Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Did You Do Today?

...Oh, nothing much. Just discovered the FIRST rocky planet outside our solar system!

Wish you could say that, no? Likewise.

But it is confirmed. Scientists have confirmed today the first "Earthlike" planet outside our solar system.

I use the term "Earthlike" loosely. It is to say that it has a similar composition as Earth, but its environment is pretty much what would've happened if Sauron would've gotten his ring back. Very Mordorish what with the proximity to the star it encircles. A year there is less than a day here.

But it's only one side that gets the devil's ass crack treatment. The planet itself doesn't revolve on its axis. So one side is always facing the star. Making it a molten landscape on the day side, and Hoth fucking cold on the other, with a chance of ice on the night side.

What makes this planet so puzzling to astronomers is that they never expected to find a rocky planet so close to a star.

They discovered CoRoT-7b (named after the satellite that discovered it which; believe it or not, was sent up to discover rocky planets) last year, but it took them this long to determine the make and model of the planet which is about 5 times Earth's mass and under twice as large in circumference.

At least 42 scientists at 17 institutions on three different continents worked on the project.

Which has lend credence to the joke, how many scientists in how many places does it take to determine the composition of a newly found planet?

Granted it's not a really funny joke. But what do you want from them?

Back off, man! They're scientists.

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