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Two exoplanets in a tight orbital dance.

Two exoplanets in a tight orbital dance.

“These are the closest two planets to one another that have ever been found,” Agol said. “The bigger planet is pushing the smaller planet around more, so the smaller planet was harder to find.”

Orbiting a star in the Cygnus constellation referred to as Kepler-36a, the planets are designated Kepler-36b and Kepler-36c. Planet b is a rocky planet like Earth, though 4.5 times more massive and with a radius 1.5 times greater. Kepler-36c, which could be either gaseous like Jupiter or watery, is 8.1 times more massive than Earth and has a radius 3.7 times greater.

But wait, there’s more!

The fact that the two planets are so close to each other and exhibit specific orbital patterns allowed the scientists to make fairly precise estimates of each planet’s characteristics, based on their gravitational effects on each other and the resulting variations in the orbits. To date, this is the best-characterized system with small planets, the researchers said.

They believe the smaller planet is 30 percent iron, less than 1 percent atmospheric hydrogen and helium and probably no more than 15 percent water. The larger planet, on the other hand, likely has a rocky core surrounded by a substantial amount of atmospheric hydrogen and helium.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

2 comments

  • “The bigger planet is pushing the smaller planet around more . . . ”

    This is an outrage. It’s unconscionable in this day and age that solar system bullying is taking place. Every planet deserves a safe and secure orbit, free from fear of larger planets. Congress should pass a law requiring stars to furnish a haven for bullied planets, and require that bullying planets be sent to the local Kuiper belt until they’ve cooled down. We cannot stand by and just let big planets bully other planets. Bullied planets suffer from self-esteem issues their entire lives, and could become tidally locked-up, becoming a burden to their parent star. Please join me in contacting your Congressional representative, and encouraging them to introduce the Fairness in Orbital Occupation Law.

    I’d wager that, properly presented, you could get Joe Biden and at least a dozen Hollywood celebrities to sign on with this.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    LOL ! ! Sadly, you may be right about that ! ! Now, it’s also “funny” that those same folks don’t seem to have a problem with Barack Obama bullying a girl when he was in school, as he wrote about in one of his books… Hmmmm….

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