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Old 14-11-2008, 12:41 AM   #1
eurosector
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Default NASA releases first-ever image of distant planet

First fuzzy photos of planets outside solar system.....

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081113/...ci_new_planets
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Old 14-11-2008, 07:55 AM   #2
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I'm a little confused. Have we not found planets closer than trillions of miles away? Surely there must be closer stuff? Its actually rather strange that we haven't found "that blue planet like earth" yet. Have I missed something in the article... is my confusion about distance... Alpha Centauri is only 4.5 light years away.... does that equate to trillions of miles?
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Old 14-11-2008, 08:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony42 View Post
Alpha Centauri is only 4.5 light years away.... does that equate to trillions of miles?
...and some more... and anyway, we don't know if there are planets around AC
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Old 14-11-2008, 09:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Have we not found planets closer than trillions of miles away
There have been lots of planets discovered around other stars but never imaged before. Because most planets orbit relatively close to the star, up until now it has been impossible to seperate them from the star. Only by inference from the wobble of the star as the planets orbit have astronomers been able to say that there are planets there and can calculate the mass of the object(s) orbiting the star.

Keith
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Old 14-11-2008, 10:22 AM   #5
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Ah thanks all. Very interesting stuff.
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Old 17-11-2008, 03:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saturnapollo View Post
There have been lots of planets discovered around other stars but never imaged before. Because most planets orbit relatively close to the star, up until now it has been impossible to seperate them from the star. Only by inference from the wobble of the star as the planets orbit have astronomers been able to say that there are planets there and can calculate the mass of the object(s) orbiting the star.

Keith
Sometimes, too, we can discern the presence of a planet by occultation. I believe it occurs more rarely, and it's a much harder thing to detect, but it's one of those clues that adds to the case as a whole. If the planet's orbital plane around its star is inclined just right to our point of view, the planet occasionally passes in front of the star, causing its apparent magnitude to dim briefly. Of course, occultaion could occur with a plane of dust, rather than actual planets, assuming the plane 'wobbles' in front of the star relative to our POV. Sorry I can't remember anything specific, nor provide links; I'm just going from memory of stuff I've read in the past. (Hopefully, I'm getting the gist of it right!)
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