Monday, March 24, 2014

Exoplanets: The Next Frontier?

Last night I watched the new science program Cosmos (a reboot of the popular show with Carl Sagan from 20 years ago). Now hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson, Ph.D., this Cosmos episode centered around planetary paths and how early scientists figured out the effects of gravity on planetary motion including Haley's Comet.

The mathematics and conclusions involved were amazing given the medieval times in scientific history and the squabbling astronomers involved.

Fast forward to today and we have a fantastic resource available for studying exoplanets and their details. The Exoplanet Data Explorer is an interactive table and plotter for exploring and displaying data from the Exoplanet Orbit Database. The Exoplanet Orbit Database is a compilation of quality, spectroscopic orbital parameters of exoplanets orbiting normal stars from the peer-reviewed literature, and updates the Catalog of nearby exoplanets. Right now there are 5,195 planets recorded in the data base. Check it out and let me know your favorite planets! Go science!

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