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Space Science

32 Exoplanets Discovered By Chilean Telescope 146

the4thdimension writes "An article on CNN notes that 32 exoplanets have been discovered using a new Chilean telescope. The telescope is capable of detecting movements of 2.1mph (comparable to a slow walking pace). These 32 new planets give the telescope a total of 75 planets it has discovered, out of the 400 discovered using all methods employed by astronomers. This places the HARPS system as the world's foremost exoplanet hunter."
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32 Exoplanets Discovered By Chilean Telescope

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  • 3.5km/h (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldspewey ( 1303305 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @05:21PM (#29800317)

    the instrument detects movements as small as 3.5 km/hr (2.1 mph), a slow walking pace

    So let me get this straight: If this thing were observing a star system 50 light years away, that's 4.7x10^14 kilometres ... and this thing can detect relative movements as small as 3.5km/hr?

    Consider me impressed.

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:12PM (#29800957) Journal

    Clearly the parent poster was commenting that the ratio is currently stars/planets > 1 (more stars than planets) and he was wondering if the ratio would invert stars/planets 1 (more planets than stars). If we continue to find planets at some point we may find that 90% of the stars we CAN see well enough have more than 1 planet and it would be a safe bet at that point to say that there are more planets than stars.

    I don't think he was suggesting that each star could ever have more than a billion planets. Sorry if you were just being sarcastic or trolling and I didn't get it.

  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @06:52PM (#29801413) Journal


    To borrow a phrase, on what planet do you spend most of your time?

    It was big government that put a man on the moon.

    It was big government that built the interstates. You're welcome.

    It was big government that gave you the police department and firemen. You're welcome.

    It's big government that puts men and women in uniform to go off and defend this country, but I don't hear Fox-News-watching sheep like yourself railing against the incompetence of government-run programs like the US Marine Corps or the socialised medicine that they receive.

    This "all government is evil" bullshit is really getting tiresome. Why don't you take a look at government run health care systems around the world before you foam at the mouth with your anarchist hatred for the institutions of civilisation? Why don't you open your brainwashed eyes and see that there is only one industrialised country in the world (the USA) that thinks it's okay to leave people without health insurance or to let people go bankrupt because they get sick? Why can't you get it into your pointy little head that health care is as fundamental a human right as protection from the police or fire department? Why can't you see that Glenn Beck is bat shit insane?

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) * on Monday October 19, 2009 @07:25PM (#29801767) Homepage Journal

    The only reason to send an unmanned craft, is to scout out the habitable planets.

  • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:34PM (#29802451) Homepage

    Its not going to happen. planets orbit stars

    So what would you call a rocky body the size and shape of (say) Earth or Mars that doesn't orbit a star? The IAU's inane mal-definition aside[*], I suspect most people would call it a planet (possibly with the qualifier "rogue" tacked on). I don't think we have much idea how many such bodies exist, but it's not beyond the bounds of reason to think that there's are many, many times as many as there are stars.

    [*] I don't really give a rats ass how they classify Pluto--it's clearly a different type of body, and I'd be happy if they called it a Megacomet instead of a Planet, but the IAU's definition is still idiotic: there's no classification for bodies which don't orbit a primary, just to start with, and we can't tell if exoplanets are planets or not without going there, and most damning of all, they define Mercury as being more like Jupiter than it is like Ceres, which is simply brain-dead.

  • Re:!Chilean (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cenc ( 1310167 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @08:52PM (#29802639) Homepage

    Yea, the suckers are sufficiently stupid to fund our telescopes. We are getting some very nice hardware for nothing.

    It was holding one of the the clearest and most unpolluted skies over their head that made them cry uncle and beg to built it, and they just keep on coming. Not our problem they f***ed up their environment to the point that no one in the northern hemisphere can see the stars anymore.

    Just wait, in 50 years Chile is going repo those telescopes and charge by the star. It is all an elaborate plot by Chile to take over the Universe.

  • by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Monday October 19, 2009 @10:17PM (#29803289)

    We are collecting data points like mad and its not looking good for extraterrestrial life.

    This news is all about revising a term in the Drake Equation [] upward. That can't make ET life less likely.

    As for spectra, the vast majority of planetary IDs give no information about the planets apart from their orbits and masses. And as far as I know, the few spectra we have are for Jupiters, not terrestrial planets.

    So your dreams of bug-eyed-monsters are as alive as they ever were.

Forty two.