March 25, 2013

Alien Earths Facts

  • The Kepler Mission is designed to find Earth-size planets in orbit around stars like our Sun outside of the solar system.

  • Kepler will keep a steady gaze on 100,000 stars .

  • Kepler uses the “transit” method of planetary detection. That is, Kepler watches for dips in the total amount of light that comes from a star. The amount of the dip and the duration of the dip yields clues about how large the planet is, its size and distance from its parent star.

  • Didier Queloz and Michel Mayor discovered a planet around the star 51 Pegasus. This is the first extrasolar planet orbiting a sun-like star.

  • The planet at 51 Pegasus is nicknamed, “Bellerophon".

  • “Bellerophon” in Greek mythology is the hero who tamed the winged horse Pegasus.

  • Bellerophon has temperatures of nearly 1,000 degrees Celcius.

  • Bellerophon is a new class of previously unknown gas giant planet called a “hot Jupiter.” A gas giant is made mostly of hydrogen and helium.

  • Osiris has an average temperature of  about 2000 degrees (Fahrenheit), far too hot for any form of life.

  • A year on the planet at 16 Cygnus B is roughly equivalent to 26 earth months, but the orbit is not circular like that of Earth, it is highly elliptical, or “eccentric”.  The planet swings back and forth across its solar system like a yo-yo.

  • The Goldilocks Zone is a range of distances from a star where water can exist in liquid form, thus making the conditions just right for life.

  • Planemos have no sunrises or sunsets, and the don’t have seasons, just severe, eternal cold. They are planets without a star, drifting through the galaxy indefinitely.

  • A pulsar planet is a planetary body that is either captured by a pulsar or a planet that has formed out of the debris field of a supernova explosion.

  • When a massive red giant star explodes, most of its outer layers blast into space, but some of the material falls back to the remnant core of the star.  The stripped, crushed core of the former red giant is called a “neutron star” because its has been so utterly pulverized by the supernova explosion, that even its atoms are crushed.

  • A water world will have perfect blue skies, puffy white clouds, and not a speck of land in sight. 

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