Wednesday, September 16, 2009

First "hardtop" exo-planet!: I'm guesing Class B or E, maybe N?

Love it when our infant science keeps taking its baby steps toward the optimistic, expansive worldview of Gene's Trekland science ...

So here comes word today of the next baby step in our extra-solar planetary science: we've had planets confirmed before, but until this week they were all known to to be Jupiter-like gas giants. So now--meet one you can take a "giant leap for mankind" on: CoRoT 7b, our first known hardshell planet beyond Sol's own four. (Cue: "Rocky" theme ... if you get it ...)

For the big-picture terminologists, its star is currently named TYC 4799-1733-1, about 500 LYs distant; the "CoRot" comes from the CoRoT French/ESA surveying satellite that made the discovery, "CoRoT 7" being its own mission name for the star and "b" being the system's second planet ID'd.... and "TYC 4799-1733-1 I" being just a bit on the clunky side.

(The art, BTW, is an artists's official rendition of "CoRoT 7b").

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