Skip to comments.Weird World! 'Oozing' Alien Planet Is a Super-Earth Wonder [ 55 Cancri e ]
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 ...
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
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This is neat! Very interesting.
If a world is “super dense,” does that mean that earth bullets would bounce off you, or that it is inhabited by democrats?
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.
First there’s the ooze, then there’s the running and screaming...
This Fascinating stuff. Especially this link (Habitable Planet Possible...) - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1676126/posts.
Thanks for the ping.
Does it mean that gravitational pull is increasing its orbit speed and it already burned up in that star 40 or less years ago?
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.
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.
It’s a “super-critical” planet which means that the flame wars on their interwebs are unimaginably harsh.
Sunrise on 55 Cancri e must be an awsome sight.
I wouldn’t mind seeing it.
I sometimes think innumeracy is a requirement to become a journalist these days.
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.
Typo. Should be
483,333/66659 = 7.25.
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