More planets!

Here is the lead in from an article published on “Science Now” yesterday. (the news page for AAAS, I would post a link, but it is a subscription only page, sorry.)

I was going to put this into the other thread I started on extrasolar planets, but I couldn’t find it.


Three times. Wow.

“It is lucky for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

I still wonder just how firm these “discoveries” are. Remember, we’re talking about barely detectable glitches in the movement of the parent stars in question. More than once in the past they’ve announced the detection of extra-solar planets, only to go “whoops, never mind” after reviewing the data. Maybe they should say they’ve inferred the existence of extra-solar planets.

And while we’re at it, let’s make sure to say that we have inferred the existence of black holes, quarks, mesons, neutrinos, pink unicorns…

Wait, I did see a pink unicorn while I was drinking in college one time…

Yes, and I once got hit on the head really hard, and saw some neutrinos.

“That’s entertainment!” —Vlad the Impaler

Well, I believe these latest ones were seen as actual eclipsing of their star’s disc of light.

But, hey, ain’t the name of this forum General ???s? Vot’s der kveschun?


The thing to keep in mind is that they have only “seen” one planet. All of the rest or inferred from the wobble of the star. This requires a big planet close to the sun.

If the closest star to us [2nd closest if you count the sun], had a solar system like ours, we could not see/detect/infer any of it’s planets.

Imply is to state, infer is to understand. You could imply the existence. (Spelling is an all together different matter)

Swing, and a miss, Mark. I would ** imply ** planets if all I did was talk about them. If, on the other hand I was to measure, and evaluate the light emissions of a stellar object over time, and compare them to mathematical models of doppler shifting due to acceleration from non-radiating near objects, I might ** infer ** the existence of planets. I would more than likely eschew implications, and simply state the observations upon which I made my inferences.

After that I might be able to imply that you were a pretentious pissant, although you might not have the intelligence implied by my assessment that you could infer the insult intended in my implication.


Oh, and on a separate note:

Preliminary reports of observations of another reputed stellar companion object are being examined to ascertain if they support the claims by observers that the spectra include reflected light. This is still an unconfirmed observation, but the technique appears to be sound. If it is verified, it will be a planetary object “seen” to be orbiting another star.