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Waspie_Dwarf

The "Mega-Earth"

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Astronomers Find a New Type of Planet: The "Mega-Earth"

Cambridge, MA - Astronomers announced today that they have discovered a new type of planet - a rocky world weighing 17 times as much as Earth. Theorists believed such a world couldn't form because anything so hefty would grab hydrogen gas as it grew and become a Jupiter-like gas giant. This planet, though, is all solids and much bigger than previously discovered "super-Earths," making it a "mega-Earth."

"We were very surprised when we realized what we had found," says astronomer Xavier Dumusque of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), who led the data analysis and made the discovery.

"This is the Godzilla of Earths!" adds CfA researcher Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. "But unlike the movie monster, Kepler-10c has positive implications for life."

The team's finding was presented today in a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

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Sounds ideal for todays bigger, fatter people.

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Sounds ideal for todays bigger, fatter people.

Quite the reverse would be true.

On a planet like this they would simply be crushed by the gravity, as would people with normal weight.

Bigger and fatter people would be much better of on a planet with a lower gravity.

On Mars for example, i would be below my ideal weight, instead of .... well you know.

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Any terrestrial multi-cellular organisms on the planet are, if they exist, likely to be slug-like and probably slimy to facilitate locomotion. So it would seem it may be a planet of politicians.

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If people could walk around on that planet they'd be 17 times stronger than us. I'd weight 3470 pounds. Might get my power level over 9000 :P.

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A great find! And an interesting article. That is what I love about the universe, as soon as one person dares to say 'no this is not possible'....the Universe turns around and goes 'oh you think so?' lol

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I suppose there could be mega moons then.

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Around the frat houses on Friday nights, sure.

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Quite the reverse would be true.

On a planet like this they would simply be crushed by the gravity, as would people with normal weight.

Bigger and fatter people would be much better of on a planet with a lower gravity.

On Mars for example, i would be below my ideal weight, instead of .... well you know.

I was only kidding, Grandpa. Being a science dullard I can only look on in admiration when NASA and societies like the AAS do their stuff as I don't understand the ins and outs of it all. I can assure you though that I am impressed by their work. :)

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I was only kidding, Grandpa. Being a science dullard I can only look on in admiration when NASA and societies like the AAS do their stuff as I don't understand the ins and outs of it all. I can assure you though that I am impressed by their work. :)

Grandpa approves of humour !

(i like to think i practice it in my posts too)

This is fascinating stuff with all those planets being found. Just 20 years ago we knew of no planets outside our solar system, now i seems like new ones are found every day and even better telescopes are in the pipeline :tu:

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I suppose there could be mega moons then.

That depends on your definition of a "mega-moon".

The first thing you have to realise is that this is a mega-Earth not a mega-planet. It has 17 times the mass of Earth, which makes it huge for a rocky planet but it is still a light-weight in planetary terms. It has about the same mass as Neptune. For comparison:

Planetary masses (Earth = 1)

  • Kepler-10c approx 17
  • Neptune - 17.147
  • Uranus - 14.536
  • Saturn - 95.152
  • Jupiter - 317.8
  • DENIS-P J082303.1-491201 b (most massive known exoplanet) - between 8453 and 9661*

* DENIS-P J082303.1-491201 b is so massive that it may actually be a brown dwarf not a planet.

Our Moon, Jupiter's four Galilean moons, Saturn's Titan and Neptune's Triton are all larger than Pluto. Ganymede and Titan are larger than Mercury. If they were in orbit around the Sun and not their planet they would be considered planets or dwarf planets. You could argue that these are already mega-moons.

There is also the issue of the fact that if a moon is sufficiently massive in comparison to it's parent planet you cease to have a situation where one is in orbit around the other. Technically one object does not orbit another any way, they orbit a common centre of mass known as the barycentre. In most cases the larger object is so much more massive that the barycentre lies close to that objects centre and so can be ignored. If the objects are sufficiently close in masses then the barycentre will occur in space between the two objects. At this point you no longer have a planet and moon, you have a double planet (this is the case with Pluto and Charon, with many astronomers arguing that Charon should not be classed as a satellite of Pluto but should be dwarf planet in it's own right). This rather limits the possibility of mega-moons.

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Posted (edited)

If people could walk around on that planet they'd be 17 times stronger than us. I'd weight 3470 pounds. Might get my power level over 9000 :P.

I wonder how many people got that reference.

Super_saiyan_2_goku.jpg

This is rather an incredibly huge rocky planet though.

Edited by OverSword
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Yes, I just read that. Amazing. They cannot figure out why it is not a gaseous planet due to it's size. Just amazing.

It just goes to show that our current level of science, while every day discovering and producing amazing things, is still immature and in it's infancy.

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It just goes to show that our current level of science, while every day discovering and producing amazing things, is still immature and in it's infancy.

Don't underestimate our current level of science, it may not know everything but that doesn't mean it knows nothing. This case is a good example, see below.

They cannot figure out why it is not a gaseous planet due to it's size.

This may not be true. At the same meeting that this was announced several other discoveries were announced too, including this one: "Neapolitan" Exoplanets Come in Three Flavors

That news release contains the following:

In addition, Buchhave and his collaborators discovered that the size of the largest rocky world isn't fixed. The farther a planet is from its star, the larger it can grow before accumulating a thick atmosphere and turning into a gas dwarf. This suggests that some super-Earths can grow into true monsters.
(my emphasis).

So whist one team were discovering this mega-Earth by observation another was using our current understanding to predict that such planets should exist.

Not bad for something that's immature.

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Posted (edited)

Don't underestimate our current level of science, it may not know everything but that doesn't mean it knows nothing. This case is a good example, see below.

This may not be true. At the same meeting that this was announced several other discoveries were announced too, including this one: "Neapolitan" Exoplanets Come in Three Flavors

That news release contains the following:

(my emphasis).

So whist one team were discovering this mega-Earth by observation another was using our current understanding to predict that such planets should exist.

Not bad for something that's immature.

Yes, meaning there is a lot more to learn. I realize that we know a lot, but the adage : the more you know leads to the more you know that you don't know. Of course, scientific infancy is my personal impression. Because we discover things that are amazing every single day, things we did not know prior. I suspect we will never exhaust adding to scientific knowledge. Modern, mainstream science is not complete.

Edited by regeneratia

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Posted (edited)

Now if they can find the "Mothra of Earths" they can duke it out to see who's the boss.

Edited by ancient astronaut
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Very cool,maybe there is some kind of life on this rock.

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maybe its just a normal sized planet compared to all the other yet undiscovered earth like planets out there and where just a mega tiny earth

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Article updated

Errors fixed.

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maybe its just a normal sized planet compared to all the other yet undiscovered earth like planets out there and where just a mega tiny earth

IOW, we are the Godzooki of planets?

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This planet sounds about right for my optimal aliens -- shaped like a coin, maybe three meters in diameter and half a meter thick, with hundreds of small feet or other protuberances holding it up and allowing locomotion, and a variety of orifices and appendages around its edge and on its top. The mass would be more readily sustained than anything on long legs and it would be able to see in all directions and move at will in any direction. It would need some internal structure but all short and squat.

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That depends on your definition of a "mega-moon".

The first thing you have to realise is that this is a mega-Earth not a mega-planet. It has 17 times the mass of Earth, which makes it huge for a rocky planet but it is still a light-weight in planetary terms. It has about the same mass as Neptune. For comparison:

Planetary masses (Earth = 1)

  • Kepler-10c approx 17
  • Neptune - 17.147
  • Uranus - 14.536
  • Saturn - 95.152
  • Jupiter - 317.8
  • DENIS-P J082303.1-491201 b (most massive known exoplanet) - between 8453 and 9661*

* DENIS-P J082303.1-491201 b is so massive that it may actually be a brown dwarf not a planet.

Our Moon, Jupiter's four Galilean moons, Saturn's Titan and Neptune's Triton are all larger than Pluto. Ganymede and Titan are larger than Mercury. If they were in orbit around the Sun and not their planet they would be considered planets or dwarf planets. You could argue that these are already mega-moons.

There is also the issue of the fact that if a moon is sufficiently massive in comparison to it's parent planet you cease to have a situation where one is in orbit around the other. Technically one object does not orbit another any way, they orbit a common centre of mass known as the barycentre. In most cases the larger object is so much more massive that the barycentre lies close to that objects centre and so can be ignored. If the objects are sufficiently close in masses then the barycentre will occur in space between the two objects. At this point you no longer have a planet and moon, you have a double planet (this is the case with Pluto and Charon, with many astronomers arguing that Charon should not be classed as a satellite of Pluto but should be dwarf planet in it's own right). This rather limits the possibility of mega-moons.

Waspie, you took all the fun out of it. For a minute I thought we found Krypton!

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What is the deal with the earth and moon? Is the center of gravity within the earth or outside it? I always thought of earth/moon as a sort of double planet considering, except for Charon, that the moon is so large relative to the earth than any other moon.

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Posted (edited)

If people could walk around on that planet they'd be 17 times stronger than us. I'd weight 3470 pounds. Might get my power level over 9000 :P.

No need. Train at 25x and achieve 2250. That's more than enough! :yes:

Edited by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR:

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Due to the fact that the force of gravity diminishes from the center of a mass as the inverse square, even a planet with 17 times Earth's mass should have only about 3.4 times the surface gravity of Earth, given a diameter 2.3 times that of our planet. A person weighing 75 kilograms on Earth should weigh about 255 kg on planet Kepler 10c. (170 pounds vs. 578 lbs.)

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