Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Demotion

Just over a week ago, I had mentioned KOI 326.01 in a post. KOIs are Kepler Objects of Interest, possible exoplanets as yet unconfirmed. There is a wealth of information that the Kepler mission researchers must go through to confirm these things. Initially, as mentioned in my previous post, KOI 326.01 (glorious name isn't it) had high hopes being a relatively close, habitable zone inhabiting, Earth-sized, cream of the crop from Kepler's planetary harvest.

Well it's not. The researchers have made their way to make judgment of poor KOI 326.01, and it turns out it is not the planet it was pretending to be. Discover Magazine has the exclusive on it, so I am mostly just summarizing what their article says. The demotion of KOI 326.01 stems from an error in the cataloging of the planets. From my perspective, that means a grad student was up all night; tired and coding, they must have slipped up somewhere. Anyways, said fault means the properties determined for the planet are false. Even better, there is uncertainty about which star the planet orbits. There seems to be a fair amount of confidence that the planet does actually exist though.

It should be noted that this is NOT a failure. From the beginning these objects have been labeled of interest because the are 'planet candidates.' There was never any guarantee that the initial data would prove 100% correct, and that is why the researchers must sift through the data to find out what is real. It is all in the process of science. This one planet really doesn't effect a whole lot of the statistics that have been determined from the data thus far, such as the suggestion that 10% of stars have Earth-sized planets. I also said we would be hearing more about KOIs in the future, and this is just beginning. This will help future research know even better what to look for in the data.

I figured this was relevant and interesting enough to make an early post about, I'll have another one later today.


22 comments:

mac-and-me said...

Poor KOI 326.01, he gets a rename now?

BlowingInTheWind said...

Hmm i always thought it was a failure

Jesse Brooks said...

It's sad that that is the case. It's exciting to think that there could be another planet out there that humans could possibly inhabit one day.

This gives me that same feeling of disappointment that I get when I read sci-fi. Flying around in space planet jumping like it's an every day thing, may one day be possible, but surely not in my lifetime. It makes me wonder what the world will be like after we're gone.

This is probably the main reason I would be delighted to find that there's an afterlife, simply so I could watch the developing universe and the way humans negotiate the inevitable problems that are going to threaten their survival.

At least we can take comfort in the fact that we live in age where these thoughts are able to be nurtured and that we can see these things happening, no matter how far off they may be.

Devon Davidson said...

Ouch, that's too bad. I hope that grad student in question doesn't get demoted either.

Banacek said...

This post makes my brain hurt.

tearinox said...

finding another inhabited planet would be crazy

Chris said...

Very interesting

Alphabeta said...

The inhabitants of KOI 326.01 must be gutted.

Astronomy Pirate said...

The grad student will probably live on. And KOI 326.01 is still an object of interest, but might get a more official catalog number once more I known about it. Also, as far as actual names, I believe the international astronomical union is debating how exoplanets fit into the scheme of things. Whatever they come up with, it will likely be bureaucratic and silly. (Of course they aren't planets, they don't orbit the Sun, the are exoplanets.)

Aaron M. Gipson said...

I think it serves it right for impersonating a planet. Astronomers have enough on their plate to not have to stop when any upstart planetary body starts posturing like this!

I say we go to war....

Innovations said...

I, for one, believe in life on another planet. Why not?

Malkavian said...

so where already finding another planet to destroy huh. bout time since who knows how much this ones is going to last at the pace we are going

KUSHtunes said...

I was planning on buying property on good ol' KOI 326.01.

A said...

Aw this is great!

I wanted to study physics and perhaps astronomy in college but decided to fuck it and do engineering and maybe do astronomy later!

Maybe this blog will be a good in between haha...

KB said...

I say we call it Pluto 2.0

Alan said...

I'm not too sure if I want scientists to find another planet with life...

Torrent Watch said...

*sigh*

achunkypid said...

Well i just learned something

G said...

gutted :( I had high hopes

Chuck said...

I find alien life all over the galaxy (when playing Eve Online). And most of them want to kill me :(

J J Constantine said...

the question is not IF there are other inhabited planets out there. The question is WHERE. The probability that intelligent life has not developed elsewhere in the universe is ridiculously low... somewhere to the degree of .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%

Vegatron said...

interesting. That is one thing I love about science. Are there really ever any failures? If something is learned I think the answer is no...

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