My Reaction Paper for Super Earth-Final

Topics: Extrasolar planet, Planet, Star Pages: 2 (556 words) Published: October 1, 2012
Denise Chow, Super Earth - 1 of 50 Newfound Alien Planets, Could Potentially Support Life ( Staff Writer, September 12, 2011) published an article about the latest development of discovery of more than 50 new alien planets — including one so-called super-Earth that could potentially support life which discovered by an exoplanet-hunting telescope from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Exoplanet or extrasolar planet that orbits a star other than earth's sun was observed from the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher instrument, or HARPS. By studying the properties of all the alien planets detected by HARPS so far, Astronomers found that approximately 40 percent of stars similar to the sun is host to at least one planet that is less massive than the gas giant Saturn. In other words, approximately 40 percent of sunlike stars have at least one low-mass planet orbiting around it. The newfound haul of alien planets includes 16 super-Earths, which are potentially rocky worlds that are more massive than our planet. One in particular - called HD 85512 b - has captured astronomers' attention because it orbits at the edge of its star's habitable zone, suggesting conditions could be ripe to support life. HD 85512b is orbiting the Sun-like star HD 85512 in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sail). It orbits a relatively nearby parent star 35 light-years from Earth and weighs the equivalent of 3.6 Earth masses and may be in the habitable zone around the star, where potential existence of water on the surface, and perhaps even life, could potentially exist. The HARPS spectrograph is part of ESO's 11.8-foot (3.6-meter) telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.  “The harvest of discoveries from HARPS has exceeded all expectations and includes an exceptionally rich population of super-Earths and Neptune-type planets hosted by stars very similar to our sun," HARPS team leader Michel Mayor of the University of Geneva in Switzerland said in a...
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