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Possible Earth-like planet discovered
Houston Comical (AP) ^ | June 13, 2005, 2:14PM

Posted on 06/13/2005 12:42:00 PM PDT by The_Victor

WASHINGTON  — A planet that may be Earth-like — but too hot for life as we know it — has been discovered orbiting a nearby star.

The discovery of the planet, with an estimated radius about twice that of Earth, was announced today at the National Science Foundation.

"This is the smallest extrasolar planet yet detected and the first of a new class of rocky terrestrial planets," Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution in Washington said in a statement. "It's like Earth's bigger cousin."

Geoffrey Marcy, professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, added: "Over 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Epicurus argued about whether there were other Earth-like planets. Now, for the first time, we have evidence for a rocky planet around a normal star."

Though the researchers have no direct proof that the new planet is rocky, its mass means it is not a giant gas planet like Jupiter, they said. They estimated the planet's mass as 5.9 to 7.5 times that of Earth.

It is orbiting a star called Gliese 876, 15 light years from Earth, with an orbit time of just 1.94 Earth days. They estimated the surface temperature on the new planet at between 400 degrees and 750 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gliese 876 is a small, red star with about one-third the mass of the sun. The researchers said this is the smallest star around which planets have been discovered. In addition to the newly found planet the star has two large gas planets around it.

Butler said the researchers think that the most probable composition of the planet is similar to inner planets of this solar system — a nickel/iron rock.

Gregory Laughlin of the Lick Observatory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said a planet of this mass could have enough gravity to hold onto an atmosphere. "It would still be considered a rocky planet, probably with an iron core and a silicon mantle. It could even have a dense steamy water layer."

Three other extrasolar planets believed to be of rocky composition have been reported, but they orbit a pulsar — the flashing corpse of an exploded star — rather than a normal type of star.

———

On the Net:

National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: space; xplanets
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1 posted on 06/13/2005 12:42:02 PM PDT by The_Victor
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To: The_Victor

Is it Talos IV?????


2 posted on 06/13/2005 12:42:49 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: The_Victor
I would've said "Mercury-like." Besides, this thing is hugh (I'm series).
3 posted on 06/13/2005 12:43:06 PM PDT by Junior (“Even if you are one-in-a-million, there are still 6,000 others just like you.”)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: The_Victor
They estimated the surface temperature on the new planet at between 400 degrees and 750 degrees Fahrenheit.

That's earth like?

5 posted on 06/13/2005 12:44:41 PM PDT by beltfed308 (Cloth or link. Happiness is a perfect trunion.)
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To: The_Victor
They've already found sentinent life:


6 posted on 06/13/2005 12:44:47 PM PDT by RockinRight (Conservatism is common sense, liberalism is just senseless.)
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To: The_Victor

Just whipping around it's sun isn't it.


7 posted on 06/13/2005 12:47:51 PM PDT by cripplecreek (I zot trolls for fun and profit.)
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To: The_Victor
It is orbiting a star called Gliese 876, 15 light years from Earth, with an orbit time of just 1.94 Earth days.

Wow!! This planet's really moving.

Imagine the mortgage rates on this real estate.

8 posted on 06/13/2005 12:48:39 PM PDT by shekkian
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To: The_Victor

sounds like a good place for Dean's voter-outreach program


9 posted on 06/13/2005 12:48:49 PM PDT by NewMediaFan (Fake but accurate)
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To: The_Victor

If we only had a Stargate!


10 posted on 06/13/2005 12:50:31 PM PDT by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: The_Victor
"A planet that may be Earth-like — but too hot for life as we know it — has been discovered orbiting a nearby star. The discovery of the planet, with an estimated radius about twice that of Earth, was announced today at the National Science Foundation."

" . . . too hot for life as we know it . . . with an estimated radius about twice that of earth . . . "

Doesn't sound very "Earth-like" to me.
11 posted on 06/13/2005 12:50:54 PM PDT by Steve_Seattle
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To: shekkian
Wow!! This planet's really moving.

Imagine the mortgage rates on this real estate.

But you could live to be 14000 years old.

12 posted on 06/13/2005 12:51:10 PM PDT by The_Victor (Doh!... stupid tagline)
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To: shekkian

Shekkian, did it say the distance from the it's sun? That orbit is haulin a$$ either way.


13 posted on 06/13/2005 12:51:20 PM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (If Islam is a religion of peace, they should fire their P.R. guy!)
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To: Junior


Exactly...how is this Earth like? Granted it is more Earth like than a gas giant, but still.


14 posted on 06/13/2005 12:54:00 PM PDT by in hoc signo vinces ("Soylent green is people!")
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To: The_Victor
A planet that may be Earth-like — but too hot for life as we know it —

I claim this planet for Texas. We will hang out there during the summer.
15 posted on 06/13/2005 12:56:12 PM PDT by Righty_McRight
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To: beltfed308
They estimated the surface temperature on the new planet at between 400 degrees and 750 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bush caused global warming there too?
16 posted on 06/13/2005 12:56:38 PM PDT by mnehring (http://www.mlearningworld.com)
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To: The_Victor

I just can't believe that orbital period. It would have to be so close to the star that friction would quckly bring it down.

1.94 YEARS, maybe?


17 posted on 06/13/2005 12:58:16 PM PDT by Da Bilge Troll (Defeatism is not a winning strategy!)
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To: mnehrling
The left did say that environmental policies of this administration would have FAR reaching consequences.
18 posted on 06/13/2005 12:59:23 PM PDT by Righty_McRight
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To: Da Bilge Troll

Actually, 1.94 days is possible. The star is dim so while it's hot as the article said, it's nowhere near as hot as if the planet were the same distance from our sun.


19 posted on 06/13/2005 1:02:25 PM PDT by RockinRight (Conservatism is common sense, liberalism is just senseless.)
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To: The_Victor
with an orbit time of just 1.94 Earth days.

That sucker is movin'!

20 posted on 06/13/2005 1:04:53 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Spec.4 Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: beltfed308
That's earth like?

Relatively speaking, I guess.

21 posted on 06/13/2005 1:10:23 PM PDT by scott7278 (Before I give you the benefit of my reply, I'd like to know what we're talking about.)
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To: Da Bilge Troll
I just can't believe that orbital period. It would have to be so close to the star that friction would quckly bring it down.

This is a significant factor in the orbital period:

Gliese 876 is a small, red star with about one-third the mass of the sun.

22 posted on 06/13/2005 1:11:04 PM PDT by The_Victor (Doh!... stupid tagline)
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To: The_Victor

Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Mars) will be green with envy (greener).


23 posted on 06/13/2005 1:13:42 PM PDT by Husker8877
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To: lilylangtree
"They estimated the surface temperature on the new planet at between 400 degrees and 750 degrees Fahrenheit"
24 posted on 06/13/2005 1:14:57 PM PDT by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: The_Victor
Yeah, but the question is who will the enviro-whacko's blame this case of Global Warming on?
25 posted on 06/13/2005 1:19:43 PM PDT by Tallguy
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To: The_Victor
The planet is inhabited by nerdlings.


26 posted on 06/13/2005 1:19:51 PM PDT by GulliverSwift (Just say no to McCain and Giulliani)
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To: All

I'm curious if the gravity of a planet is affected by it's density. I know our gas giants aren't very dense yet they have extremely strong gravitational fields. Or is mass more of a factor than density?


27 posted on 06/13/2005 1:20:14 PM PDT by cripplecreek (I zot trolls for fun and profit.)
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To: Rummyfan

Hope not, that whole death penalty thing and all. We could be executed for just responding to this thread!


28 posted on 06/13/2005 1:22:48 PM PDT by waverna
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To: Rummyfan
Is it Talos IV?????

No, probably Gliese 876 I, unless there's another planet closer in to it's sun.

Posting from Sol III.

29 posted on 06/13/2005 1:23:15 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: Rummyfan

Hot as Vulcan!


30 posted on 06/13/2005 1:23:37 PM PDT by waverna
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To: cripplecreek

Gravitational pull is purely a function of mass and distance.


31 posted on 06/13/2005 1:24:14 PM PDT by The_Victor (Doh!... stupid tagline)
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To: The_Victor

It's a terrestrial planet, but it sure ain't earthlike.


32 posted on 06/13/2005 1:26:07 PM PDT by Brett66 (Howard Dean - the gift that keeps on giving)
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To: cripplecreek
I'm curious if the gravity of a planet is affected by it's density.

Gravity's affected by the planet's mass. Density is the mass per unit of volume, so they are related. Remember, Saturn has a density of less than 1 (the density of water) while Earth's density is 5 and some change. However, Saturn has a higher "surface" gravity than Earth because it is so much bigger.

33 posted on 06/13/2005 1:27:56 PM PDT by Junior (“Even if you are one-in-a-million, there are still 6,000 others just like you.”)
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To: The_Victor

So a rocky planet the size of Jupiter would have the same gravitational pull as a gas giant like Jupiter?


34 posted on 06/13/2005 1:28:06 PM PDT by cripplecreek (I zot trolls for fun and profit.)
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To: cripplecreek

No. A rocky world that size (an impossibility) would be more massive than a gas giant and have a higher surface gravity.


35 posted on 06/13/2005 1:29:12 PM PDT by Junior (“Even if you are one-in-a-million, there are still 6,000 others just like you.”)
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To: BenLurkin


From the only good line in Riddick...."If I owned this place and Hell...I'd live in hell, and rent this place out."


36 posted on 06/13/2005 1:29:50 PM PDT by in hoc signo vinces ("Soylent green is people!")
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To: cripplecreek
So a rocky planet the size of Jupiter would have the same gravitational pull as a gas giant like Jupiter?

No. A rocky planet would have much greater mass that a gas planet of the same size.

37 posted on 06/13/2005 1:32:55 PM PDT by The_Victor (Doh!... stupid tagline)
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To: cripplecreek
I'm curious if the gravity of a planet is affected by it's density. I know our gas giants aren't very dense yet they have extremely strong gravitational fields. Or is mass more of a factor than density?

The gravity field is dependent only on the mass. However the surface gravity is dependent on both the mass and the radius of the planet. The less dense planet will have a larger radius, by the cube root of the density ratio. It's surface gravity will be lower by the square of the cube root of the density ratio.

38 posted on 06/13/2005 1:36:34 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: Steve_Seattle
Doesn't sound very "Earth-like" to me.

By their standards it's almost a carbon copy. If it's solid, has an atmosphere and isn't hot enough to melt most metals it's pretty close. I blame bad reporting for the impressing they convey, because to a layman "earth like" means survivable without a spacesuit and the closest thing we have to that is Mars.

39 posted on 06/13/2005 1:38:42 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Proudly Christian since 2005)
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To: cripplecreek

Gravity is directly proportional to mass. Density has nothing to do with the equation. Gas giants have high gravity because even though they aren't dense, there's a lot of mass involved.


40 posted on 06/13/2005 1:39:15 PM PDT by brownsfan (Post No Bills)
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To: K4Harty

Pretty damn close I'd say. It must be a very small star because any planet orbiting the sun that quick would melt in a matter of minutes.


41 posted on 06/13/2005 1:40:33 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Proudly Christian since 2005)
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To: The_Victor
A planet that may be Earth-like — but too hot for life as we know it — has been discovered orbiting a nearby star.

Further investigations demonstrate that the planet is a remarkable parallel to earth. It also developed a human-like life form and developed politics similar to the United States. Unfortunately, on that planet, socialists gained the upper hand and drove all business into the ground. The people of the planet had to continue burning trees and cow dung, which lead to the state we find the planet in today.

Shalom.

42 posted on 06/13/2005 1:40:55 PM PDT by ArGee (Why do we let the abnormal tell us what's normal?)
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To: BenLurkin
between 400 degrees and 750 degrees Fahrenheit

Rampant book-burning and corresponding anti-environmental policies likely led to the conditions there...

43 posted on 06/13/2005 1:43:38 PM PDT by mikrofon (Bushdidit)
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To: cripplecreek
I'm curious if the gravity of a planet is affected by it's density

The short answer is yes. Gravity is a function of the mass of the body and the distance from the centre of mass. Therefore the surface of a less dense planet would be further from the centre of mass and gravity at the surface would therefore be lower.

44 posted on 06/13/2005 1:43:49 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Proudly Christian since 2005)
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To: Squawk 8888

Sounds right. I'd like to know more about it.


45 posted on 06/13/2005 1:47:41 PM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (If Islam is a religion of peace, they should fire their P.R. guy!)
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To: cripplecreek

Actually, I don't have the math handy but I believe that a body with the density of rock and the volume of Jupiter would probably be a star, ignited by the pressure of all that mass. That's why rocky planets are small and the only large planets are the gas giants.


46 posted on 06/13/2005 1:47:56 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Proudly Christian since 2005)
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To: beltfed308; The_Victor
They estimated the surface temperature on the new planet at between 400 degrees and 750 degrees Fahrenheit.

*************************************************************

That's earth like?

Perhaps they should have said: 'Venus like' - but that wouldn't have made an eye catching headline.

47 posted on 06/13/2005 1:49:31 PM PDT by Irish_Thatcherite (Orwellian Relativism: All philosophies are equal, but some philosophies are more equal than others.)
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To: RockinRight

Moore's a sentinent lifeform?


48 posted on 06/13/2005 1:50:44 PM PDT by Irish_Thatcherite (Orwellian Relativism: All philosophies are equal, but some philosophies are more equal than others.)
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To: Squawk 8888

Ive been digesting this. It's all interesting to me.


49 posted on 06/13/2005 1:51:36 PM PDT by cripplecreek (I zot trolls for fun and profit.)
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To: Irish_Thatcherite

Actually, no, just a blob of tissue...like a jellyfish.


50 posted on 06/13/2005 1:51:53 PM PDT by RockinRight (Conservatism is common sense, liberalism is just senseless.)
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