“Some kind of celestial event. No — no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should have sent a poet. So beautiful. So beautiful… I had no idea.” –Dr. Ellie Arroway, Contact
Back in 2006, the International Astronomical Union defined the term “planet” for the first time by three criteria: its ability to orbit the Sun, to pull itself into hydrostatic equilibrium, and to clear its orbit. This not only excluded all exoplanets, but it set up impractical criteria for measuring exoplanet properties.
But UCLA scientist Jean-Luc Margot found a new planetary test that includes exoplanets and requires only three easily measurable criteria: the mass, orbit and age of the planet in question.