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sensawunda korner - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2008-11-14 23:27
Subject: sensawunda korner
Security: Public
Location:the utility room in the sky
Mood:impressedimpressed
Music:genesis
Y'all have heard about this by now, but I felt my old soul go all fluttery when I heard that astronomers have finally taken visible-light photographs of planets orbiting a star twenty-five light-years away.
The three planets they've managed to capture in visible and infra-red orbit the star Fomalhaut, and obviously they're all gas giants rather than terrestrial-sized rocky bodies, but my god. When I was a kiddie what we knew about Mars was still educated guesswork, and now we're actually looking at planets orbiting another star. Land of wonders, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Land of wonders.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2008-11-15 00:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Isn't it wonderful!

Hey, I'm enjoying The Villages, fun novel! Love all the historical research you did about the Blitz, and Poland.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-11-15 00:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's the loveliest news story I've read all week - which wasn't hard, to be honest - the news has been full of pretty grim stories over here this week. I know it's not considered a planet any more, but Pluto was only observed by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. And now we can actually see planets around another star. I know they've been detecting exoplanets for a while now, but that's entirely different from being able to see them.
I'm currently bashing out a reply to your email about The Villages, which made me blush and shine in roughly equal measure.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-11-15 01:01 (UTC)
Subject: reality check

This is all much more wondrous than you imagine, because you're conflating two stories: all told, there are now four exoplanets to look, one of which is orbiting Fomalhaut and the other three of which are orbiting the star called HR 8799, which is in Pegasus.

For more info, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7725584.stm.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-11-15 01:18 (UTC)
Subject: Re: reality check
Many thanks, Paul. Let this be a lesson to everyone. Read the damn story properly before you post, no matter how excited you are. This is how malinformation starts in the `blogosphere.' Yes, one planet around Fomalhaut and three around HR8799. But, fuck it, it's a marvel wherever they are. Oh that we live in such times...
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Kat: rain
User: artykat
Date: 2008-11-15 01:20 (UTC)
Subject: Re: reality check
Keyword:rain
indeed. On both counts!
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-11-15 01:35 (UTC)
Subject: Re: reality check
Oh yes.
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RealThog
User: realthog
Date: 2008-11-15 01:37 (UTC)
Subject: Re: reality check

Yep. I got the story about HR 8799 and then, minutes later, the one about Fomalhaut -- a double whammy. They're still sraping bits of my mind off the wall.

Did you click for the larger pic of the Fomalhait illo on the Beeb page? If you do, you can actually see the little ball nestling there in spacetime . . .
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-11-15 01:48 (UTC)
Subject: Re: reality check
I did indeed click on the enlarged image, and I spent a lot of time this afternoon at work, when I should have been typing up an interview with Tim Pigott-Smith, just staring at the pic and sighing. What on earth must the sky look like from Fomalhaut b? In years gone by we had approximations from David Hardy and Chesley Bonnestell of what such scenes might look like, if there were planets out there. But now we know those planets are out there, no longer just theories or inferences drawn from the wiggles of their primary. They really are there, Paul, alien worlds, freighted with possibility. It's like building a telescope on the West coast of Ireland sometime in the 13th century and seeing Long Island. Extraordinary.
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mylefteye
User: mylefteye
Date: 2008-11-15 13:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When you read about discoveries like this, doesn't it make you yearn to be immortal. I want to stick around long enough to see what comes after, and then after that, and after that....
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2008-11-16 23:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, precisely!
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