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Author Topic: Biggest exoplanet yet--and it's fluffy!  (Read 1676 times)
Altair
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« Topic Start: August 09, 2007, 05:43:23 pm »

Astronomers find largest exoplanet to date

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/08/09/exoplanet.discovery.ap/index.html

The best quote, from astronomer Alan Boss: scientists "can't understand why these so-called fluffy planets are so fluffy. It really is a mystery, just how they can be so low-density."

I can think of a few people that could apply to!

« Last Edit: August 09, 2007, 05:46:36 pm by Altair, Reason: Edited because I accidentally hit \"post\" prematurely (premature posticulation) » Logged

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« Reply #1: August 09, 2007, 05:50:01 pm »

The best quote, from astronomer Alan Boss: scientists "can't understand why these so-called fluffy planets are so fluffy. It really is a mystery, just how they can be so low-density."

It is a mystery -- so much so that I have to wonder if the estimates might not be wrong due to some external factor they aren't aware of.
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« Reply #2: August 09, 2007, 06:24:08 pm »

It is a mystery -- so much so that I have to wonder if the estimates might not be wrong due to some external factor they aren't aware of.

I'm always amazed at how they can reach these conclusions so definitively, based on observations from so far away. So yeah, you're right--while the findings may be reasonable based on our existing knowledge, there's so much we don't know, some of which may upend all of this in the not-to-distant future.
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« Reply #3: August 09, 2007, 09:16:07 pm »

scientists "can't understand why these so-called fluffy planets are so fluffy. It really is a mystery, just how they can be so low-density."

I can think of a few people that could apply to!
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« Reply #4: August 09, 2007, 10:35:07 pm »

So yeah, you're right--while the findings may be reasonable based on our existing knowledge, there's so much we don't know, some of which may upend all of this in the not-to-distant future.

Or it might simply be something like a large planet and a large satellite orbiting it. That could appear to be one large planet from here. (This is why Pluto was originally thought to be more massive than it is. Before Charon was detected, the Pluto-Charon system was thought to be one single planet.)
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