ALL ABOARD! Now Leaving Earth For SUPER EARTH!!!

September 15, 2011 at 9:40 am | Posted in Regular Feature, Science News | Leave a comment
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This week for Science Thursday, let’s go where no man has gone before. To a Super Earth.

Astronomers in Europe, using the European Space Observatory’s exoplanet hunting maniac machine known as HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher of course), have located sixteen new planets dubbed “Super Earths”. These exoplanets are known as such because they are believed to have a rocky surface and are within five times the mass of our precious little blue marble of a world.

"Welcome to the planet Tahiri. Please have your passports ready as we disembark."

One of these planets also has an orbit that falls within the habitable zone of its star. This particular Super Earth goes by the designation HD85512-B. Fans of Star Wars literature will be thrilled to hear that HD85512-B can be found orbiting a star located in the constellation known as Vela. Not quite the same spelling as Tahiri Veila’s last name but close enough that from now on I will refer to this planet as “Tahiri” because HD85512-B just doesn’t roll off the tongue nearly as well.

The word “Vela” is derived from the Latin word “Velorum,” meaning sails. There is also a character named Valorum in the Star Wars universe but naming a planet after a weak and ineffectual leader rather than the awesome Jedi/Vong hybrid that is Tahiri, didn’t seem very dynamic.

Please enjoy this short video on the work of the ESO and the HARPS device. More information on Tahiri (not its real name) can be found by clicking the links in the text above. Enjoy!

by Revmacd For Roqoo Depot – Where Science Meets Science Fiction

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