Planetary odd couple discovered
An artist's redndering of a view of an unusual planet orbiting Kepler-36.
June 21st, 2012
05:24 PM ET

Planetary odd couple discovered

The discovery of a planetary "odd couple" is broadening the way scientists think about planetary migration.

Scientists at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and University of Washington discovered two planets of very different sizes and makeups orbiting Kepler-36, a sun-like star under nearly continuous surveillance by the Kepler spacecraft.

"This is kind of an extreme system in that the planets are relatively closely spaced in their orbits but their compositions are quite disparate," said Josh Carter, Hubble Fellow at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who discovered the smaller planet.

"They're quite the odd couple."

The planet closer to Kepler-36, is thought to be small, rocky and not too unusual on its own accord. The larger planet is more puzzling to scientists. It has a gaseous atmosphere typically seen in outlier planets.

According to a report released detailing the discovery in the journal Science, the loss of light caused when the smaller planet orbits Kepler-36 is only 17% as large as the loss of the light that occurs when the larger planet crosses Kepler-36's path. The timing is also substantially different - so much so that the discovery was initially overlooked.

"What could have happened here is that the outer planet that's farther away from the star, probably formed farther away," Carter said. As orbital neighbors, he said they "stick out like a sore thumb."

Scientists are now trying to determine just how the larger gaseous planet ended up where it did.  In doing so they hope to better understand the environments in which types of planets can be formed or how they travel.

"It's useful to know because it weighs in on the prevalence of planets in the galaxy," Carter said.

Post by:
Filed under: Discoveries • In Space • Kepler
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. seo

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    April 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  2. Bamidele

    Great post, I believe wetisbe owners should larn a lot from this wetisbe its real user pleasant. My father always told me, Find a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life.' by Jim Fox.

    September 13, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  3. Louis

    uh!...i knew i should have taken the blue pill.

    June 30, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • The Hero Pablo Escobar

      As long as we don't waste American Taxpayers Dollars on this stupid space nerd-babble everything is good

      July 4, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  4. TU

    Gee wiz that's really interesting...

    June 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  5. rollins

    Dont bother going there, there are no 7-11's, no gas stations and NO Bathrooms! I had to hold it all the way back home!

    June 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  6. Spock

    Live long and prosper.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  7. seg58

    Well I knew we should have kelped going into space now we are going to be behind for the first time since the cold war.

    June 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • patrick

      We did not shut NASA down just the shuttle program. NASA is still working on deep space expolration while leaving near space to private companies (mostly US based).

      June 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  8. Matthew

    I can’t stop thinking that the gas planet is a fuel source moved close to the other planet by aliens! I love Science!!!

    June 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  9. MassiveMarbles

    Our science has no true understanding of the mysteries of space. It is inconceivable to us that there are unlikely anomalies that exist just as it is to some that extraterrestrials don't exist. We must work under the premise that the impossible is possible and that the unlikely occurs in every universe; otherwise, science as we know it will adhere to theories without room for advancement!

    June 22, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  10. YI

    So Planets Just Form Out Of Thin Air According To This Article, The Most Accurate Planetary Comment On CNN In A Long Time...Planets, Stars, People and Air All Created – Formed From Nothing By The Most High.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • eltroyo

      Your version just has a god appearing out of thin air. At least the scientific version is based on observation and testable concepts. I don't see how the 'creation' version is more believable.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • Julian Villacres

        The creation story from the Old Testament of the Holy Bible is meant to be taken out of context, you literalist. Clearly there aren't two lights under a sea being held back by flood gates. The people who wrote the Bible had no idea about science and would believe anything they thought. God doesn't want you to believe that the world under a dome, He wanted you to be smart enough to understand that it is not a literal belief that should be followed you as a human. Please re-read/read the Holy Bible and take it out of context, when it needs to be, and then you will truly understand what was meant to be said.

        October 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Glorifundel

      I think your referencing

      ""What could have happened here is that the outer planet that's farther away from the star, probably formed farther away," Carter said."

      Which is not the same as saying the planet magically appeared. This statement indicated that the planet likely formed in the way most planets formed, via gravitational pull caused by various masses traveling near each other.

      Either way, you are grasping for straws to validate your preferred belief.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • bigubu

      Did you read the article? Where does it say that the planet was formed out of thin air? Oh, by the way, if you read an accurate translation of Genisis it does not say "And God said let there be light." What it actually says is "God seperated the light from the darkness." But the Bible hyas mistranslated it. Interesting because the Big Bang theory states that before the big bang that there was a singularity, infinitely small with infinite gravity so strong that not even light could escape. Sounds like the Big Bang seperated the light from the darkness. Maybe Genisis was an attempt to describe the Big Bang with no knowledge of physics.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:36 am |
      • Knowmoststuff

        That is one of the best explainations I have ever heard. Thanks

        July 3, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • Julian Villacres

        You put your point across very well, but you have to keep in mind that the Big Bang THEORY is still a theory.

        October 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      So something appearing out of thin air is ridiculous to you unless there is a magical man in the sky that made it appear out of thin air? you should try using that thin thats above you neck

      June 22, 2012 at 10:39 am |
      • Julian Villacres

        What makes you think our Lord is just some magical man in the sky?

        October 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Portland tony

    I honestly believe that most of the grammatical/typographical errors we see in comments are caused by fat fingers on a 3" screen. CNN's errors, who knows?

    June 22, 2012 at 8:16 am |
  12. cpc65

    Is "outlier" even a word? Spellchecker doesn't seem to think so, but it's far from fool proof, as many fools have found out.

    June 22, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Scott

      In statistics, an "outlier" is a piece of data that occurs due to a random chance, and does not fit all the rest of the data. If you have significant information confirrming a trend, this outlier data can be ignored, as it may skew the actual results.

      For example, while measuring the weight of something, a fly lands on it (assuming it's really sensitive). You can cut that from the data so it doesn't mess with the experiment.

      In this case, they made a mistake, and it should be either "outer" or "outlying". They probably started typing one and changed their mind.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • Paul Hartzer

      "Outlier" is indeed a word. It's widespread in the field of statistics, where it refers to a datum point that falls outside of the expected pattern.

      So, ironically, the planet in question is an outlier because it's not an outlying planet. Not only is the word being used incorrectly, it's the opposite of its meaning. :D

      June 22, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Farscape

      World English Dictionary
      outlier (ˈaʊtˌlaɪə)

      — n
      1. an outcrop of rocks that is entirely surrounded by older rocks
      2. a person, thing, or part situated away from a main or related body
      3. a person who lives away from his place of work, duty, etc

      Pro-tip. Use a dictionary not spell check.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • Ari3s

        I believe that the use of the word is acceptable within the frame of thought in the article. This planet is not of the "norm" and therefore and outlier in that respect.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:45 am |
      • Lost in space

        Farscape, was a good series

        June 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • ptsdLOADING

      Words are created when published with a proper understanding of what it means. Ask the British, they will tell you that American words are b*st*rdized english.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Julian Villacres

      Okay. Give this guy a break. He or she was just confused.

      October 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  13. AgeofInsanity

    Given the number of heavenly bodies how can one say this is an unusual occurrence?

    June 22, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • Gaunt

      Silly question. It is unusual by the standard of those we have surveyed so far.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:05 am |
      • Julian Villacres

        The number of surveyed compared to the number in existence is relatively minute.

        October 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • John

      What's even more unusual is that so many gods are so interested in our little planet. When Jesus returns to Earth and unleashes his wrath (or any other god for that matter) it would seem the people who left for one of these Keplar-36 planets will be safe.

      June 22, 2012 at 7:21 am |
      • cpc65

        I think it's Kali's turn next. They all rolled D20s to see who goes in what order.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:02 am |
      • NOT MY CHAIR

        cpc65- i really hope you are right cause Bahamets turn will be awesome

        June 22, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Considering most of the universe is empty space, anything made of matter is not the norm.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:33 am |
      • Lost in space

        Not empty space; just less dense.

        June 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  14. Tom

    Do not support Willard Romney, he's ugly and his mother dressed him funny.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Dr. Joey

      It sounds like another bitter Obama supporter. Its funny because you have nothing good to say about Obama you have to bash the other guy.

      June 22, 2012 at 3:43 am |
      • Farscape

        They both suck.

        What now?

        June 22, 2012 at 8:21 am |
      • eltroyo

        Oh weird ...I didn't realize this was a political article. Damn my reading comprehension skills.

        To Both of you: We all have political opinions but please STFU on articles that aren't about politics.

        Thanks

        June 22, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • peter

      dr–im sitting out the gen election because i don't vote for mormons. I never have nor will vote for obumo. With that said, last place i thought i would be talking about that here.

      June 22, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Australopithecus

      Are you lost?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  15. Adan

    We need to put serious research on how humanity can transverse these vast distances between star systems. We do that...and we will realize that unlike flies and maggots we won't be restricted to the only resources within our immediate proximity..

    June 22, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • mickey1313

      The only way to do that, is to figure out how to bend space, or travel faster then light. Both far beyond us. Also untill all of the nations of the world stoping killing eachother, do you realy think we should spread the cancer of humanity to the rest of the world

      June 22, 2012 at 12:56 am |
      • RobbD

        I would agree with you ,that we are far from being model citizens of the universe, but wouldn't it be ironic that we were darlings, compared to what is really out there. Room for thought.

        June 22, 2012 at 1:17 am |
      • long wang

        You mean the rest of the universe?

        This self demeaning idea of equaling human race as some kind of disease is stupid. Those who think so should be truthful to their belief and commit suicide, because according to their belief, the world's a better places without them.

        June 22, 2012 at 2:25 am |
      • HZ

        before trying to figure out how to travel to another star system with livable planet...... maybe just maybe mankind should colonize mars and moon first lol....

        June 22, 2012 at 2:50 am |
      • mdmann

        @long_wang Wrong! it is a perfectly valid observation that there are serious problem in the human race, and that spreading beyond our planet might not be the best idea. It is a concept that has been explored and touched upon in science fiction as well among scientists.

        While you didn't profess a religious belief, your statement sounds an awful lot like the kind of statement a highly religious person would make. You seem to have some bias that the human race is inherently "of worth." Other species in the universe might take a very different view, and they might be in a position to annihilate us if they found us to be a sufficient threat with our petty behaviors and ideas. I think it is very prudent to consider that we may not be ready to explore beyond our small room, and other may not want us in their neighborhood until we "grow up."

        June 22, 2012 at 3:31 am |
      • Jokesterer

        The human race is the way it is because it works in the environment we have. It might turn out differently in some other environment.

        June 22, 2012 at 7:24 am |
      • Fn0rdz

        mdmann: If they're already going to annihilate us, then what's the harm in trying to survive? A "bias that the human race is inherently of worth"? That would be known as "survival instinct".... I trust that the vast majority of living organisms possess it. The fact that you are concerned about what other species might think of us already shows that we're mature enough to consider it.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  16. Dan

    There are mistakes in the article. We get it.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  17. AZWarrior

    I view communication as the sharing of meaning. While I have the greatest respect for the language, I don't let "errors" detract from the transfer of meaning in someone's comments. If all someone can say in reply to a comment is to point out spelling and grammar errors, then I consider their point of view to be irrelevant.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Eman de Riuqer

      @AZWarrior: So you're deeming as irrelevant someone's point of view, for deeming someone else's point of view as irrelevant? I think you've shown everyone an example of Zen Irony.

      Spelling and grammar are important, despite what you may feel. If you don't think the method of message encapsulation is important, consider how you'd feel if, before being wheeled in to have brain surgery, the surgeon (whom you've only just met,) says~

      "Well, I'll tell ya what I'm a gonna do. I'm gonna bore a hull in ya brain case, then use the toothy-cutty thing to take a chunk out. Then I'm a cut this gooey brain stuff, and get to the whatchamacallit. I pulls that back, and that's where ya's whatsis is. Ima remove the whatsis, and pack all the grey pink glop back in nice an tightlike, then my buddy gonna put that bit of ya braincase I done cut out back in, and we's a gonna sew youse up nice an pritty like. Ya'll ready? Yee haw!"

      You'd probably prefer to hear someone who speaks as though he or she paid attention during his or her education instead of playing "football" with a folded up triangle of paper. It shows attention to detail. I'll admit some great ideas are often poorly worded, and lousy ideas can be made to sound great, but on balance, someone who doesn't know how to spell, can't put a sentence together, more often than those who can, is also thinking sloppily.

      Discourse, like reasoning, is a skill you develop. People have known for a while, if you want to be taken seriously, you can't sound like an idiot. Some people might take you seriously, sure... However, here's the real issue for me:

      Why should I have to do YOUR job parsing a malformed collection of ideas, guessing in some cases what you meant due to ambiguous or incorrect word choice, and so on? YOU are responsible for the encapsulation of any message you originate, and want ME to receive, NOT me. As such, if you're sending the message in English, if you want the greatest chance of the message you intended to send being what gets interpreted from what was received, it behooves you to use standardized, (read as "correct") spelling and grammar.

      Otherwise you just sound like an idiot.

      As for you, AZWarrior, your apologizing for people who can't be bothered to use standard spelling or proper grammar is rather like someone insisting that we shouldn't be upset to find bugs crawling on the food we just ordered at a restaurant, after all, it's all protein. You can keep you bug-covered food, and praise the ideas and posts of those who can't spell, and can't put a sentence together, while those of us who studied in school laugh at them. On balance, good ideas tend to come from disciplined minds, stupid ideas tend to come from people who don't know what they're talking about because they haven't studied, and are thus uninformed. It's not universal, but it's usually true. The opinions of the uniformed are, if you'll pardon me, uninformed.

      Typographical errors (such as "teh" instead of "the") show haste and carelessness. Use of the wrong word, or completely mangled spelling shows apathy or lack of education. Typically, the uneducated are the ones who see no problem with someone lacking education. The educated will usually look down upon them with pity or disdain.

      You'll notice the educated typically rise to the top in any system, as knowledge is power, the uneducated skim the bottom. It sucks, but it's true all the same. An uneducated man is like a saw blade with no teeth, a hammer with no head, or a knife with no blade – nearly useless.

      If this post came off as offensive, so? Perhaps you should look inside yourself, and ask why you're offended. If it came off as elitist, well... blame my education.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
      • Eman de Riuqer

        Post Script: if anyone finds any spelling, grammar, punctuation, typographical or other errors or awkward usages in my rant about the importance of good writing, bear in mind I'm an amateur. I don't get paid to write this stuff. I'm not on CNN's staff. I don't represent a global journalistic organization, so as I briefly proofread what I've written before I hit the "Post" button, if I miss something, I think I can be forgiven. If not, oh well. It's not like they're paying me.

        June 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • CBH25

        Dude...

        June 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
      • HolisticPlanet

        "If we can hit that bullseye, then the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards... Checkmate."

        June 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
      • Rocco

        looser (yeah, I mis speklt it.

        June 22, 2012 at 12:09 am |
      • tarthethird

        Yes, your comment does come off as elitist, and no, it's not due to your education. It's due to your personality. There are many ways to emphasize your points (most of which are indeed valid) without belittling people. Get off your high horse and at least try to treat people respectfully, or you'll continue to sound like nothing more than a bigot.

        June 22, 2012 at 12:26 am |
      • CommonSense

        "You can keep you bug-covered food ..." –> uh oh

        June 22, 2012 at 1:10 am |
      • Robert Moseley

        Desierata states "Listen to the dull and ignorant for they too have a story." All of us are ignorant for without it we would still live in caves. There are three words a learned person knows. I don't know.

        June 22, 2012 at 1:38 am |
      • hartshwk

        ....or the typographical errors could be the result of fat fingers and a touch screen....

        June 22, 2012 at 1:53 am |
      • gumby

        Well g yoos gots a pirdy maouth!

        June 22, 2012 at 1:56 am |
      • baatman74

        Damned if this don't beat all, 100 comments and none go to the article, most comments here go toward other posters bad spelling or grammar...... Wow......

        June 22, 2012 at 2:46 am |
      • Chuck Norris

        Now is the time to take your Seroquel and take a little nap.

        June 22, 2012 at 6:25 am |
      • Australopithecus

        Nicely done. Agreed. People are so used to being lied to for the sake of hurting someones feelings with the truth that they do not know how to take constructive criticism. I would rather be corrected and learn from my mistakes than to be lied to and continue to be perceived as an uneducated dis-respected fool. Kudos.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:12 am |
      • ThePROFESS10NAL

        Eman, do you feel better about yourself now? I will have you know you're wrong. A truly intelligent person can receive a message for it's worth, regardless of how its written or "encapsulated". You've made the mistake in believing that paying for an education makes a person intelligent when, in truth, it's more of an indoctrination of conventional wisdom that has yet to progress the human race. You are proof that your own theory is wrong. If you were perceptive to the world around you; you may have picked up that its not always the "educated" that rise to the top – it's the well connected/networked and inherently wealthy people. There are plenty of uneducated, yet intelligent people in this world and I am sorry to say you aren't one of them.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:33 am |
      • JoeS

        "Well, I'll tell ya what I'm a gonna do. I'm gonna bore a hull in ya brain case, then use the toothy-cutty thing to take a chunk out. Then I'm a cut this gooey brain stuff, and get to the whatchamacallit. I pulls that back, and that's where ya's whatsis is. Ima remove the whatsis, and pack all the grey pink glop back in nice an tightlike, then my buddy gonna put that bit of ya braincase I done cut out back in, and we's a gonna sew youse up nice an pritty like. Ya'll ready? Yee haw!"
        -See you at the Tea Party convention, no doubt.

        June 22, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • U First

        Wow! U sure have a lot of air...I'm gonna go take a nap now.

        July 3, 2012 at 12:19 am |
      • RZ70

        And the winner for the most appropriate reply to the rant goes to.... Gumby. It's a must read. Find it. Laugh. Move on.

        July 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
      • Julian Villacres

        Tell me why you wrote a book for a simple comment saying that any replies about someone's grammatical/spelling errors should be ignored because they are just being picky? No one cares what they think. People make mistakes all the time, that doesn't mean that they should be crapped on for being idiots.

        October 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Fritz

      I know. I see it all the time. I guess it's easy for them to blow their horn by catching mistakes and castigating people for spelling and grammatical errors when they're anonymous. I think it's an ego compensation thing to want to constantly insult people on these blogs. The snarkyness does get tiring. I don't care about spelling or grammer here. It's not an english class. Just get the meaning across and I'm a happy cat.

      June 22, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • Andrian

      Possessing examine this I beveelid it absolutely was quite useful. I recognize you taking enough time and hard work to place this short article collectively. I when once again discover myself paying strategy to considerably time the two looking at and commenting. But so what, it absolutely was nonetheless worthwhile!

      September 13, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  18. Danny

    I quite like the shade of purple they gave the planet.... other than that....blah

    June 21, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Fritz

      I agree. Looks like a hellhole to me. Give me Mama Earth any day.

      June 22, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  19. D Rock

    Obama needs to stop pumping billions of taxpayers dollars into NASA and get his head out of the clouds. Then this kind of stuff wouldn't happen!

    Trump/Paul 2012

    June 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Noocrat

      NASA gets 20 billion a year, compared to Defense topping 1 trillion this year. Why do you hate innovation but love war?

      June 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
      • seg58

        I dont like war either but I still think we should be going to outerspace not fix it that we have to go though other countries to get where we want to go .
        Thanks to Obama nd his bdget cuts on N.A.S.A. we ay nerer be nmber one in space again.

        June 25, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • rammstein23

      This was discoverd at a university, not by NASA.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • HolisticPlanet

      Holy Scatology, Batman!

      June 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • brian

      nasa plays an undeniably central role in the survival of our species, not only because they pioneer new materials and technology, but because they have the best chance of getting us off this rock, which is the only thing that's going to keep this race from self-destructing. Until private space ventures and viable, NASA is essential to the growth and development of the human race. Let's cut spending on military, wars and imperialism first.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Lost in space

        I agree mostly with what you say. Survival of the human race does depend on us getting off this planet. There does need to be a balance between security and the future.

        June 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • victor

      NASA's budget for 2011 was 0.53% of the total federal budget. This percentage has basically decreased every year since 1991. In fact, NASA's budget as a percentage of the total federal budget has fallen steadily since 1966, when it was more than 4% of the total budget. In 1987, NASA's budget began increasing slightly, up to mid-1970s levels, before peaking in 1991, when the current decline started. So STFU.

      (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA)

      June 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • chrisnot

      What?

      June 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  20. ThisISmyname

    Train yer telescopes down on Earth if yer wanna see odd stuff!

    June 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Farscape

      Exhibitionist.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  21. HolisticPlanet

    Evidence of planetary engineering...A world out of time...?

    June 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • HolisticPlanet

      Only two planets, yielding a much simpler astrological system, and thus, a simpler, perhaps inherently dualistic psychological profile of the inhabitants of the smaller world (if extant). How truly Gemini...or perhaps somehow related to Janus (the Roman God of beginnings and transitions). Timely?

      June 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
      • Fn0rdz

        You're really reaching.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:18 am |
      • Farscape

        @Fn0rdz

        Thier name is Holistic, reaching is the name of the game.

        June 22, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  22. Brian

    It's possible that they were very much the same but the outer one has a magnetic field that shield the atmosphere while the inner one does not. Planets that are similar at start can have wildy different results based on magnetic field.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Toby Point Observer

      I agree that the CNN article leaves the reader scratching his/her head wondering what is unusual and significant about the discovery. I suggest that you read the abstract of the article in Science. Its explanation is much clearer.
      http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2012/06/20/science.1223269

      June 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Austin

      ...or maybe it has to do with the rotation of the galaxies. Think of it like a clock, where all the galaxies turn together and work together in the cosmos; while the planets and stars dance underneath their chemical layout. Perhaps you are right that it has to do with one having a larger magnetic field, and/or with the shifting/movements of galaxies that we cannot see this happening in real time. The center of the milky way is believed to consist of a massive black hole. Perhaps the energy of such a great source has caused this to happen hundreds to billions of years ago, but we have just seen this part of the observable universe recently.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Brian

      Thanks Toby, I wasn't able to access that but I read some other sources. The star is old and expanding into a red giant. With the very close orbits of both planets to their star and the age of this system, I could see that the magnetic fields of these planets countered by the constant blasting they must get from the star must play a significant role in their composition.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
      • Brian

        For example, let me just brainstorm here. What if every 90 days they get close to each other and their magnetic fields interact in a way that results in the nearer planet getting it's atmosphere blown off and onto the outer planet. Could you come up with a magnetic configuration that would result in an atmospheric transfer that happens over billions of years? That allows for them both starting with similar composition and similar magnetic fields but their fields are not aligned. If you assume the inner planet just has a weak magnetic field, given the orbital rate, it could be possible the outer planet would scoop up all of the atmosphere anyway. As long as it had a big enough magnetic field to retain it.

        June 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  23. Chris

    It is has a gaseous atmosphere typically seen in outlier planets.

    Turn grammar check on.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • RillyKewl

      Why? What's the error?
      I'm constantly finding typos + poor grammar on these blogs, site-wide on CNN.
      This article is no exception, but, what's wrong with the above sentence? Nothing I can see.

      June 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
      • RillyKewl

        Nevermind. It is has.
        I get it now.
        After writing that obnoxious comment (mine), I continued scrolling down.
        Now I'm embarrassed.

        June 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  24. justmeanddog

    I would love to join this discussion, but every time I throw stones, at the people outside, I break the walls of my house.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Farscape

      That’s what you get for living in a glass house. Even the three little piggies figured this one out.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  25. Dr Sleepytime

    blablabla , it's rather sad that the extent of your ability to contribute to this discussion is to post inane criticisms of other people’s typing errors. I also note from below that you don’t grasp the concept of sarcasm sufficiently to recognize a facetious remark. The commenter below is correct – this is not the correct use of the word outlier. This is poor work, son. If you have anything intelligent to contribute, please feel free to surprise me. I assure you, it will be a surprise.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • blablabla

      i really find it funny how you directly comment to me, when ALL of my comments were directed at people who used incorrect grammar while doing EXACTLY what im doing, except their corrections were directed at the author of the article.. sorry most people dont care about this enough to comment on it, and most would rather comment on the grammar mistakes, it truly is sad.. oh well, im not here to surprise you, sorry gramps

      June 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • blablabla

        and for the record, "LOL" is not the universal internet sign for "im being sarcastic", in fact it often means the exact opposite, and judging by his other posts, i just assumed he actually thought he was so smart and witty that it actually caused him to laugh.. sarcasm doesnt translate on the internet, and im shocked that someone possessing your immense intellect wouldnt know that! LOL .. hope you see what i did there

        June 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  26. commenter

    This is probably the worst article I'm seen here: The timing is also substantially different

    What does that even mean? Is it a reference to the duration of the transit? Is it comparing the relative times of occurances of transits? I would think that there would not be a large differect in the transit times or frequencies of transits if the orbits are close. (Unless, of course, Kepler had it wrong and is therefore not deserving of his own spacecraft.)

    June 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Dr Sleepytime

      Actually, there is a lot about this study that is very interesting. The good stuff isn't mentioned here at all. This is the headline story at space dot com. The writer's remark about timing probably refers to the orbital proximity. If one of my intro students had written this, I would assume that they had no understanding of the subject and they were just regurgitating facts with little perspective or comprehension.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Farscape

      This is an article on a news website not a science book.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  27. Arthur Dent

    I too cringe at the amount of mistakes in CNN articles these days. But it is what it is, and I'm saddened to see this board not discussing what any of this information could mean. Personally, I have no clue but see it as progress on researching our universe, finding more planets, and understanding the whole picture.

    Let us chill out on the apparent, obvious and painful mistakes, and focus on the content. Would you rather an English major who knows nothing of science write this, or a person who understands science but sucks at English?

    June 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Jeffrey Root

      I'm an English Major who also studies astronomy. Maybe I could write a better story

      June 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  28. Im Not a, riter, but...

    "The planet closer to Kepler-36, is thought to be small" <– no comma

    "It is has a gaseous atmosphere typically seen in outlier planets" <– It is has?

    "typically seen in outlier planets" <– this is not what outlier means (maybe you were looking for "more outly"? LOL

    June 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • cja

      The problem is that we don't PAY for these articles. So the author can't really be paid and they can't afford an editor. SO what we get is a story that is cut and pasted from some other place by some one who does not understand much of the science. We get what we pay for.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • blablabla

      hold on hold on.. LOL

      June 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Dan

      Get over it.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  29. Grill Raider

    These are all recycled articles used to fill up CNN's website, since they can't seem to decide what is news worthy. Today's headlines on this website... Zimmerman and Sandusky. Wow. With lots of historical stories at hand, they choose those. No wonder CNN's ratings are in the toilet.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  30. sam

    Does anyone have anything to say about the content of the article, or is it just going to be complaints, today?

    June 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Visiting Earth For The Summer

      Exactly!

      June 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Im Not a, riter, but...

      Just complaints, I think. But, since I'm interested in this topic, I'm going to go find an article that has some actual content. Having completed middle school, I find this one sadly lacking for my level of scientific sophistication.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
      • Im Not a, riter, butt...

        "I think" is just an informal was of saying "in my opinion". Troll much?

        June 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  31. Visiting Earth For The Summer

    As we discover more and more about the universe it will seem more amazing than we could of ever imagine. Some of the things we thought we knew, and had theories for will be proven inaccurate as we discover new things about the nature of space.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  32. OMG

    SSSSSPPPAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  33. fleurdelys

    HELLO, so many spelling and grammatical mistakes. Before you write about space, learn to spell on earth.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • GrammarPolice

      Earth should be capitalized in your post. Like Mars, Venus, Earth, etc. Proper noun. GTFO.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
      • Arthur Dent

        Proper noun is not a complete sentence Mr. Policeman :P :P :P

        June 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • blablabla

      truly amazing how people attempting to appear smart and correct grammar mistakes, somehow end up making simple mistakes and end up looking more stupid than the people they were trying to correct

      June 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • cpc65

        Such an example might even be not capitalizing the first word of a sentence and missing punctuation at the end of sentence? Here, just to show I'm not perfect I will go with the flow and mispel a word. Hey, how about them planets? Pretty neat, huh?

        June 22, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  34. brad1001

    It is has a gaseous atmosphere ... the timing is is also substantially different? Now I know that CNN is neither a science journal or a smart read .... but please, someone proof read this junk before it is put up on the site.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • EatA-D

      Please "proofread" your comment about CNN not proofreading. *Zing

      June 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  35. The Doctor

    Is it too much to expect a well written article? Monkeys with typewriters could have done a better job.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  36. victor

    Very poorly written article. Sounds half finished and poorly researched.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  37. Pete

    "The planet closer to Kepler-36, is thought to be small, rocky and not too unusual on it's own accord."

    The possessive of it is its, not it's.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  38. Dostoevskiac

    Can we have a grammar check on CNN articles please. "...their compositions are quiet disparate" Quiet? "The timing is is also substantially..." Is is?

    June 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  39. jrummy16

    "It is has a gaseous atmosphere typically seen in outlier planets." <– Who wrote this??

    June 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Steve Doty

      Someone who understand OUR solar system. Sience 101. Basics !!!

      June 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • BigSir

      Think Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune...Uranus

      June 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Moelips

      Steve and BigSir, look at the first three words and you'll see what jrummy16 is talking about. Grammatical, not content that he/she is pointing out. Don't feel silly...it is easy to overlook. BUT, proof it before you comment.

      June 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

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