Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Exoplanets Get Sexy

A Sultry World Is Found Orbiting a Distant Star

"Astronomers said Wednesday that they had discovered a planet composed mostly of water.
You would not want to live there. Besides the heat — 400 degrees Fahrenheit on the ocean surface — the planet is probably cloaked in a dark fog of superheated steam and other gases. But its discovery has encouraged a growing feeling among astronomers that they are on the verge of a breakthrough and getting closer to finding a planet that something could live on.
“This probably is not habitable, but it didn’t miss the habitable zone by that much,” said David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the team that discovered the new planet and will reports its findings on Thursday in the journal Nature

Somehow 'sultry' doesn't conjure up a vision of a planet.


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