Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This could be good . . .

Major Scientific Discovery on Extrasolar Planets

The scientific journal NATURE will publish in its issue dated 26 January 2006, a major paper on a discovery addressing extra-solar planets.


W.M. Bear said...

Two points:

1) The way this is being presented will have evryone thinking that astronomers have discovered an earthlike planet around another star.

2) The "major discovery" will turn out NOT to be of an earthlike planet but something that will strike us layperson types as really DUMB (but astronomers will find it interesting).

Hope I'm wrong and it IS an earthlike planet but I wouldn't bet on it.

W.M. Bear said...

Well, bite my tongue. The announcement is of a double discovery: 1) Of a rocky (as opposed to gas giant) type planet of only 5 earth masses. And 2) Maybe even more importantly, this planet was discovered through a new application of an existing observational technique called "gravitational microlensing" that apparently has the potential to detect bodies as small as 1/10 Earth mass orbiting other stars. So this really IS an announcement of a major discovery. Bite my tongue again. (Ouch! Enough tongue-biting already!)

Press Release

magnidude said...

u didn't mention gravitational microlensing is a method of discovering very FAR objects. So, what does it mean? 20k light years away we have a rocky, Earth-class planet...err...there are plenty of them out there :>