Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wondering how many planets are out there. . .

It was not too long ago that astronomers discovered the first planet orbiting a star other than our own star, the Sun. Wow, the whole world was excited to hear the news and wondered what the planet was like and if it had life. Hate to tell you but those people should have known that the first planet to be discovered would have to a huge one and not capable of life as we know it. The first planets discovered were all very, very huge with close, fast orbits around their star. They were nick-named fast Jupiters. It wasn’t until a few years later that planets were discovered orbiting in their stars “habitable zone”; that is the area where liquid water can exist on a planet.

Just lately it was announced that astronomers have just discovered 50 new planets around stars and that 16 of these are super-Earths (planets like ours only larger) and that one is in its star’s habitable zone. We have come a long way in our ability to find smaller and smaller planets way out there. From that humble start back a few years ago with the discovery of the first exoplanet (one from a solar system other than ours) up until now a lot of planets have been found. In fact, astronomers now know of 700 such exoplanets.

You all have a great day orbiting around our own star, you hear?


  1. We can probably assume that most stars have planets, so there's got to be a pile of them. Finding them is the trick, as space is big and the stars are so far away. Astronomers have come up with new techniques in recent years that make finding them more likely.

  2. You certainly seem to enjoy your study of the stars and keeping abreast of the new discoverys.

    I know the planets and stars are up there. But I never have been able to wrap my head around the distances involved. With the exception of the moon distance. 238,857 miles. I can grasp that .
    In all reality, what will we ever do with the knowledge that new planets are discovered? We can't get to them to populate them or harvest it's riches.

    Do you think us ole feeble Humans will ever set foot on one of them?
    (My brain hurts thinking about the distances)

  3. Who knows there may be a lizard looking Dizzy-Dick on one of those planets. Maybe even driving a mega motor-rocket. ;)

  4. 6bears, Yes they have a way of blocking the glare of the star so that they can see the planets better and of course the space telescopes help a lot. At the beginning, they found them by the jiggle of the star.

    Ben, I don’t believe anyone can imagine what a light year in length is let a lone a million of them. BTW, humans will have to leave earth as our sun grows. The first leap will be Mars. As far as getting to one orbiting a star, probably not unless we enlist captain Kirk.

    Dang David, I hope if there is any life on another planet it will look a lot better than I do!! And, yes, they will probably have a big ole space ship.

  5. Do you keep up with Ol Jules, So Far From Heaven?,,Yall sure like that stuff. I just take ir word for it.

  6. Do you think they will ever again give anything in the universe a memorable and lilting name? This so-called planet they just found is supposedly like earth and has temps around 70F. They haven't figured out yet if it has air or gas surrounding it. But they are calling it something like Kepler 2 which is think is about the dumbest name for a planet. I quit reading Astronomy mag because I was sick of all the letters and numbers in place of beautiful names. Scientists today have imagination, but it doesn't run in the direction of poetical names.

    I get a kick out of the excitement about Kepler 2; they sound like they can't wait to start shipping folks to colonize it, cut down whatever trees might be there, kill animals for food (or whatever), dig for minerals and of course, for oil. Earth is barely on its last legs and they are looking for another planet to destroy.

  7. Trouble, no I have not, but I will. Thanks.

    Gypsy, mankind is its own worst enemy.

    Jill, yes I know, I have been there many times. I don't know if you are old enough to remember the gospel quartet from there, they were called "the men from mars". Had one of their albums and knew one of them.