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Old 17-02-2011, 08:32 AM
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CraigS is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Australia
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Exoplanet Environments

Well, following up on the Kepler 'Candidate' planets - 54 possibly in the 'Habitable Zone', comes this interesting article which asks the question:

"How do we determine the nature of the environments on the exo-planets ?"

Violent storms on alien planets

With this abundance of newly discovered planets, the question as to the exact structure of these objects and the conditions prevailing on them naturally arises. This is a field of research still in its infancy and shrouded in speculation, since the information that can be derived directly from measurements is severely limited. For example, astronomers can only indirectly infer whether a particular exoplanet has a solid core and how thick its atmosphere is.
Nevertheless, a few things can now be said about these exoplanets, [says] Kevin Heng …
He explains that, “We are in a difficult situation. We cannot use direct measurements to verify the calculations we make, nor do we know per se whether our modelling strategies are correct at all.”
He has developed a model which can replicate conditions in Earth's atmosphere 'correctly' and can also produce similar results for the exoplanets he studied. And they say his calculations are, at least, in same order of magnitude based on absorption line frequency shifts.

.. A good effort, and another small step in the right direction, in my opinion.

But let's not forget the extraordinary diversity of exo-environments, as supported by direct evidence from our our own solar system observations. How do you incorporate that in a model ?

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