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back to article NASA spots the light of a ‘super-Earth’

While NASA’s Kepler mission has turned up plenty of evidence for planets in distant solar systems, the light from stars makes it very difficult to ‘see’ them. Now, in what the space agency is trumpeting as an important first, the Spitzer Space Telescope has detected the light emanating from a super-Earth planet called 55 Cancri …

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Anonymous Coward

See the term "super Earth" in my head, makes me think of a world far greater than Earth, a large awesome place where the Oceans are Badgers England Gold, the trees are made of chocolate logs, the animals wonder around ready cooked and invite you to feast on their tender flesh.

This just sounds like another crappy ball of super heated junk...

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Joke

See the term "super heated junk" in my head... ;)

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Joke

At least, whatever animal wonders there (from the permanent night zone, that is), is indeed ready cooked.

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like anyone's junk would become superheated if they pitched their space-tent on the hot side.

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Happy

"super heated junk"

A "New iPad" story ?

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Paris Hilton

AND EVERYBODY SPEAK ENGLISH

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Anonymous Coward

"AND EVERYBODY SPEAK ENGLISH"

Even the yanks!

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Trollface

"AND EVERYBODY SPEAK ENGLISH"

Even Big Dumb Guy 555!

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FAIL

artist impression is meaningless

Pics or it didn't happen

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Re: artist impression is meaningless

OK — here’s a fucking pixel for you.

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Joke

So - it's like Earth only the atmosphere, temperature and gravity are all lethal.

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Thus it does not merit the usual HGTTG entry and must now be regarded as "Mostly harmful".

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So ...

Just like New Orleans then ...

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Sounds like

almost any British city centre on a Saturday night.

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Not that bad......

Surface gravity would be twice earth normal (difficult to move but not impossible) and as the planet is steam and water, some type of giant sauna loving life form would be highly likely to have evolved there......

I suggest an immediate trade mission with a boatload of towels.

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Re: Not that bad......

After reading the article, actually more like 5g at the surface, so better make them towels for big fat aliens.....

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Thumb Up

Re: Not that bad......

Volume moves as cube of radius, so double volume means radius at a factor of cube root of 2, approx 1.25 times Earth's, and surface gravity is proportional to mass (8 X) over teh square of radius (approx 1.5). So yes, right second time, 5g is about right.

And 'super-earth' (used here) or 'Earth-like' (seen elsewhere to describe for example Gliese system planets) to describe a planet?? In my book, 'super-earth' means like earth, but larger, and 'Earth-like' means 'Earth-like'.

For 'Earth-Like' I would expect at least a solid surface, a temperature range close to that seen on earth (maybe -50 to 50 C), surface gravity from 0.5-2G . So this doesn't even fit the most basic criteria. After all, I wouldn't call Venus 'Earth-like'

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18 hours a year.

I don't know if I would be able to handle a New Year's party every 18 hours. If any intelligent life evolved over there, they are probably too drunk to realize it.

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Anonymous Coward

Everytime I now read one these reports I can't help but remember the radio comedy staring Nicholas Lyndhurst My First Planet, a perfect example of what would happen if we ever set off across the universe in search of new "lands"!

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Meh

"It could be very similar to Neptune"

So call it a "super-Neptune" then.

Oh, hold on, that wouldn't sound as exciting and wouldn't rustle up as many research-dollars.

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Boffin

The technique worked here, because a body heated to 2000K emits copious amounts of IR (and even visible radiation. Move an object of the same size to an orbit with a more hospitable (at least for us) 273-300K, or roughly 7 times cooler, the same surface emits 7^4 =2,401 times less radiation (or 8.5 magnitudes lower). That would make a super Earth at room temperature much harder to spot against the glare of the star.

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Alien

Surely with no rotation any atmosphere is a mighty wind from hot side to just past twlight where it permanently rains.

All life is on a thin pair of segments just at the edge of twilight.

Or maybe I misunderstand the description.

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If the same side of the planet is always facing the star then the planet is rotating.

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