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Weird World! 'Oozing' Alien Planet Is a Super-Earth Wonder [ 55 Cancri e ]
SPACE.com ^ | Friday, January 20, 2012 | SPACE.com Staff

Posted on 01/21/2012 5:43:56 PM PST by SunkenCiv

A new look at an alien planet that orbits extremely close to its parent star suggests that the rocky world might not be a scorching hot wasteland, as was thought. In fact, the planet may actually be stranger and wetter than astronomers ever imagined.

The exotic planet 55 Cancri e is a relatively close alien planet, just 40 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cancer (The Crab).

The super-dense world circles so close to its host star that it takes a mere 18 hours to complete one orbital lap. Using our solar system for comparison, 55 Cancri e is 26 times closer to its parent star than Mercury is to the sun, according to NASA officials.

Because of its tight orbit around its stellar host, 55 Cancri e was long thought to harbor surface temperatures as high as 4,800 degrees Fahrenheit (about 2,700 degrees Celsius), researchers have said.

But new observations from NASA's infrared Spitzer Space Telescope have astronomers revisiting the exoplanet, armed with intriguing clues that 55 Cancri e could be a wetter and weirder place than thought...

Using Spitzer, researchers measured the faint dip in brightness caused by 55 Cancri e passing in front of its star. Since these so-called transits occur every 18 hours, scientists have plenty of opportunities to collect enough data to help them estimate the size, volume and density of the alien planet, agency officials said.

Based on these results, the researchers calculated that 55 Cancri e has a mass 7.8 times that of Earth, and a width just over twice that of our planet.

(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...


TOPICS: Astronomy; Science
KEYWORDS: 55cancri; 55cancrie; spitzer; stringtheory; xplanets
A simulation of the silhouette of planet 55 Cancri e transiting its parent star, compared to the Earth and Jupiter transiting our sun, as seen from outside the solar system. The star 55 Cancri A is nearly a twin of the sun. CREDIT: Jason Rowe, NASA Ames and SETI Institute and Prof. Jaymie Matthews, UBC

Weird World! Oozing Alien Planet Is a Super-Earth Wonder

1 posted on 01/21/2012 5:44:01 PM PST by SunkenCiv
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To: KevinDavis; annie laurie; Knitting A Conundrum; Viking2002; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Mmogamer; ...
 
X-Planets
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2 posted on 01/21/2012 5:48:41 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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55 Cancri and 55 Cancri e keywords, cleaned up and newest first:
3 posted on 01/21/2012 5:53:15 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: SunkenCiv

This is neat! Very interesting.


4 posted on 01/21/2012 5:54:28 PM PST by txnativegop (God Bless America! (NRA-Endowment))
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To: SunkenCiv
The super-dense world circles so close to its host star that it takes a mere 18 hours to complete one orbital lap. Using our solar system for comparison, 55 Cancri e is 26 times closer to its parent star than Mercury is to the sun, according to NASA officials.

These poor writers. 26 times a distance is not the same thing as 1/26 of the distance. You can say something is X times as far, but not X times as close.

So, either "Using our solar system for comparison, Mercury is 26 times farther away from the sun than 55 Cancri is to its parent star" or "Compared to Mercury's distance from the sun, 55 Cancri is only 1/26th that distance from its parent star."
5 posted on 01/21/2012 5:55:13 PM PST by aruanan
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To: aruanan

If a world is “super dense,” does that mean that earth bullets would bounce off you, or that it is inhabited by democrats?


6 posted on 01/21/2012 5:59:14 PM PST by Larry Lucido (Ron Paul: Favorite of military impersonators everywhere.)
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To: aruanan

Yeah, that’s a common problem, the x times = 1/x, math is just not their strong suit. It’s possible that they’re dumbing it down for their readers, but I’m pretty sure their readers aren’t that dumb.


7 posted on 01/21/2012 6:14:07 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: txnativegop

Thanks!


8 posted on 01/21/2012 6:14:15 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: SunkenCiv

First there’s the ooze, then there’s the running and screaming...


9 posted on 01/21/2012 6:43:40 PM PST by null and void (Day 1096 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: SunkenCiv

This Fascinating stuff. Especially this link (Habitable Planet Possible...) - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1676126/posts.

Thanks for the ping.


10 posted on 01/21/2012 7:02:05 PM PST by odds
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To: SunkenCiv
18hrs... wonder how fast that means it's traveling
11 posted on 01/21/2012 7:17:31 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Chode

Does it mean that gravitational pull is increasing its orbit speed and it already burned up in that star 40 or less years ago?


12 posted on 01/21/2012 7:40:21 PM PST by Deaf Smith
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To: Deaf Smith
now there's a thought...
13 posted on 01/21/2012 7:43:00 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: SunkenCiv

I vacationed here two years ago. Drink only bottled ammonia, the local tap ammonia is not safe. The locals pray to an idol they call ‘Soetoro’. The food is terrible and watch out for the two-headed women in the bars.


14 posted on 01/21/2012 7:49:48 PM PST by Doc Savage ("I've shot people I like a lot more,...for a lot less!" Raylan Givins)
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To: Chode
Second thought is the planet's own rotation is about 18 hours, thus only one side faces the star in our observation. We are only seeing the 'Dark Side' as is the example of our Moon?
15 posted on 01/21/2012 7:53:19 PM PST by Deaf Smith
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To: Chode

Assuming a circular orbit at 1,385,000 miles (=36,000,000/26) we get an 8,700,000 mile orbital path. The 18 hour period implies a speed of about 483,000 miles per hour. That is about 7.25 times as fast as the Earth revolves around the Sun.


16 posted on 01/21/2012 7:54:41 PM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: 17th Miss Regt
thx... but wouldn't that be 24hr*365days=8760hrs per year/18hrs=486.6666 times as fast as the earth?
17 posted on 01/21/2012 8:09:12 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Doc Savage; Larry Lucido; null and void

LOL!


18 posted on 01/21/2012 9:33:07 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: odds

Thanks odds.


19 posted on 01/21/2012 9:33:15 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: Chode; Deaf Smith; 17th Miss Regt; Lonesome in Massachussets

Exoplanets orbiting close to their stars -- too bad they can't be used to look for precession.

· String Theory Ping List ·
721 posted on 04/24/2007 8:14:42 PM PDT by DocRock
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20 posted on 01/21/2012 9:45:02 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: AdmSmith; bvw; callisto; ckilmer; dandelion; ganeshpuri89; gobucks; KevinDavis; Las Vegas Dave; ...

Whoops.

· String Theory Ping List ·
721 posted on 04/24/2007 8:14:42 PM PDT by DocRock
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21 posted on 01/21/2012 9:46:21 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: Larry Lucido

It’s a “super-critical” planet which means that the flame wars on their interwebs are unimaginably harsh.


22 posted on 01/21/2012 10:05:10 PM PST by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Sunrise on 55 Cancri e must be an awsome sight.


23 posted on 01/21/2012 10:38:29 PM PST by Mike Darancette (11/06/2012: Starts "Occupy the White House")
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To: Mike Darancette

I wouldn’t mind seeing it.


24 posted on 01/22/2012 12:03:47 AM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: aruanan

I sometimes think innumeracy is a requirement to become a journalist these days.


25 posted on 01/22/2012 4:41:48 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Chode
thx... but wouldn't that be 24hr*365days=8760hrs per year/18hrs=486.6666 times as fast as the earth?

It looks like you are assuming they are at the same distance from the star. The orbital path length of one is 8,700,000 miles based on a radius of 1,384,000 miles. The orbital path length of the Earth is 584,300,000 miles based on a radius of 93,000,000 miles. 8,700,000 miles/18 hrs = 483,333 mi/hr. For Earth, 584,300,000 miles/(365.25*24) hours = 66659 mi/hr. Computing the ratios of the two speeds we get 483.333/66659 = 7.25.

26 posted on 01/22/2012 7:29:36 AM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: 17th Miss Regt
483.333/66659 = 7.25.

Typo. Should be

483,333/66659 = 7.25.

27 posted on 01/22/2012 7:31:07 AM PST by 17th Miss Regt
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To: 17th Miss Regt
ahhh yes... that i was, thx again
28 posted on 01/22/2012 8:18:39 AM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: Chode
around
around
around
around
gettin' dizzy...:-P

29 posted on 01/23/2012 12:39:52 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (I can take tomorrow, $pend it all today. Who can take your income, tax it all away. Obama Man can. :)
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To: skinkinthegrass
pretty much...
30 posted on 01/23/2012 7:56:40 AM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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