Friday, June 1, 2007

Another New Extra Solar Planet Discovered

Will these series of newly discovered planets renew the public’s interest on astronomy, or allow the US Congress to increase funding on astronomical research?

By: Vanessa Uy

A new Neptune-like extra solar planet with a thick layer of water. As gas giants go, this planet is a class of it’s own because jovian (Jupiter-like) gas giants usually don’t have abundant water. The team of American astronomers who discovered the new planet almost “jumped out of their clothes” in excitement on the discovery. Instruments show the planet to have a rocky core. Spectroscopic anomalies on the planet’s angular momentum show the planet to be covered entirely by a large ocean of liquid water.

The inherent difficulty of finding planets outside of our own solar system makes such discovery a vindication that our latest generation of astronomical instruments such as telescopes really work. The series of newly discovered planets, a number of which only slightly larger than Earth renew humanity’s hopes that there is life elsewhere in the universe.

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