Skip to comments.Strange New Worlds: The Amazing Alien Planet Discoveries of 2013
Posted on 01/01/2014 3:15:13 PM PST by Farnsworth
While astronomers didn't bag that elusive first "alien Earth" in 2013, they made plenty of exciting exoplanet discoveries during the past year.
Here's a list of the top exoplanet finds of 2013, from a tiny world about the size of Earth's moon to a blue gas giant on which it rains molten glass:
The most Earthlike world yet
Also this year, researchers found the closest thing to an Earth twin in size and composition, though it's far too hot to support life as we know it.
Kepler-78b is just 20 percent wider and about 80 percent more massive than our planet, with a density nearly identical to that of Earth. The alien world, which is about 400 light-years from Earth, lies just 900,000 miles (1.5 million km) from its host star and completes one orbit every 8.5 hours. Surface temperatures on Kepler-78b likely top 3,680 degrees Fahrenheit (2,000 degrees Celsius), researchers say.
1,000 alien planets
Astronomers found the first-ever planets orbiting a star other than our sun in 1992. And in 2013, barely two decades later, they notched alien world number 1,000 at least according to some tallies.
Two of the five main databases that catalog alien-planet discoveries passed the 1,000 mark this year, with both the Extrasolar Planets Encyclopedia and the Exoplanets Catalog, run by theUniversity of Puerto Rico at Arecibo's Planetary Habitability Laboratory, recording 1,056 alien worlds as of today (Dec. 26).
(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...
It’s like going to a buffet and only being able to look at the food.
I wish we would develop warp drive sooner rather than later....
it’s unfortunate thats all we will ever be able to do
Yeah, thats real high science, but some are working on it. Read an article awhile back about a warp bubble. Compress space in front of the bubble and expand it behind the ship creating thrust.
It’s a LONG way from dilithium crystals, anti matter engines and Montgomery Scott.
me too! I want off this rock! leave the liberals to destroy what’s left of this planet I say.
The most “Earth like” planet ever discovered is almost exactly the same size and mass as Earth and orbits an identical star at almost the same orbit.
It is called Venus.
I suspect that most “Earth like” exoplanets are far more Venus like.
Hard to say really. We’ve just barely scratched the surface of what we can find. Most of the rocky planets we’ve found are close to their stars where its easiest to find them. Most of those were found by Kepler looking in one very small area of the sky.
If someone were looking for earth using the transiting method, they would have to catch the earth passing in front of the sun then wait 365 days to see it again.
Personally I’ve never liked the term “Earthlike” anyway. It convinces people who don’t follow such things that scientists have literally found a planet like ours. By that standard Mercury, Venus, and Mars are all “earthlike”. Even Saturn’s moon Titan is often described as earthlike but I think I’ll pass on the vacation there.
A side note on habitable zones. People often assume the earth sits nicely in the dead center of the habitable zone around our sun. The reality is that Earth orbits in the inner 5% of the habitable zone with Mars orbiting in the outer 5 or 10 percent.
Yes, I’ve seen a couple of shows on Dr. Chang-Diaz engine. Sub light isn’t going to cut if for those long distances, but it will open up the solar system and we have some very interesting stuff right at home.
depends on the star and the orbit of the planet. As the science is refined, we will get better understanding of extrasolar planets atmosphere.
Yes, we - you and I personally - will never step foot on other planets, but humans, or some derivative, will via Von Neumann craft with AI and a stockpile of genetic material. It may already have been going on for a billion years, and rules established more or less for competing interests as it pertains to ownership/dealing with any quasi-sentients that may be native to the rock.
“Von Neumann craft”
Never heard of this before....very interesting theory and option for exploration.
I’m not really interested in finding intelligent life. I’d rather seek planets with conditions close enough to our own that human DNA can be adapted to them.
There are billions of stars in our galaxy that are billions of years older so there is the possibility that we humans might not be the first ones out of the gate, so to speak.
I have to wonder if we are not the result of someone else's DNA that has adapted to this particular rock.
Whoops, that was supposed to be just a “extra to APoD” message. I’m having some frustrating connection problems and got my wireless crossed.
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I hope they will find a Liberal utopia planet and maybe Libs, RINOs, Muslims and Obama would leave Earth.
If only we could get them their
It’s not necessary to actually get them there, only to convince them that we can...
LOL.....yeah, up the ramp you libs, some nice alien’s willing to be lead await you.
Relativity is our friend. If you can get to a high-enough fraction of c, from the traveller's perspective most trips would only last a few months. I can envision a scenario where the spacecraft is accelerated at 1G, coasts at a very high speed, then turns around and decelerates at 1G to the destination. This would provide gravity for most of the trip, with the zero-g portion of the trip being very brief for the travellers.
Or we could just adapt the Golgafrinchan Solution to the same effect.
Not particularly. The problem with traveling at significant fractions of c is that mass also increases as you get closer to c.
The relativistic "benefits" to interstellar travel only begin to be tangible at very high percentages of c.
I don't have the exact figures in front of me, but for instance, even 90% of light speed produces no significant relativistic benefit WRT such travel. More like 95-98% of light speed, or even higher, is needed, and with the attendant increase in mass, more and more energy is required to gain even the smallest amount of additional speed.
It'd be great if we could somehow propel spacecraft to 98%+ of light speed, but such science is not within our grasp for the foreseeable future.
It will truly take a Zephraim Cochran-like breakthrough in order for single generation interstellar travel to become feasible...
One day man will sail the gulf between the stars as our ansisters sailed the unknown seas.
Sub light opens us the solar system, not interstellar space. If you figure out how to do suspended animation with sub light, then it’s possible.
bottom line, we are sometime away from it, we’ll eventually get their, but only the youngest of us may have kids to see it.