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Journalistic Science to the rescue!!!

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Mithrandir

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God I hate journalism.


So, basically the article is saying that it's so weird that every planet we're detecting has a highly eccentric orbit, and that they are always more massive than Jupiter.


Why is this weird? It's only weird to someone who doesn't understand how we detect the planets; ie: journalists.


At these far distances, it's almost impossible to visually detect a planet. The light is just so faint that it's a ridiculously small chance that we'd actually observe a planet visually. Last week we observed one visually for the very first time; but only because we found it by other means first and then pointed the Hubble at it.


So we detect these planets by calculating how much "wobble" they cause in the stars that they orbit. Laws of gravity say that the more massive an object, the more gravitational effect it will have on things. So it's not a big surprise that we're finding huge planets this way; it'd be much much harder to find small planets.

Not only that, but huge planets with highly elliptical orbits cause even more irregular wobbling; and are thus much easier to detect.


Q: Why are we only detecting huge planets with highly elliptical orbits?
A: Because using our current means of detection, those are the easiest kinds of planets that can be detected. It in no way signifies that huge-highly-elliptical planets are the cosmic norm, as this journalist implies.


Bonus Answer: Maybe even our observations are flawed, and what we think we are seeing isn't what we are actually seeing.
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Quote:
It's only weird to someone who doesn't understand how we detect the planets; ie: journalists.
I think you may be overestimating the current scientific mind pool. Journalists know that by saying 'weird' and 'strange' they can gain someone's interest in the subject. You are right the article says WOW all planets we have discovered have the same kind of orbit. But hey! If I'm having a conversation with an average Joe and they know that much about current science then I'm generally impressed enough to keep talking and fill them in on the rest. Come on this is not a smart country...look who we elected for President...twice.

Maybe you shouldn't use the word 'God' as the starting word for a scientific entry. [smile]

...Sorry. I'm in a mood.

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...the more massive an object, the more gravitational effect it will have on things


You must obey gravity! It's the law!

-IV

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