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KOI-314c: Weird Small "Puffed-Up" Exoplanet Discovered 29

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-new dept.
astroengine writes "Speaking at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington D.C., astronomers have announced the discovery of an Earth-mass exoplanet that has a thick, puffed-up atmosphere making it 60% bigger than Earth. The exoplanet's mass is the first to be derived using transit timing variation (TTV) data from NASA's Kepler space telescope. 'Rather than looking for a wobbling star, we essentially look for a wobbling planet,' said co-investigator David Nesvorny, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). 'Kepler saw two planets transiting in front of the same star over and over again. By measuring the times at which these transits occurred very carefully, we were able to discover that the two planets are locked in an intricate dance of tiny wobbles giving away their masses.' With this information, astronomers are now trying to understand how such a planet (with a very compact orbit around its star) evolved. The leading idea is that it might have been a Neptune-like gas giant that had the bulk of its atmosphere ripped away by stellar radiation."
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KOI-314c: Weird Small "Puffed-Up" Exoplanet Discovered

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  • Planets need to diet also.

  • by bob_super (3391281) on Monday January 06, 2014 @07:11PM (#45882723)

    "gas giant that had the bulk of its atmosphere ripped away by stellar radiation"

    I take your extinction-level supervolcano and I raise you an atmosphere-shredding red dwarf formation!
    (Who's going to be the main actor for that movie?)

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      Careful, if it's too powerful, it'll kill the sharks and ruin the fun. Balance, Grasshopper, balance.

    • "gas giant that had the bulk of its atmosphere ripped away by stellar radiation"

      I take your extinction-level supervolcano and I raise you an atmosphere-shredding red dwarf formation! (Who's going to be the main actor for that movie?)

      Chuck Norris. He's the only one who can save a planet in that kind of disaster. He'll probably have to slo-mo spinning roundhouse kick that red dwarf's ass into a black hole.or another dimension.

    • by Silvrmane (773720)
      Greg Grunberg seems to be the go-to-guy for crappy SyFy movies these days. He was in Hollow Man, but that now appears to be the pinnacle of his career. I last saw him in "Big Ass Spider".
  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Monday January 06, 2014 @07:16PM (#45882763)
    I know there are innumerable phenomenon in the universe yet to be discovered that occur naturally, and I know planet hunting is new, but sometimes I can't help but wonder if some of the more odd phenomena, especially gravitational, will one day be classified as enormous engineering efforts. Maybe we have found aliens several times over, only we can't currently comprehend that we have.
    • Mankind has spent most of its time on this rock looking at the wonders of nature and deciding - until he knew better - that God/aliens did it.

      Maybe we have found aliens several times over, only we can't currently comprehend that we have.

      Yeah, maybe. Probably not, though.

    • Maybe we have found aliens several times over, only we can't currently comprehend that we have.

      I've always assumed that was a given.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      If we find a giant planet shaped like Justin Beiber, then we know aliens are up to something. At least we'll know where to send him back to.

  • "Does this stellar system make my atmosphere look fat?"

  • by localroger (258128) on Monday January 06, 2014 @08:11PM (#45883057) Homepage
    Planets like Earth don't hold on to hydrogen and helium even without nearby atmosphere-ripping stars in the mix. What is much more likely is that it's an entirely solid world with no atmosphere but made of much lighter elements than the Earth. Carbon mantle over rocky core would be just about right for 1.5 times the density of water. Of course, having once been the core of a gas giant, the planet's surface could very well be a gigantic diamond.

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