Astronomers Discover Planetary Odd Couple

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  1. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Astronomers Discover Planetary Odd Couple
    06.21.2012 Planetrise: An artist's conception shows Kepler-36c as it might look from the surface of neighboring Kepler-36b.
    Image credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics/David Aguilar.

    Astronomers have discovered a pair of neighboring planets with dissimilar densities orbiting very close to each other. The planets are too close to their star to be in the so-called "habitable zone," the region in a system where liquid water might exist on the surface, but they have the closest-spaced orbits ever confirmed. The findings are published today in the journal Science.

    The research team, led by Josh Carter, a Hubble fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., and Eric Agol, a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington in Seattle, used data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, which measures dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, to search for transiting planets.

    The inner planet, Kepler-36b, orbits its host star every 13.8 days and the outer planet, Kepler-36c, every 16.2 days. On their closest approach, the neighboring duo comes within about 1.2 million miles of each other. This is only five times the Earth-moon distance and about 20 times closer to one another than any two planets in our solar system.

    Kepler-36b is a rocky world measuring 1.5 times the radius and 4.5 times the mass of Earth. Kepler-36c is a gaseous giant measuring 3.7 times the radius and eight times the mass of Earth. The planetary odd couple orbits a star slightly hotter and a couple billion years older than our sun, located 1,200 light-years from Earth



    For information about the Kepler Mission, click here.
    NASA - Astronomers Discover Planetary Odd Couple
     
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    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012
  2. daveman
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    daveman Diamond Member

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    I'll bet -36b has some wicked earthquakes when the two planets are close.
     
  3. CrusaderFrank
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    CrusaderFrank Diamond Member

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    Which one is Felix?
     
  4. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Some cool things are being found...Only a matter of time before a earth like world is found.
     

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