May 22, 2010
Join leading astronomers on a visual journey beyond our
solar system in search of planets like Earth.
Using CGI animation, weíll explore bizarre worlds that stretch our
imagination: planets with iron rain and hot ice, with diamonds
everywhere, and endless oceans of gas.
Planets with abnormal orbital patterns and planets with no pattern
at all that drift alone in the Milky Way. Planets so strange we
never could have predicted them before. Could life exist there?
In the search for another Earth, astronomers hope to discover other
terrestrial planets. These bodies may have a rocky terrain and may
even hold water on their surfaces.
The most Earth-like planet discovered thus far is
Gliese 581c, which
orbits near the area known as the habitable zone.
This elusive zone, also called the ďGoldilocks Zone,Ē lies between
the star and its planets, and may allow life to survive - it is not
too hot and not too cold - on the surface of a planet.
This is a compilation of Space Rip videos explaining the
nature of the worlds beyond our solar system (above video).
The first video talks about a star named
Fomalhaut, which supposedly
has a planet orbiting around it.
Fomalhaut is much hotter than our sun and 15 times as bright. In
fact, itís one of the brightest stars in our night sky. What makes
it so curious is the large ring of gas that surrounds it. The ring
is slightly off center from the location of the sun.
That suggests thereís a gravitational presence, a planet, thatís
distorting its shape. With a coronagraph in place to block the
starís light, Hubble zeroed in on the ring. Right there in the data,
it turns out, was a bump, perhaps a planet.
Hubble photographed this planet a second time, two years later when
it had progressed in its orbit. Based on the change in position,
astronomers calculated that it takes about 872 Earth-years to
complete an orbit.
The rest of the videos talk about the formation of the planets; how
solar systems and planets evolve; portrait of
Gliese 581; the beauty
of stars being born; NASA debunking the wacky 2012 claims; exo-planets;