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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

More fascinating stuff.
A neat roundup of interesting worlds recently discovered. 
As always I'm amazed at the information we can extract from better measurements.

-------------------------

From Blastr:

Astronomers only started discovering planets outside our solar system two decades ago. Yet they're already finding planets freaky enough to house the lairs of supervillains. Here are nine planets so out this world, they make Tattooine feel as ordinary as Tunisia.

1. Diamond Planet

If we're all atoms underneath the fingernail of a giant, this planet is what that giant wears on her engagement ring. Putting literal meaning to "like a diamond in the sky," scientists in August discovered a distant planet that is a diamond. We don't mean "the surface is covered in diamonds," nearly the whole rock is one big sparkling gem. The planet is larger than Jupiter, which makes it slightly larger than our minds can comprehend.

The speculated formation of this body is quite epic. Once a massive star, layers were pulled away by a nearby pulsar. Finally, all that was left was the extremely dense inner core of a star. Which just goes to show if you polish anything long enough it always becomes a diamond.

2. Dark World

750 light-years away lies a planet that is darker than a piece of coal and less reflective than black acrylic paint. Planet TrES-2b is another of the many amazing finds made by

absorbent chemicals and a lack of reflective clouds, scientists have no firm idea why it is so dark.

As if finding a planet that is so pitch-black it baffles the finest minds in science isn't creepy enough, the planet is also glowing. Like a charcoal briquette on a barbecue grill, planet TrES-2b is so hot that it constantly gives off a slight red aura. The nearby star that it orbits heats the planet's surface to almost 2,000 degress Fahrenheit. Scientists have not yet discovered whether nearby planets have a distinct char-grilled taste.

3. The Land of Two Suns

Imagine two giant, fire-bursting stars orbiting each other closely. Now imagine an alien planet doing a full orbit around these spinning stars. Now imagine the psychedelic music of Pink Floyd blasting throughout this galaxy, and you'll understand why Kepler-16b is such a mind-blowing planet. It is the only planet of the hundreds discovered that travels around two suns.

How did this one-of-a-kind orbit happen? Since all three bodies remain in the same plane, scientists believe they formed at about the same time from an interstellar disk of dust and gas. The temperature on the planet is well below mind-numbingly freezing, so don't get any hopes up of finding the savior of the galaxy here.

4. The Speeding Giant

Continue here.

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Replies to This Discussion

The stories which comprise the collection Quest of the Three Worlds by Cordwainer Smith:

  • "On the Gem Planet"
  • "On the Storm Planet"
  • "On the Sand Planet"
  • "Three to a Given Star"

The real life planets seem to be even odder than the SF planets.

We have yet to find a ringworld.

I love the Dark World.

Awesome!

coolio.

too way out !!!!!!!

Hey, with global warming we may make earth into DUNE?

Fremen all, a warrior planet. But then it already is, eh? =)

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