Space.com reports that a new planet has been photographed orbiting a star. Unfortunately it is 300 light-years from earth. A light year, as we know, is measure of the distance that light travels in a year, moving at 186,000 miles per second. Light clocks in at 670 million miles per hour. So light travels 5.9 trillion miles in a year. If a ship could move at the speed of light, which is impossible under the law of relativity, it could reach the new planet in only 600 lifetimes. Not too long except that an object would need an infinite amount of energy to get up to the speed of light.
On June 3, 2013, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) made an infrared snapshot of a gas giant circling a young star named HD 95086. Scientists have had to photo shop the planet by removing the star. The planet is a bright blue dot at the bottom left of the picture. This violates the photographic principle of placing the subject in the center of the picture.
Fox news said that the telescope, located in Chile, is called the Very Large Telescope. And it has found a very large planet. The gaseous giant is four or five times the mass of Jupiter. And Jupiter is the biggest planet we have. And yet this is the least massive that has been detected floating outside the solar system.
According to the Huffington Post, the scientists discovered the planet have nicknamed it “Einstein’s planet.” Tsevi Mazeh of Tel Aviv University in Israel, a member of the team, said that it is so designated because Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity predicted a “beaming” effect, in which light from the parent star brightens as its planet pushes nearer and dims as the planet pulls it away. Relativistic effects cause light particles, or photons, to gather and focus in the direction of the star’s motion. For the first time, scientists used Einstein’s theory to discover a planet.
Gravitational tides from the orbiting planet cause its star to form a football shape, such that it is brighter when its wider side faces us, revealing more surface area. It helps that the planet itself reflects a small amount of starlight, allowing it to be distinguished from the star.
Although this is the newest planet in town, it is not the first one that has been discovered by earth scientists.
The BBC News reported in April of this year that NASA found two planets, slightly larger than Earth that orbit a star 1,200 light-years away. They are the proper size and distance from their parent star to have water on their surfaces, making them the most habitable planets we have seen outside our solar system.
Astronomers have picked out more than 800 planets orbiting nearby stars in recent decades. Most of them have been either too hot or too cold for water. Water is regarded as an essential ingredient for life on other planets.
But Space.com NASA’s says that Kepler space telescope launched in March 2009 to look for Earth-sized planets that could support life (as we know it), has spotted more than 2,700 objects that could potentially be planets.
According to USA Today, last Thursday NASA released findings regarding the discovery of three more planets orbiting a nearby star, Kepler-62, thanks to the Kepler space telescope. They are 1000, 200 light years away from loss. These are the best examples of planets like Earth planets orbiting a star like our sun. They are in a relationship two the star that makes them potentially habitable, says astronomer Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution for Science. The star is slightly smaller than our sun so the livable zone they occupy can be closer for comfort. These two planets circle their sun in 122 days and 267 days respectively.
The planets are 1,200 light years away.
So the newest planet in town may be the closest one.
The Kepler-62 planets may be covered with anything from solid to water, says astrophysicist Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington. Other scientists maintain that these worlds are probably covered with water.
But it is not likely that any of these planets could support a human life. Lisa Kaltenegger of the Max Planck Institute opines that these planets could have oceans, suggesting life, but they would not have access to metals, electricity or fire. Thus they could not be technology-based.
But they could house creatures that would eventually climb out of the water and onto land, as they did on Earth.
Julien Rameau, an astronomer at the Institute of Astrophysics and Planetology in France points out that direct imaging of planets is an extremely challenging, whether the telescopes are ground-based or in space. The process requires the most advanced instruments and technology. (BBC Mail Online).
The newest planet in town is not able to support life as we know it on earth. But there are obviously plenty of planets that could.