Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Modern Observers Rediscover a Water World

Agence France Presse via Yahoo! News: Scientists discover Earth-like, water-rich planet: study.

PARIS (AFP) – Astronomers have discovered a new Earth-like planet that is larger than our own and may be more than half covered with water, according to a study published Wednesday in the science journal Nature.

The so-called "super Earth" is about 42 light years away in another solar system and has a radius nearly 2.7 times larger than that of our planet, according to the study by the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.

The discovery of the planet, called GJ 1214b, represents a "major step forward" in the search for worlds similar to the Earth, added the University of California's Geoffrey Marcy in a commentary also in Nature.

The "newfound world" is too hot to sustain life as we know it, said the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in a statement.

Its density suggests however it "is composed of about three-fourths water and other ices and one fourth-rock," it said. "There are also tantalising hints that the planet has a gaseous atmosphere."

Its temperature is estimated at between 280 and 120 degrees Celsius (536 and 248 degrees Fahrenheit) with its host star about one-fifth the size of the Sun, according to the scientists.

"Despite its hot temperature, this appears to be a waterworld," says Zachory Berta, a graduate student who first spotted hints of the planet's presence.

"It is much smaller, cooler and more Earthlike than any other known exoplanet," he said in the statement.


Jeffery Keown said...

Um... Rediscover?

Here's what I think you mean by that. Democritus, Jesus or someone (Velikovsky?) knew all about this and we're just now getting around to finding it because we're just a bunch of primitive hill-jacks. We are (in your limited opinion) just smart enough to find our ass with a flashlight, so this must have been known by someone, somewhere at some point in the past... cause we sure as hell couldn't have done it the first time...

Did I get close?

OilIsMastery said...

Well that's putting it nice and diplomatic...=)

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Oil, you will enjoy this article!

I see that young Jeffery is showing all of the signs of successful operant conditioning. Should he ascend to the next level, master? How long exactly did it take you to train him in?
Getting rid of his herd loving nature should be next, I venture to suggest!

Jeffery Keown said...

Show me a text by someone demonstrating knowledge of this world.

You can't.

The achievements of mankind should stand for something.

Somewhere, out there, there may be a species with knowledge of this planet, GJ 1214b. They didn't tell us about it, no long-dead Greek boy-toucher guided our instruments.

It's an awesome discovery and your belittling it is shameful.

OilIsMastery said...

Yes I agree it's interesting which is why I posted about it but it's not like we didn't know these things existed a priori.

"He [Democritus] said that the ordered worlds are boundless and differ in size, and that in some there is neither sun nor moon, but that in others, both are greater than with us, and yet with others more in number. And that the intervals between the ordered worlds are unequal, here more and there less, and that some increase, others flourish and others decay, and here they come into being and there they are eclipsed. But that they are destroyed by colliding with one another. And that some ordered worlds are bare of animals and plants and all water." -- Hippolytus, priest, 2nd century

Jeffery Keown said...

Yes I agree it's interesting which is why I posted about it but it's not like we didn't know these things existed a priori.

Yay... that same tired quote from the Big D.

Look, you can't tell me that anything Democritus had to say would lead one to GJ 1214b, 51 PEGb or any other of the nearly 400 planets we've discovered. His statement was a supposition.

Nothing more. It is not an actual observation of anything meaningful. Just rhetoric.