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"NASA Kepler hints at over 250 new potentially habitable worlds"

NASA Kepler released last month 18,406 planet-like detection events from its last three year mission to search for exoplanets (Kepler Q1-Q12 TCE). Further analysis is required by the NASA Kepler Team and the scientific community to extract and identify true planets, including those potentially habitable. The Planetary Habitability Laboratory @ UPR Arecibo (PHL) performed a preliminary analysis and identified 262 candidates for potentially habitable worlds in this dataset. These candidates become top priority for further analysis, additional observations, and confirmation.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

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Kepler data also has been used to infer the probable existence of 100 billion planets around M dwarfs in our galaxy.

Noooooooooo! This new-fangled thing about finding exoplanets through telescopes means we can't be riding our He3 torchships to explore the galaxy like Real Men (and Real Women, of course).

Of course, they're not real planets, because they were discovered by Americans.

Is this in reference to the Pluto controversy?

I hadn't thought of it as a controversy; I do know there are people who say it isn't a planet, most of them in the West Asian region usually called Europe. (A continent, of course, is a separate body of land.)


Huh (Anonymous) Expand
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If you're suggesting a general rule, we should consider other examples of planets that weren't real planets.

1) Ceres, Juno, Pallas, and Vesta were considered planets for about 50 years, but then they were demoted, and they were all discovered by Germans.

2) Planets were widely thought to exist for awhile around Barnard's star, 61 Cygni, and other nearby stars, thanks to Peter van de Kamp. His claims were later refuted. He was Dutch, but he made his claims while working from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

3) When you read about "the first extrasolar planets", 51 Peg gets most of the attention, and people tend to forget about the planets of pulsar PSR B1257+12, found three years earlier. As further evidence that the pulsar planets don't count, consider all the fanfare made about finding the first earth-size and sub-earth-size planets. PSR B1257+12 A is far smaller than the Earth (twice the size of the moon) but everyone discounts it. So who discovered it? Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail. Wolszczan is Polish and Frail is Canadian. But like Peter van de Kamp, they did their work in Pennsylvania.

Hmmm, I thought I'd come up with more examples. We need more data!

Oh! There's Nibiru. But was it invented by Zecharia Sitchin, an Azerbaijani-born US citizen working in New York (not all that far from Pennsylvania), or was it invented by the (non-American) Sumerians?

Edited at 2013-01-04 11:01 am (UTC)

meme? (probably not) (Anonymous) Expand
...awesome...just awesome.

It is awesome! The data is pretty neat too (just follow the links): seeing earth size and sub-earth size planets.

But consider Kodas' comment here in this discussion:

Lots more news coming soon, as the American Astronomical Society meets Jan 6-10. If you don't mind looking at a large PDF, load the following, and then search on the word "habitable":

I don't think I'll be downloading that PDF tonight, but now I've got something to look forward to for the weekend!

The word "habitable" appears 62 times in that AAS PDF. There are 38 appearances of "habitable zone" and two appearances of "habitable-zone."

"Laser frequency comb" appears twice.

The abstract contains this interesting sentence, with an acronym I haven't seen before:
Tidally heated exomoons, or THEMs, can conceivably be much more luminous than their host exoplanet and as little as 1000 times dimmer than the system's primary star.
I was also interested to learn that Penn State University now has a Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds, and that Alexander Wolszczan-- lead discoverer of the first extrasolar planet-- works there. So does Steinn Sigurdsson. Both astronomers, as I recall and as gohover might too, corresponded on Usenet in its glory days.

Edited at 2013-01-04 03:36 pm (UTC)

planet-like detection events?

I'm all for inclusive language, but I think this may be taking sensitivity training too far.

Re: planet-like detection events?

Exoplanets don't meet the current definition of planet.

Re: planet-like detection events?

I'm all for inclusive language, but I think this may be taking sensitivity training too far.

The linked article is discussing a data set that is not at all ready to be called "discovery of some exoplanets" yet, but which may eventually be shown to contain some exoplanets. The author is impatiently fooling around with the data anyway. As one does.

Edited at 2013-01-04 07:31 pm (UTC)

What is this I don't even

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