That spanking new planet’s already a star. K-186 f, you know who you are. You’re making us wonder if we’re all alone. The planet out there in the habitable zone. I’ve been on the radio. Been on TV. Talking ‘bout the planet. Just what can we see? Just what do we know about this special … More Another planet in Kepler-186?
In the spirit of last week’s poetic post, here are two more stanzas for your reading pleasure…. There is a new exoplanet in town. This planet has only just now been found. Why should you care? It’s only one more. Well this is one planet we’d love to explore. This planet’s orbit is really just … More An Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a cool star
Carnival mirrors. They make you look…. different. Here’s what my son Zack looks like with one carnival-mirror effect on my computer. If every planet we saw was reflected in carnival mirrors, how would we figure out what the planets really look like? It turns out this is how it actually works! Every time we detect … More Carnival mirrors and “normal” planets
We’ve discussed some classes of planet that are pretty strange: hot super-Earths, hot Jupiters and eccentric gas giants. But that was just the warm-up. In this post we’ll check out three more extra-weird ones. First up: Tatoine planets. In case you are less nerdy than you should be, Tatooine is where Luke came from in … More Three more planetary stooges
Hot Jupiters: check. Super-Earths and mini-Neptunes: check. Up next is another unusual class of planet. But what is different is not these planets’ physical properties but the shapes of their orbits. Time to get technical. An orbit is the path a planet follows around its star. The simplest orbit is a circle with the star … More HD 80606: a gas giant on a super-eccentric orbit
It’s official: you are weird. It’s nothing personal, you can’t help it. You live in a weird Solar System. It’s just not like other planetary systems. It’s just not SUPER enough…. Most Sun-like stars have a planet orbiting close-by. Not a hot Jupiter — those are rare. Planets just a little bigger than Earth are … More Hot Super-Earths (and mini-Neptunes)!
Let’s meet a planet called WASP-12b. [Before you ask, extra-solar planets are named based on how they were discovered or their catalog number. Wasp-12b is the twelfth found by the WASP (“Wide Angle Search for Planets”) survey. The “b” indicates that the object is a companion; Wasp-12 itself is the planet-hosting star.] WASP-12b is a … More Wasp-12b: a hot Jupiter