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Monday, June 10, 2019

astounding astronomy ~ the sky beckons .. exoplanet !!

A planetary system is a set of gravitationally bound non-stellar objects in or out of orbit around a star or star system. Generally speaking, systems with one or more planets constitute a planetary system, although such systems may also consist of bodies such as dwarf planets, asteroids, natural satellites, meteoroids, comets, planetesimals and circumstellar disks. The Sun together with its planetary system, which includes Earth, is known as the Solar System. The term exoplanetary system is sometimes used in reference to other planetary systems.As of 1 June 2019, there are 4,071 confirmed planets in 3,043 systems, with 659 systems having more than one planet.

Belgium, is a country in Western Europe,  bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France and North Sea.  The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.The sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Historically, Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that also included parts of northern France and western Germany. In the past few centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars. The country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution when it seceded from the Netherlands.

Determined not to teach by precept alone, 256 researchers on environmental issues from all Belgian universities announced on Monday that they have decided to lead by example and change their habits for the planet’s sake. Under the slogan #WeChangeForLife, the researchers have put their efforts and testimonies together on an Internet site to form a source of inspiration accessible to all and to draw the attention of political decision-makers.“To change the world, you have to begin by changing yourself,” is the message they have sent out to the public, as experts but also as citizens “like everyone else”. Their aim? To show that everyone can be an actor of the ecological transition through simple daily gestures.

“A first solution accessible to all and good for the pocket is to consume less and better,” the researchers suggest. Cathy Macharis, a professor in sustainable mobility at the VrijeUniversiteit Brussel (VUB), said she issued a challenge to herself last year: to buy no new clothes or shoes for a year.The textile and fashion industries require, in fact, huge amounts of water and they also have an enormous environmental impact in terms of producing greenhouse gases and waste, according to various reports published in recent years.A second solution, the environmentalists say, is to eat less meat. “In Wallonia, less than 10% of the cereals produced on our lands is destined to be eaten by humans, whereas almost 50% is used to feed the animals we feed on,” they point out.

Transport, isolation, renewable energy, waste management and awareness building are also among the issues raised in the testimonies that can be read on the site. The contributors, experts in climatology, geology, law, psychology and history, also described the difficulties that beset their efforts, “some of which will be resolved only by political decisions taken at the level of our society.”

An exoplanet planet is a planet outside the Solar System. The first evidence of an exoplanet was noted in 1917, but was not recognized as such. The first scientific detection of an exoplanet was in 1988; it was confirmed to be an exoplanet in 2012. The first confirmed detection occurred in 1992. There are many methods of detecting exoplanets. In several cases, multiple planets have been observed around a star.  Assuming there are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way, it can be hypothesized that there are 11 billion potentially habitable Earth-sized planets in the Milky Way, rising to 40 billion if planets orbiting the numerous red dwarfs are included.
An artist's impression of a water-world exoplanet. Image credit: Sci-News

The least massive planet known is Draugr (also known as PSR B1257+12 A or PSR B1257+12 b),  is about twice the mass of the Moon.  The nearest exoplanet is Proxima Centauri, located 4.2 light-years (1.3 parsecs) from Earth.  The discovery of exoplanets has intensified interest in the search for extraterrestrial life. There is special interest in planets that orbit in a star's habitable zone, where it is possible for liquid water, a prerequisite for life on Earth, to exist on the surface.

D49674b is the original name of the exoplanet, which is a planet in a different solar system, that is now owned by Belgium. The planet is located in the Auriga constellation and was discovered in 2002. Like Neptune in our solar system, the exoplanet is a gas giant. D49674b has a mass 31,783 times larger than that of the Earth, and only needs 4.9 days to complete an orbit around her star.Belgium received the exoplanet as a gift from the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the largest organisation for astronomers with more than 13,500 professional members. As the organisation is celebrating its 100th birthday, it grants an exoplanet to every country in the world to make people think about our place in the universe and the way extraterrestrial civilisations would look at Earth.

Each country may name their exoplanet themselves. In the Netherlands, the general public will probably be able to vote on the name of their exoplanet. According to a professor of astronomy at KU Leuven, LeenDecin, Belgium has a similar plan.All exoplanets distributed by the IAU are visible from the countries that have received them, and always clear enough to observe with a small telescope. “Auriga is a constellation in the shape of a W, and is perfectly visible in Belgium,” Decin said VRT NWS.All countries have until November to propose a name for their exoplanet, and the organisation will present them in December.

Not sure whether India owns an exoplanet !!  ~ last year there were reports that  In an epic Indian discovery, a team from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, spotted for the first time a distant planet six times bigger than Earth and revolving around a Sun-like star about 600 light years away. "With this discovery India has joined a handful of countries which have discovered planets around stars," Indian Space Research Organisation has announced. EPIC 211945201b (or K2-236b) was the name given to the planet by the discovery team. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th June 2019.

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