The Secret Lives of Planets


lines lifted from Now in Sight: Far-Off Planets by Dennis Overbye

whether the bodies are really planets or failed stars—
the first team spied a pair of dots about four billion miles out—
telescope mirrors are jiggled and warped—

“Every extrasolar planet detected so far has been a wobble”—
swaddled in large disks of dust, the raw material of worlds—
the bodies are really planets or failed stars—

“Kepler himself would recognize [how they follow] his laws of orbital motion”—
fuzzy dots moving slightly around from exposure to exposure—
jiggled and warped—

three planets circle a star known as HR 8799 in constellation Pegasus—
The problem seeing other planets is picking them from the glare of parent stars—
or failed stars—

giant planets in the outer reaches, [leave] plenty of room
for smaller ones to lurk undetected in the warmer inner regions—
whether parents are really failed stars—
telescopic, mirrored and warped—