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Nearby "Super Earth" May Have Atmosphere

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the smell-of-a-super-earth-in-the-morning dept.

Space 7

Luminary Crush writes "Astronomers announced that they have discovered a 'super-Earth' which seems to have an atmosphere orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. They found the distant planet with a small fleet of ground-based telescopes no larger than those many amateur astronomers have in their backyards. Although the super-Earth is too hot to sustain life, the discovery shows that current, ground-based technologies are capable of finding almost-Earth-sized planets in warm, life-friendly orbits."

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Guess what... (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30467878)

We didn't believe in global warming back there either.

This is news? No, this is newsmongering. (1, Insightful)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30468568)

If they find out that it does actually have an atmosphere, that is news. Until then, we do not have a news story here...

Re:This is news? No, this is newsmongering. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30472608)

If they find out that it does actually have an atmosphere, that is news. Until then, we do not have a news story here...

Actually, it's news in large part because they're doing this with a large number of small, ground-based telescopes. Getting that kind of resolution with that kind of equipment is a fairly big advancement. From TFA ...

Since we found the super-earth using a small ground-based telescope, this means that anyone else with a similar telescope and a good CCD camera can detect it too.

That is somewhat impressive. This really is news.

Cheers

Re:This is news? No, this is newsmongering. (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30473226)

The simple fact is that most people in wealthy nations, myself and yourself included, sift through a huge amount of media each day. The headline says, "newly discovered planet could possibly maybe have an atmosphere." The link to TFA, which does go into detail about the equipment used, is anchored to, "seems to have an atmosphere." Most people will look at the title, maybe sift through the article, take note of the anchor, and presume that the story is about the planet. It was.

I do agree with you that the discovery of a planet that far away by the equipment used is wonderful and interesting, however I defy you to find a report of this discovery which mentions the equipment in either the title or the main summary (outside of an Astronomy magazine or journal). You won't, because the story is about the planet, the equipment is unfortunately reported only as part of the background to the main story, which in this case is a total non-event. In other words, the journos passed by on a really interesting report and instead cashed in on a feel-good for the masses. What's new?

I still say it's not a real news story.

Re:This is news? No, this is newsmongering. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30473554)

The link to TFA, which does go into detail about the equipment used, is anchored to, "seems to have an atmosphere." Most people will look at the title, maybe sift through the article, take note of the anchor, and presume that the story is about the planet. It was.

Well, TFA is primarily about the planet and the fact that it seems to have an atmosphere.

The resulting density suggests that GJ1214b is composed of about three-fourths water and other ices, and one-fourth rock. There are also tantalizing hints that the planet has a gaseous atmosphere. ... Berta added that some of the planet's water should be in the form of exotic materials like Ice VII (seven) -- a crystalline form of water that exists at pressures greater than 20,000 times Earth's sea-level atmosphere. ... Since this planet is so close to Earth, Hubble should be able to detect the atmosphere and determine what it's made of

That the composition is even vaguely Earth-like, and has the likelihood of some form of atmosphere is is newsworthy. Detecting it from ground based sources is also newsworthy if you're into that sort of thing.

Why do people on Slashdot continue to be so entirely dismissive of science? For those of us old enough to remember when we found the first exoplanets, this continues to be pretty remarkable stuff. I mean, you're spotting something exceedingly distant, in a huge field of other stars to choose from, through some pretty sophisticated techniques and (comparatively) modest equipment. This isn't like spotting your neighbor with binoculars here.

I mean, Jeebus, have we become so jaded that new exoplanet discoveries is boring and the possibility of confirming planets with atmospheres trivial? Wow -- to me, the whole story is cool.

I just don't get the mentality of this "how is this possibly news" stance.

Cheers

Re:This is news? No, this is newsmongering. (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30473736)

You know the cool thing? You don't have to get it! You are a unique human being with your own ways of thinking and your own interests! Personally, I'm pretty bored with the regular exoplanet finds that get breathlessly reported to 'maybe possibly if-only-they-really-could have an atmostphere'. Get it put onto the Hubble schedule, check it out, if they find something, them report it. It's news. Before then it's only breathless speculation.

Re:This is news? No, this is newsmongering. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30474068)

You know the cool thing? You don't have to get it! You are a unique human being with your own ways of thinking and your own interests!

Aww, shucks. That's the nicest thing anyone has said to me all week. ;-P

Cheers

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