientist for MOST.

"We've had a big bang for the buck," said Matthews, who has taken to calling the $10-million MOST "the Zellers of space telescopes."

Planet hunters have now spotted more than 500 exoplanets but Matthews and his colleagues said 55 Cancri e stands out because it is so dense and so close to Earth.

55 Cancri e is part of a planetary system that includes four planets that have been studied by U.S. scientists since 1997 using a technique that measures "wobbles" in stars caused by the gravitational pull of its unseen planets.

Last year Rebekah Dawson, a PhD student at Harvard University, and Daniel Fabrycky, at University of California at Santa Cruz, proposed that the orbit of 55 Cancri e could be measured, not in days as had been assumed, but in hours.

They teamed up with astronomers at MIT, Harvard and UBC to take a closer look and put the planet's home star under surveillance using MOST, which monitored it continuously for two weeks in February.

The space telescope detected subtle dips in the star's brightness, as the planet passed in front of it during each orbit.

"These 'transits' occur like clockwork every 17 hours and 41 minutes," the team reports.

The data collected by MOST indicates the planet's diameter is only 60-per-cent larger than Earth's, but eight times more massive.

"In fact, 55 Cancri e is the densest solid planet known, anywhere," says the teams.

The team says the planet is too small to be visible, even through a telescope, but its host star, 55 Cancri A, can be observed with the naked eye for the next two months on clear nights.


I wonder what the implications of these findings will be? Whether to continue to fund SETI or privitization of exploration shuttles. The ideas are limitless!




posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 05:35 PM
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These threads get me all excited... WOW a super earth!!!!.... until i read:


noting that the surface temperature is believed to be close to 2,700 C. Despite the inferno, the astronomers say the planet may retain an atmosphere because of its strong gravity.


Then its like waking up in the morning and realising your in bed with grandma.

Interesting read though



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 05:45 PM
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"Not that there is much chance of life on the planet, he said, noting that the surface temperature is believed to be close to 2,700 C."

How is this a 'Super Earth'?

I think these people are using the term too loosely. IMO

Also, the other note of being able to set it's orbit by your watch? How is this relevant? The 24 hour cycle is only relevant to us because of our orbit.

I do respect their finding and their enthusiasm but I think they are jumping the gun on this one.

Nice Find tho! S & F



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 05:58 PM
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reply to post by Skywatcher2011
 


Well one thing is certain. If there is in fact life on the 2700 degree C planet, they would clearly need a warm jacket if in fact they were to pay us a visit. If the planet were inhabited by women, you know they would all be pretty dang hot


Cool find! The name "Super Earth" kind of threw me off though.



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 08:20 PM
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Yeah, I agree that the temperature on the planet also kind of threw me for a loop too. But, that is only speculation of its heat there. If the planet has its own atmosphere, that is a probable sign that there could potentially (one day) inhabit life.

For example, our plant once was a giant molten rock with scorching heat. In theory, our planet evolved an atmosphere and hence the foundations and conditions for life emerged. Though there are many theories of how life started (aliens, god, science, etc...), one thing is for sure...life most likely exists on other planets, the question is, how does life originate.

If a planet having its own atmosphere is a pre-condition for life, then, in time, this new planet can eventually be a "Super Earth" planet



posted on Apr, 29 2011 @ 08:30 PM
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Who names these things?
Super Earth,..Really? That' like calling a Lamborghini Diablo a "Super Donut shop", it makes no sense.
Im getting real tired of this galactic tease science is foisting on us. Lets make it simple, a Super earth, is a planet that has a breathable atmosphere by whatever life lives on it, and certianly CAN harbor life with no "catches", the only difference being size.

Using the logic of these scientists, mercury is a Midget earth, Venus is an Earth clone, and Mar is a Red Headed step child.



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 01:35 AM
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Super-Earths are terrestrial (rocky, solid) planets usually from 2 to 10 times the mass of Earth. The term has nothing to do with earth-like features other than being a non gas giant, the planets that had dominated all previous discoveries until not too long ago.

A few of you would do well for yourself to do a little research before getting all worked up over a term that's been in existence since ~1992.

Not a very interesting discovery on its' own, and extremely unlikely to propel any sort of funding towards anything. If it turns out to be the densest solid planet we know about so far then that will be interesting to those who are concerned with planetary formation, other than that not much.
edit on 30-4-2011 by Stuffed because: (no reason given)


Edit: Ah okay here we go found the confirmed page, it was named differently /facepalm. exoplanet.eu....
edit on 30-4-2011 by Stuffed because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 01:37 AM
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AHH I KNEW IT!

AVATAR IS REAL~



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 04:30 AM
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Originally posted by jude11

How is this a 'Super Earth'?



super ******* hot earth
thats about it



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 04:34 AM
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any chance we find any of these?




posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 04:36 AM
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People, you need to read up on exoplanet research. "Super-Earth" is a category of extrasolar planets. They didn't name the planet itself that. And to those of you who said it's a misnomer, I agree, but for the mere reason that it's rocky, it's classified that way.



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 04:46 AM
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reply to post by Terrorist
[m

I don't think anyone is debating the fact is is an actual scientific term, at least Im not.
It is just a really stupid term, and one in which I feel scientists are trying to be cute,....Well it's not cute.



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 05:14 AM
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Yes, very cool!


If you know where the constellation of Cancer is..
You can locate this star.

But I have located it in Stellarium for anyone who wants to know exactly where to look..
[The "target" next to my cursor/first pic]



Thanks for the post!
Good one!



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by Ahmose
 


Thanks for your post! I tried to check it out in the middle of the night outdoors, but I don't know if it is visible to the naked eye. Have you been able to try and view it yet (if possible)?



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 02:21 PM
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Originally posted by Itop1
These threads get me all excited... WOW a super earth!!!!.... until i read:


noting that the surface temperature is believed to be close to 2,700 C. Despite the inferno, the astronomers say the planet may retain an atmosphere because of its strong gravity.


Then its like waking up in the morning and realising your in bed with grandma.

Interesting read though


And its probably not even true, most of their ideas are whacked anyway.



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 02:52 PM
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reply to post by Unity_99
 


Scientists are in the business to develop theories to be able to raise funds for their research projects. Moreover the technology they use isn't really NASA or military-like, so considering what they have to use to research their findings are estimates of what is expected to be observed on that planet (based on light waves and other variables).



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 03:03 PM
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Super-Exotic Earth Article
Media Release | Apr. 28, 2011


Astronomers unveil portrait of “super-exotic super-Earth:” Densest known rocky planet



An international team of astronomers today revealed details of a “super-exotic” exoplanet that would make the planet Pandora in the movie Avatar pale in comparison.

The planet, named 55 Cancri e, is 60 per cent larger in diameter than Earth but eight times as massive. Twice as dense as Earth – almost as dense as lead – it is the densest solid planet known, according to a team led by astronomers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC).

The research, based on observations from Canada’s MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars) space telescope, was released online today at arXiv.org and has been submitted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. MOST is a Canadian Space Agency mission.

Approximately 40 light years from Earth, 55 Cancri e orbits a star – called 55 Cancri A – so closely that its year is less than 18 hours long. “You could set dates on this world by your wrist watch, not a calendar,” says UBC astronomer Jaymie Matthews.

The temperature on the planet’s surface could be as high as 2,700 degrees Celsius. “Because of the infernal heat, it’s unlikely that 55 Cancri e has an atmosphere,” says lead author Josh Winn of MIT. “So this is not the type of place where exobiologists would look for life.”

However, 55 Cancri e is the type of place exoplanetary scientists will be eager to “visit” with their telescopes, says Winn. “The brightness of the host star makes many types of sensitive measurements possible, so 55 Cancri e is the perfect laboratory to test theories of planet formation, evolution and survival.”

While the planet isn’t visible, even through a telescope, its host star, 55 Cancri A, can be observed with the naked eye for the next two months on a clear dark night.

“On this world – the densest solid planet found anywhere so far, in the Solar System or beyond – you would weigh three times heavier than you do on Earth. By day, the sun would look 60 times bigger and shine 3,600 times brighter in the sky,” says Matthews, MOST Mission Scientist and second author on the paper.

The first planet discovered around 55 Cancri A – designated “b” – was found by a California-based team in 1997. Over the next five years, two more planets (“c” and “d”) were found by the same team around the star. In 2004, a Texas-based team found 55 Cancri e, the subject of the latest paper. (A fifth planet, f, was discovered in 2008).

All five planets were detected using the Doppler technique, where a star’s “wobbles” due to the gravities of its unseen planets are measured in the shifting wavelengths of the spectra of the starlight.

Last year, Rebekah Dawson, an astronomy PhD student at Harvard and Daniel Fabrycky, a Hubble Fellow at UCSC, re-analyzed the data and proposed that the orbital period of 55 Cancri e could be much shorter than others had assumed.

MIT’s Winn, along with Smithsonian astronomer Matt Holman, brought the problem to Matthews, who ordered the astronomical equivalent of a police stakeout using MOST, which was able to detect subtle dips in the brightness of star 55 Cancri A as planet e passed in front of it during each orbit.

The research team found that these “transits” occur like clockwork every 17 hours and 41 minutes, just as Dawson and Fabrycky predicted. The starlight is dimmed by only 1/50th of a per cent during each transit, telling the astronomers that the planet’s diameter is about 21,000 km – only 60 per cent larger than Earth.

“It’s wonderful to be able to point to a naked-eye star and know the mass and radius of one of its planets, especially a distinctive one like this,” says Winn.

Matthews agrees. “That’s the kind of thing Captain Kirk would do in an old episode of Star Trek, we’re finally catching up with – maybe starting to surpass – the science fiction I dreamed about as a kid.”



posted on Apr, 30 2011 @ 04:44 PM
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Originally posted by Skywatcher2011
reply to post by Ahmose
 


Thanks for your post! I tried to check it out in the middle of the night outdoors, but I don't know if it is visible to the naked eye. Have you been able to try and view it yet (if possible)?



Yeah it's visible.
Most likely a bit difficult to spot under significant light pollution ,
I can see it easily in darker skies though.



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