Author Topic: Astronomers find distant, fluffy planet  (Read 1500 times)

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Offline ajekt

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Astronomers find distant, fluffy planet
« on: September 14, 2006, 09:27:42 pm »
WASHINGTON - The largest planet ever found orbiting another star is so puffy it would float on water, astronomers said Thursday. The newly discovered planet, dubbed HAT-P-1, is both the largest and least dense of the nearly 200 worlds astronomers have found outside our own solar system.


HAT-P-1 orbits one of a pair of stars in the constellation Lacerta, about 450 light-years from Earth.

"This new planet, if you could imagine putting it in a cosmic water glass, it would float," said Robert Noyes, a research astrophysicist with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The planet, a gas giant, is probably a puffed up ball of hydrogen and helium.

HAT-P-1 is an oddball planet, since it orbits its parent star at just one-twentieth of the distance that separates Earth from our own sun. While Earth takes a year to orbit the sun, the newly found planet whips around its star once every 4.5 days.

Astronomers believe HAT-P-1 may belong to an entirely new class of planets, along with a second, smaller distant world that's also puffier than theories would have predicted, Noyes said.

Astronomers used a network of telescopes in Arizona and Hawaii to discover the planet. Its parent star is too faint to see with the naked eye but can be spied with binoculars.

http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: Astronomers find distant, fluffy planet
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2006, 06:40:24 pm »
Its crazy that they can see things that far away, too bad we have no way to get a human there... yet.

BTW a floating planet sounds interesting.
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Offline zman

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Re: Astronomers find distant, fluffy planet
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2006, 10:59:32 pm »
I was sad about the whole degrading Pluto thing  :'(

 

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