Humans have always explored the unexplored. Reaching new heights in the lands, the seas and the skies. Now we reach for the next frontier, space. Explore five interesting new planets outside of our solar system.
For all of human history we have been exploring the unexplored, from discovering new lands to the seas and to the skies. Now as we have conquered those challenges we are presented with our next goal, space. In it is filled with billions upon billions of galaxies, stars and even other solar systems. Planets that roam their parent star outside of our own system are called extrasolar planets or exoplanets for short. Here are 5 of my favorite exoplanets discovered up to date.
First siting – Pulsar PSR B1257+12A
Located 1000 light years away from our sun PSR B1257+12 became was the first confirmed detection of a pulsar with several large masses orbiting it. It was later confirmed in 2007 that 3 exoplanets (with masses of 4.3x, 3.9x, and 0.02x the mass of our earth) orbit the pulsar.
Fun Fact: Pulsars are rapidly rotating neutron stars.
2 incredibly close orbits – star Kepler-36a
Located 1,200 light years away, the star system Kepler-36 and 2 of its orbiting planets have been striking a craze recently, why you may ask? Because these 2 planets have very dangerously close orbits, so much that the gravity from the 2 planets Kepler-36b and Kepler-36c would have significant tidal forces on each other (if either of them had any large bodies of water on them, like oceans or seas). Kepler-36b is a large terrestrial planet with 4.5x the mass of the earth also known as a super Earth. And Kepler-36c is a large Neptune like gas planet 8 times the mass of our planet. Every 97 days or so the 2 planets would synchronize with each other and will get as close as 1.9 million kilometers, or about 5 times the distance from the ground to the moon. Although 1.9 million kilometers may not sound anything short of a long way it is 20 time times the distance from our planet is Venus at 39 million kilometers away. But if all these numbers are too difficult to imagine (and I sure bit it will be especially because it is in the metric system). Here’s a photo-shopped picture of how the skies may look from the surface of rocky super Earth Kepler-36b.
Fun Fact #2: Super Earths can be classified as any rocky planet with a significantly higher mass than that of our earth. So the planet Kepler-36b has a mass of 4.5x that of our Earth, so it can be classified as a Super Earth; however Kepler-36c cannot be a super earth, although it is 8 times the mass of our earth, it is a gas planet.