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Earth-sized planet found just outside solar system

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

October 16, 2012 by Seth Borenstein

Earth-sized planet found just outside solar systemEnlargeThis artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth. Alpha Centauri B is the most brilliant object in the sky and the other dazzling object is Alpha Centauri A. Our own Sun is visible to the upper right. The tiny signal of the planet was found with the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

(Phys.org)—European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system—the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The results will appear online in the journal Nature on 17 October 2012.

Alpha Centauri is one of the brightest in the southern skies and is the nearest stellar system to our Solar System—only 4.3 light-years away. It is actually a triple star—a system consisting of two stars similar to the Sun orbiting close to each other, designated Alpha Centauri A and B, and a more distant and faint red component known as Proxima Centauri. Since the nineteenth century astronomers have speculated about orbiting these bodies, the closest possible abodes for life beyond the Solar System, but searches of increasing precision had revealed nothing. Until now.

Read more: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-earth-sized-planet-solar.html

Proximity of New Planets Stuns Even Astronomers


ScienceDaily (June 21, 2012) — One is a rocky planet 1.5 times the size of Earth. The other is a gaseous world nearly four times Earth’s size. Together they form a spectacular system in which two planets orbit closer to each other than any yet discovered
 

“We’ve never known of planets like this,” said Yale University astronomer Sarbani Basu, a member of the research team that analyzed the system. “If you were on the smaller planet looking up, the larger planet would seem more than twice the size of Earth’s full moon. It would be jaw-dropping.”

Basu’s research focused on determining the properties of the planets’ host star — work that was essential for discerning the characteristics of the orbiting planets.

The 46-member, international team, led by astronomers at Harvard and the University of Washington, report their discovery June 21 in Science Express, the early release version of the journal Science.

Read mode : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120621152307.htm

 

ESPL: Dances of the Planets

June 19, 2012 2 comments

June 19, 2012

The planets in the heavens move in exquisite orbital patterns, dancing to the Music of the Cosmos.  There is more mathematical and geometric harmony than we realize.   The idea for this article is from a book Larry Pesavento shared with me.  The book, ‘A Little Book of Coincidence‘ by John Martineau, illustrates the orbital patterns and several of their geometrical relationships.  .

Take the orbits of any two planets and draw a line between the two planet positions every few days.  Because the inner planet orbits faster than the outer planet, interesting patterns evolve.  Each planetary pairing has its own unique dance rhythm.  For example, the Earth-Venus dance returns to the original starting position after eight Earth years.  Eight Earth years equals thirteen Venus years.  Note that 8 and 13 are members of the Fibonacci number series.

  • Earth:     8 years * 365.256 days/year  =  2,922.05 days                   
  • Venus:  13 years * 224.701 days/year  =  2,921.11 days (ie. 99.9%)

Watching the Earth-Venus dance for eight years creates this beautiful five-petal flower with the Sun at the center.  (5 is another Fibonacci number.)

Another intriguing fact is the ratio between the Earth’s outer orbit and Venus’s inner orbit is given by a square.

In the following dance patterns, the planet pairing is given and the number of orbits of the outer planet.  Enjoy these beautiful patterns.

Let me share with you other facts about cosmic harmony.  The radius of the Moon compared to the Earth is three to eleven, ie. 3:11.

  • Radius of Moon = 1,080 miles =  3 x 360
  • Radius of Earth  = 3,960 miles = 11 x 360 = 33 x 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5
  • Radius of Earth plus Radius of Moon = 5,040 miles = 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 x 7 = 7 x 8 x 9 x 10

The ratio 3:11 is 27.3 percent, and the orbit of the Moon takes 27.3 days.  27.3 days is also the average rotation period of a sunspot.  The closest : farthest distance ratio that Venus and Mars each experiences in the Mars-Venus dance is incredibly 3:11.  The Earth orbits between them.

The sizes of the Moon and the Earth ‘Square the Circle’ as shown in this illustration, which is drawn to scale.  The perimeters of the dotted square and the dotted circle are the same length.

The perimeter of the dotted red square is 4 x Earth’s diameter = 4 x 7,920 miles = 31,680 miles.  
The circumference of the dotted blue circle is 2 pi x radius = 2 x 3.142 x 5040 miles = 31,667 miles.  (ie. 99.9%)

Article by Howard Arrington