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Space Science

Astronomers Find Planet Barely Larger Than Earth's Moon 71

Posted by Soulskill
from the that's-no-planet dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "A team of astronomers has announced the discovery of the smallest exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star yet found: Kepler-37b, which has a diameter of only 3865 kilometers — smaller than Mercury, and only a little bigger than our own Moon. It was found using the transit method; as it orbits its star, it periodically blocks a bit of the starlight, revealing its presence (abstract). Interestingly, the planet has been known for some time, but only new advances in asteroseismology (studying oscillations in the star itself) have allowed the star's size to be accurately found, which in turn yielded a far better determination of the planet's diminutive size. Also, the asteroseismology research was not funded by NASA, but instead crowd funded by a non-profit, which raised money by letting people adopt Kepler target stars."
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Astronomers Find Planet Barely Larger Than Earth's Moon

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  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @03:52PM (#42958765) Journal

    A planet or a dwarf planet?

    I mean, if Pluto is not allowed to be a planet, then why should such a small object be labelled as one?

  • Re:NASA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:02PM (#42958851)
    There is a lot of space travel we can do before we have to, or able to, go interstellar.
  • Re:NASA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:16PM (#42958967)
    Yup. If only NASA were gone, the crowd funders would have discovered the planet using data from their own frigging telescope, instead of NASA's Kepler. And call me when the "asteroid miners" produce anything but vaporware. Meanwhile, NASA is doing meaningful science.
  • Re:NASA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by osu-neko (2604) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:40PM (#42959307)

    First asteroid mining, and now this. Once NASA is completely out of the way the Space Age can actually begin.

    NASA is not standing in anyone's way. Someday NASA will be surpassed and ultimately be made obsolete, but it is not in any way an impediment. Quite the contrary, it's NASA's shoulders that this and the other accomplishments are currently standing up upon.

  • by osu-neko (2604) on Wednesday February 20, 2013 @04:59PM (#42959577)

    I mean, if Pluto is not allowed to be a planet, then why should such a small object be labelled as one?

    Shhh ... people might hear you and think you're making sense.

    We can't have that.

    One would hope not. It's annoying when ignorant drivel is modded "insightful" here. Just because "people hear you and think you're making sense" doesn't mean you actually are...

    I have respect for people who think Pluto should still be considered a planet... assuming they also think Eris should be a planet, and long before Pluto was demoted, were upset about the fact that Ceres is not considered a planet. It's the knuckle-dragging morons who are upset about Pluto but never were bothered by Ceres not being a planet that need to get a freakin' clue. If you had no problem with Ceres not being considered a planet, you shouldn't have any problem with the fact that Pluto isn't, either.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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