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Old July 26 2014, 08:54 PM   #1
Janeway's Girl
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Class of Planets

Another question, I notice all the time the characters are talking about what class a newly discovered planet is, like K7 or M. What does that mean?
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Old July 26 2014, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: Class of Planets

M-class ("Minshara-class" as determined by the Vulcans) is a designation usually given to habitable worlds like Earth (although Vulcan can presumably be M-class as well). Other letter designations are given to worlds that are less habitable or even hostile to life.

Stars can also be given letter designations like K7 with the letter representing its spectral class (or temperature) and the number its degree of visibility.
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Old July 26 2014, 09:17 PM   #3
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Re: Class of Planets

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Stars can also be given letter designations like K7 with the letter representing its spectral class (or temperature) and the number its degree of visibility.
More precisely, the numbers are subdivisions of the temperature scale represented by the letters -- a K0 is the hottest type of K star and a K9 the coolest.

Of course, the difference is that the star letter classes are real while the planetary letter classes are an imaginary scheme invented for Trek.
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Old July 26 2014, 09:24 PM   #4
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Re: Class of Planets

Thank you I feel like there should be a Trek school for people who are just starting out.
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Old July 26 2014, 09:25 PM   #5
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Re: Class of Planets

Christopher wrote: View Post
C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Stars can also be given letter designations like K7 with the letter representing its spectral class (or temperature) and the number its degree of visibility.
More precisely, the numbers are subdivisions of the temperature scale represented by the letters -- a K0 is the hottest type of K star and a K9 the coolest.
I thought the numbers represent their absolute magnitude.
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Old July 26 2014, 09:37 PM   #6
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Re: Class of Planets

Janeway's Girl wrote: View Post
I feel like there should be a Trek school for people who are just starting out.
Here are some of the planet classes if you want to research further.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Plan...classification
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Old July 27 2014, 01:45 AM   #7
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Re: Class of Planets

I should have looked there to begin with. That website is very informative.
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Old July 27 2014, 02:14 AM   #8
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Re: Class of Planets

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
More precisely, the numbers are subdivisions of the temperature scale represented by the letters -- a K0 is the hottest type of K star and a K9 the coolest.
I thought the numbers represent their absolute magnitude.
The Arabic numeral is based on temperature (as is the leading letter). There can be a Roman numeral appended to a classification to reflect luminosity, so that, e.g., our sun gets classified as G2V. The luminosity does correlate with the absolute magnitude, although not in a really easy-to-describe fashion. The lower the Roman numeral, though, the brighter the star.
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Old July 27 2014, 02:57 AM   #9
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Re: Class of Planets

Janeway's Girl wrote: View Post
I should have looked there to begin with. That website is very informative.
I've been at this for nearly 30 years, and I still don't know what they mean.

I find it to be pointless minutiae. I've grown accustomed to tuning any and all Treknobabble out. Makes the viewing much more enjoyable, IMO. In fact, I doubt I could sit through an episode of 90s Trek if I didn't.
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Old July 27 2014, 03:05 AM   #10
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Re: Class of Planets

Absolute magnitude is a number, but it's not part of the spectral type. For instance, Tau Ceti has a spectral type of G8.5V (meaning it's a main-sequence star a few hundred degrees cooler than the Sun) and an absolute magnitude of 5.69.

The Roman numerals are called luminosity classes, but they're essentially size classes -- V is for main-sequence stars, i.e., normal stars in the stable part of their lifespan like the Sun is now, while the other classes are basically for stars that are past their main-sequence lifespans and swelling up into giants -- IV for subgiants, III for giants, II for "bright giants," and I for supergiants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_classification
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Old July 27 2014, 03:10 AM   #11
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Re: Class of Planets

Also, does "class of planets" make anyone else think "Hack the planet!"?
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Old July 27 2014, 02:39 PM   #12
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Re: Class of Planets

Christopher wrote: View Post
Of course, the difference is that the star letter classes are real while the planetary letter classes are an imaginary scheme invented for Trek.
True. Though, I'm certain that one day, there will be a real planetary classification scheme. That seems almost inevitable, since we keep discovering more and more exoplanets, and new methods to gradually deduce more of their properties ...
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Old July 27 2014, 03:09 PM   #13
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Re: Class of Planets

^Yeah, but I doubt it'll be a letter scheme, because that's already taken by stars.

Although there are some scientists who came up with a planetary classification scheme that does use letters to identify several distinct types, and that does in fact use M for Earthlike planets as an intentional Trek nod:

http://phl.upr.edu/library/notes/ath...nforexoplanets
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Old July 27 2014, 05:45 PM   #14
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Re: Class of Planets

CorporalClegg wrote: View Post
Janeway's Girl wrote: View Post
I should have looked there to begin with. That website is very informative.
I've been at this for nearly 30 years, and I still don't know what they mean.

I find it to be pointless minutiae. I've grown accustomed to tuning any and all Treknobabble out. Makes the viewing much more enjoyable, IMO. In fact, I doubt I could sit through an episode of 90s Trek if I didn't.
I like to attempt to understand what they are talking about but I can't grasp any of it. So glad I'm not the only one.
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Old July 27 2014, 05:51 PM   #15
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Re: Class of Planets

CorporalClegg wrote: View Post
Also, does "class of planets" make anyone else think "Hack the planet!"?
Nah. Not me. But my cultural awareness greatly drops off after 1992.
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