Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible. 

 

Peter Diamandis

Astronomers Figured Out How to Weigh Entire Planets Using Starlight

RATE THIS! +13
Posted in Science on 22nd Dec, 2013 05:27 AM by AlexMuller

Weighing a planet is a tough task. It’s not like you can just put them on a bathroom scale. And, while astronomers figured out how to measure the mass of planets in our solar system a long time ago, it’s practically impossible to weigh exoplanets. Well, it was until recently.

 

MIT planetary scientists Julien de Wit and Sara Seager just devised a method that enables them to weigh an exoplanet by measuring the starlight that shines through its atmosphere.  When an exoplanet passes in front of its star, it causes a blip in the amount of light that shines toward Earth. This is actually how we’re able to discover exoplanets in the first place.
 
Not all of the starlight zooms past the exoplanet, though. Some is actually filtered through the atmosphere, and by measuring the spectrum of that light, the MIT scientists are able to learn all kinds of things about the planet, such as atmospheric pressure, temperature, and gravitational pull. With that information, they’ve come up with a new method for calculating not just atmospheric chemistry but a planet’s weight and mass.

Tags: planetexoplanetspacestarEarthweigh exoplanets

Read original article » Back to category

Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+1
Great method. I assume that one had to have some idea what is an echo planet made of to be able to estimate its weight - they can use a combination of indirect parameters to do it
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+0
A new way to weigh the mass of distant alien worlds could help reveal key details about how friendly they may be to life- important to know Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+1
In the past two decades, astronomers have confirmed the existence of about 1000 planets outside the solar system and discovered more than 2,000 potential worlds. I agree that now, instead of just detecting these exoplanets, they need to analyze them in detail, helping answer questions such as whether they are potentially habitable.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-12-22
+0
So much emphasis in space exploration recently has been on possibility of colonisation - well why not? Reply
Reply


 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Business on 2017-12-14 01:48:06
    World Bank to stop financing oil, gas projects from 2019..read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-12-13 21:23:13
    Marijuana May Help HIV Patients Keep Mental Stamina Longer..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-12-12 23:15:37
    DeepMind Proves Its AI System's General Purposefulness..read more
    Posted in Software on 2017-12-12 23:04:47
    Blockchain's Boom Year: Job Market Grows 200%..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-12-12 22:55:41
    President Trump signs directive to return astronauts to.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Martian landscapes formed from sand 'levitating' on a little.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Scientists detect comets outside our solar system..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Advanced artificial limbs mapped in the brain..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Bacteria have a sense of touch..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Recurrent brain cancer: New hope with phase 1 clinical trial.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me