Friday, January 13, 2012

Reason #110: Exoplanets

Back in the ongoing analysis of Kepler's wealth of planetary data, researchers in Pasadena have now confirmed three exoplanets smaller than the Earth - among the smallest ever discovered, and all orbiting the same star. The three are between .57 and .78 times Earth's radius, and they're noteworthy examples not only for their size, but for their rocky Earth-like composition.

Alas, they're far too close to their sun to be habitable - think Mercury at best, Florida at worst.

Meanwhile, the Kepler data is drastically reshaping our understanding of "typical" planetary systems, as we find more and more binary planetary systems and "Super Saturns" (full disclosure: that last one's not actually from the Kepler data. But still), but alas, no aliens yet.

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