The Literary Salon

A free salon wherein patrons and passers-by may view or contribute ideas on literary and generally intellectual matters. The blog will strive to maintain its commitment to wit, humour and perspicuous analysis.

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Friday, August 10, 2007


It appears scientists have "found" the largest known planet in the universe. It is about 1,400 light years away and is twice the size of Jupiter.

I use "found" in quotation marks because, unless there have been remarkable developments in extrasolar planet detection in the past five years, we cannot actually see planets in other solar systems simply because they are too far and not bright enough (stars, by contrast, are luminous enough to be seen). Astronomers usually use one of two methods to infer the presence of a planet, so don't let news stories like this fool you.

I recall a few years ago astronomers claimed to have "found" a Jupiter like gas giant orbiting very close to its star. If true, this would demolish our current theories of planet formation. There's so much we don't know.


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