Re: smallest planet to date found

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Wed Aug 25 2004 - 18:04:17 EDT

On 8/25/04 5:17 PM, "Bill Yates" <> wrote:

> No, Howard--
> Our own planet Neptune is not visible to the naked eye. This one is 50
> light-years away. Planets are seen by reflected light and are thousands
> of times dimmer than the illuminating star. Even if somehow the
> illuminating star were not there and the planet were as bright as if the
> star were there, you still couldn't see it with the naked eye. In fact,
> it took a very sophisticated instrument on a very large telescope to
> discern its existence.

Well, so much for my attempt to allow the possibility that the journalists
got at least part of the comment right. I was holding out for the
possibility that a Neptune-sized planet VERY close to the parent star (as
this one seems to be) might be bright enough to make naked eye visibility
(absent the star) remotely possible. I didn't do any computation to check it
Received on Wed Aug 25 18:59:30 2004

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