Find Another Name!

June 19, 2012 at 7:35 PM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, historic review, science and technology, social opinion) (, )


The more that I view information about some of the latest studies regarding discoveries within outer space, the more I find myself upset with this particular term for a classification of extrasolar planets.  I have to admit to a growing disdain for the term Super Earth.  I find it to be highly misleading, accompanied by disappointing, after reaching an understanding about that to which the term refers.

You may find yourself studying information about some of the recent discoveries within outer space, and you might run across this term that is being used to label a group of worlds beyond our solar system.  The term itself teases with the suggestion that planets in various locations of spacetime have been found, and that they have intriguing similarities to our Earth.  Well, that is not the case.

Super Earths are defined as such because they have masses which are near to that of our Earth.  A Super Earth might be a world that is anywhere between twice as massive, up to ten times as massive as our planet.  The world could be a gas giant, or an ice giant, yet it is nothing actually akin to Earth.  There are no trees, no rivers, no animals, and certainly no people.  Due to that glaring omission of necessary ingredients, I believe that the term “Super Earth is at least inaccurate!

When astronomers and scientific researchers are describing newly identified worlds as Super Earths, they are not talking about these worlds having any immediate similarities to our home planet.  Nothing has been discovered on these distant planets that would seem to equate them physically to Earth.  Such a world could be capable of sustaining water, and it could exist within the orbital habitable zone of it’s solar system.  Yet, it is not a planet that harbors any super-sized San Franciscos, colossal Cairos, or titanic Tokyos, and certainly, nothing is alive there!

The first Super Earth worlds were identified in 1992.  Two astronomers, Dale Frail and Aleksander Wolszczan, identified planets that orbited a pulsar labeled as PSR B1257+12.  These worlds actually exist in the remnants of a solar system, as their star went supernova.  They are situated within our Milky Way, as remaining residents of a planetary system that contains at least four planets.

This system is located roughly 1,000 light years from our solar system.  It is situated within the constellation Virgo.  Researchers have discerned that the system is roughly 800 million years old.  The star PSR B1257+12 was discovered in 1990 by European astronomer and Pennsylvania State University professor, Dr. Aleksander Wolszczan.  The radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory was used to identify the star, and it’s surrounding planets.

The pulsar planets PSR B1257+12 b, c, and d are all that remains of a dead solar system. They are constantly beamed with intense radiation.

SEE THESE SITES!!!

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/exoplanetHouseOfHorrors.html
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599.2106061,00.html
http://www.pcworld.com/article/249398/new_superearth_discovered_just_22_light_years_away.html
 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/02/120202-new-planet-super-earth-habitable-zone-life-space-science/
http://www.solstation.com/planets/super-earths.htm  
 http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/super-earth-found-orbiting-distant-star-liquid-water/story?id=15506125
http://news.discovery.com/space/fomalhault-exoplanet-weird-discovery-orbits-120413.html

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