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Probing Exoplanet Obliquity

2 Jul 2018, 15:27 UTC
Probing Exoplanet Obliquity NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T.Pyle.

It’s always a shock for me when the soft air and fecund smells of spring slam into a parched and baked July, but seasonal change is inevitable. At least it is on Earth. We get such seasonal changes because of Earth’s obliquity, the angle of its spin axis relative to the plane of its orbit. For Earth, the angle has stayed pretty close to 23 degrees for a long time, although the tilt’s direction wobbles over cycles of thousands of years. And this very constancy of obliquity turns up in exoplanet discussions at times because it affects conditions on a planetary surface.

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