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- This topic has 3 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 6 years ago by Richard Miles.
23 February 2017 at 2:21 pm #573703Peter MulliganParticipant
What a wonderful discovery yesterday of the Earth sized planets around the red dwarf Trappist-1. But already I’ve seen in the media, of them being referred two as Earth like! Even sometimes in the scientific literature they use this term loosely.
I certainly hope that at least one of them as the right conditions for liquid water and perhaps life. But until at lot more study of these worlds and all the others out there, as determined more accurately what conditions exist there: Surely they should just be called earth sized.23 February 2017 at 7:10 pm #577966Paul Anthony BrierleyParticipant
I agree Peter.
The media always like to sensationalise, astronomical discoveries, just for the sake of fooling the public.
I think this is fascinating. Is there water on one, of those Earth sized planets? Who knows. But I hope so.26 February 2017 at 1:38 pm #577977Andy WilsonKeymaster
This is a fantastic discovery, a system with 7 Earth sized planets! I expect we will learn some of the real science behind this discovery and the future research of this system at the Winchester Weekend. Prof Didier Queloz is giving the Alfred Curtis Memorial Lecture, and he is one of the authors of the Nature paper announcing this latest discovery. Brilliant timing by the meeting organiser!
I agree the media tends to get carried away, and social media even more so. It is a shame as I think the hype can miss the excitement that we do not know everything yet. So there will be lots of discoveries along the way as we learn about this planetary system and others which are no doubt waiting to be discovered.
Andy3 March 2017 at 10:11 pm #578001Richard MilesParticipant
Hi Paul, Peter and Andy,
Trappist-1 and its system of at least 7 planets is fascinating. Yesterday we held our second BAA/UCL exoplanet workshop in London and I finished the day able to read Gillon et al.’s 2017 paper in the journal Nature on the subject. Shame that I am away in Australia and so not able to attend Winchester Weekend.
I think I may have seen Didier Queloz in 1991 when I participated in a French-language workshop at Haute Provence Observatory – I was working in France at that time. The astronomers had plans to build a new high-res spectrometer for the telescope there with a view to detect planets by the radial velocity method: this led to the ELODIE spectrometer in 1993. People thought that they were ambitious at that time. Michel Mayor was also involved and Andre Baranne was the main protagonist at OHP.
As to the question of liquid water: despite not yet measuring its presence directly, we can infer it should exist on one or more of the Trappist-1 planets. H2O is a very common constituent in the universe and almost certainly should exist as a liquid somewhere on one or more of its planets!
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