Monday, August 25, 2014

Planet Hunter and how to find an exoplanet

Wobble is the key to finding an exoplanet. See a quick video here:

Here's my poem about finding exoplanets.

Planet Hunter

Wiggle wiggle remote star.
Show astronomers where you are.
Point the way red, yellow, white.
Which strange atmospheres hold life?

Astronomer GM-44 nods near sleep,
shifts in and out of consciousness,
divines an outmost system’s planet. 
On his desk an open catalogue of stars.
He blinks and drifts, recalls star notes:
‘I search one hundred billion stars …
for the precise conditions that reveal
new planets every month.’
Orbs pull, stagger, ripple,
give away their secret,
teetering stars own real estate.

Oh Milky Way
flash your spiral breast,
expose your tottering suns
so planet hunters may detect
new worlds by gravitation.
Newton's principle spins.
The star that wobbles wins.

GM-44 finds new planets
around two new stars, promises
countless more in alien worlds.
A perfect planet circles Star 70 Virginus,
promise of life in abysmal oceans.
Her moons blossom as large as Mars,
she tempers her seas to a tepid nursery.
Electric nights seed protoplasts.

Charmed errors point the way.
Earth’s sun waggles for her planets.
Our solar system is unique and rare.
Where else to search for exotic life?

Patricia L. Johnson

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