Sunday, December 2, 2012


“With hundreds of exoplanets in the bag, astronomers are wondering whether it might be possible to find their moons too”
Published: The Economist;  November 10, 2012; Alternatively, just google the title
Level of Difficulty: ** This being said, if you are not a science enthusiast you may want to give this one a miss.
1.       What are your feelings about space exploration? Is it necessary or an expensive luxury?
1.       Why does the writer give the example of Avatar in the first paragraph in relation to space exploration?
2.       What does “that” in the sentence “But that does not deter enthusiasts” in paragraph 2 refer to? Be very precise.
3.       What does “this way” in the phrase “105 planets have been discovered this way” in paragraph 3 refer to?
4.       What is the purpose of the example of the Moon and the Earth? You will need to tweak the text and use your head.
5.       What quality do moons need to have to be clearly detectable?
6.       The problem of mass is not the only issue making the discovery of moons hard. There is another and it is: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
7.       What does “That” refer to in the phrase “That makes planet hunting…” in paragraph 7 refer to?
8.       How could what we have learnt about Io, Jupiter’s 3rd largest moon, help us to find exomoons? You will have to tweak the text. This is a tough question so if you get it right reward yourself with a treat!
9.       What is the first reason why the probability of finding a habitable moon is higher?
10.   What advantage do moons have over small planets in terms of night and day? Be brief.
11.   Enceladus and Europa are given as examples to prove that ……………………………………………..
Write an essay or a paragraph discussing your own feelings about such research. Before doing so, check out for related videos, watch, listen and take notes. When you have made up your mind explain whether you think that such research is a worthwhile endevour or a complete waste of time.
Space exploration has always fascinated many of us and this is brilliant little text all about the latest in the efforts to find a new home for mankind. With related videos and maybe a power point presentation to spice it up it could fly if you pardon the pun.
  1. Because a few astronomers are indeed beginning the search for the satellites around the thousands of known and suspected exoplanets.
  2. Not everyone is convinced that it is possible to find something that it is orbiting something that is orbiting a star hundreds of light years away.
  3. By identifying the tiny dip in brightness caused when one of the exoplanets passes in front of its host star.
  4. To prove that someone looking from afar at the movement of the Earth would be able to deduce the moon’ existence…
  5. They need to have a fifth of the mass of Earth.
  6. Distinguishing the signal they – the moons – produce.  Finding the shortest answer is the challenge here.
  7. The fact that the stars TESS is expected to examine are much closer.
  8. The tidal heating that powers Io’s volcanoes could make some moons shine brightly enough to be visible from Earth.
  9. There are more of them.
  10. Moons will always have some sort of day – night cycle.
  11. Tidal heating might also help make some moons which are outside their stars habitable zones inhabitable.

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