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Astronomers See the Glow of a Boiling Planet

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  • by NemoinSpace (1118137) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:39PM (#39937269) Homepage Journal
    Before it doesn't emit infrared radiation?
    • by ArcherB (796902)

      Before it doesn't emit infrared radiation?

      Good point, but I would assume that it's got to be giving off quite a bit to be detectable from here.

      Or maybe it's just very reflective.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They were looking at a wavelength of 4.5um - this probably isn't the peak wavelength the planet is emitting, but if it were, the source would need to be 370 C. Which I would call toasty.

      • by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:52PM (#39937357)

        It's not the peak - TFA states the planet's temperature is about 2700C. Which I would call "infernal".

        That does, however, explain how the IR emissions are high enough for us to detect here on Earth, light-years away - it's really, really, *really* hot.

        • by dido (9125) <dido@imperi[ ]ph ['um.' in gap]> on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:26PM (#39937539)

          2700ÂC is not just infernal I'd think. That temperature is nearly half the temperature of the sun's photosphere (5500ÂC). Iron melts at 1538ÂC, and boils at 2862ÂC. There could be clouds of iron vapor and rains of molten iron there. If it had any kind of atmosphere it would likely be made up of iron and silicon vapor.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            If it had any kind of atmosphere it would likely be made up of iron and silicon vapor.

            Interesting ... it is said that silicon-based organic chemistry life is impossible because, unlike CO2, SiO2 is not a gas but a rock. Well, it seems now we have found a place where SiO2 actually is a gas...

            • If it had any kind of atmosphere it would likely be made up of iron and silicon vapor.

              Interesting ... it is said that silicon-based organic chemistry life is impossible because, unlike CO2, SiO2 is not a gas but a rock. Well, it seems now we have found a place where SiO2 actually is a gas...

              Sodium Oxide is too low temperature, but I think Li2O might have potential. Does anyone know the triple point of Lithium Oxide?

        • by avgjoe62 (558860) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:00AM (#39937961)

          ...it's really, really, *really* hot.

          Yea, but it's a dry heat...

    • One could argue that 'infra-red' covers absolutely everything below red on the spectrum; but the accepted definition starts calling them 'microwaves' at some point. Cosmic background radiation mostly falls into that camp, below IR; but that is very chilly indeed...
      • Cosmic bacground radiation was emitted as infra red. It just has a massive redshift.
        Everything above 0K emits infra red.
    • Before it doesn't emit infrared radiation?

      Absolute zero. All objects emit infrared. Better question: What's the sensitivity of the equipment measuring this?

  • What exactly justified it to be called super-Earth? The size is close to Earth (half order of magnitude), but it is close to Venus as well, and Venus is hotter.

    • Re:super-Earth? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ironchew (1069966) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:08PM (#39937447)

      The only planets larger than Earth in the Solar system are the gas giants, so a super Earth is just a designation for a planet more massive than Earth, but not a gas giant.

    • Re:super-Earth? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Roger W Moore (538166) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:22PM (#39937511) Journal

      What exactly justified it to be called super-Earth?

      Earth-like but significantly bigger than earth. The planet in question is 8 times the mass of Earth with twice the radius so roughly the same density. It might only be a factor of 8 in mass but if you saw a person with 8 times the average mass, say ~600kg, you'd certainly call them super-sized! As for temperature Venus is hotter than Earth but with a surface temperature of 460C it's decidedly nippy compared to the planet in question which is just over 1700C.

    • Try this: super [etymonline.com]. As a prefix, it simple means more, over, above or beyond. We have 2 kinds of planets in the Solar System: rocky and gas giant. Earth is the largest of our rocky planets, you can think of it as the flagship. So this exo is an Earth-class planet, only 8 times heavier (that's closer to a full order of magnitude than half). A super-Earth. A , where the baseline is Earth. Get it?
    • What exactly justified it to be called super-Earth?

      It's bigger, stronger, faster, shoots infra-red beams, and, the dead give-away, has a red cape. Yeah. I went there.

  • Sauna world (Score:5, Funny)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:28PM (#39937551) Homepage Journal

    I suggest we send Finnish astronauts. They actually like this sort of place.

    "Cosmonaut Hämeenniemi! Have you reached the planet, what is it like!"

    (long delay)

    "Shhh... I'm relaxing"

  • ^_^ (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:49PM (#39937651)

    A watched planet never boils...

    • by rossdee (243626)

      But it started boiling before we started watching it.
      So Boil's law is not broken.

  • One small dip is when the planet is covering the sun.A larger dip is when the sun is covering the planet.
      S+P vs S vs S +P - coveredfractionofsun*S.

    When the planet is colder the first dip is larger and the second dip is less. With a hot planet I think both dips may well be measurable.

    • The dip when the planet is covering the sun shoud be bigger, assuming the sun is hotter than the planet.
      Sun before planet => intensity = intenisty of only the sun.
      Sun behind planet => intensity = intensity of the sun - intensity of blocked part of the sun + intensity of the planet
      sun and planet besides eachother => intensity = sun + planet

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