Subscribe to Posts
Subscribe to Comments
字号: | |


发帖者 吴怀唐 On 下午8:17
  The discovery of planets around distant stars has become like space-shuttle launches-newsworthy but just barely. With some 50 extrasolar planets under their belt, astronomers have to announce something really strange to get anyone's attention.

  Last week they did just that. Standing in front of colleagues and reporters at the American Astronomical Society's semiannual meeting in San Diego, the world's premier planet-hunting team-astronomer Geoffrey Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues-presented not one but two remarkable finds. The first is a pair of planets, each about the mass of Jupiter, that whirl around their home star 15light years from Earth in perfect lockstep. One takes 30 days to complete an orbit, the other exactly twice as long. Nobody has ever seen such a configuration. But the second discovery is far stranger-a solar system 123 light-years away in the constellation Serpens, that harbors one "ordinary" planet and another so huge-17 times as massive as Jupiter-that nobody can quite figure out what it can be. It is, says Marcy, "a bit frightening".

  What's frightening is that these discoveries make it clear how little astronomers know about planets, and they add to the dawning realization that our solar system-and by implication Planet Earth-may be a cosmic oddball. For years theorists figured that other stars would have planets more or less like the ones going around the sun. But starting with the 1995 discovery of the first extrasolar planet-a gassy monster like Jupiter but orbiting seven times as close to its star as Mercury orbits around our sun-each new find has seemed stranger than the last. Searchers have found more "hot Jupiters" like that first discovery. These include huge planets that career around their stars not in circular orbits but in elongated ones; their gravity would send any Earthlike neighbors flying off into space. Says Princeton astronomer Scott Tremaine: "Not a single prediction for what we'd find in other systems has turned out to correct."

  Last week's giant was the most unexpected discovery yet. Conventional theory suggests that it must have formed like a star, from a collapsing cloud of interstellar gas. Its smaller companion, only seven times Jupiter's mass, is almost certainly a planet, formed by the buildup of gas and dust left over from a star's formation. Yet the fact that these two orbs are so close together suggests to some theorists that they must have formed together-so maybe the bigger one is a planet after all.

  Or maybe astronomers will have to rethink their definition of "planet". Just because we put heavenly objects into categories doesn't mean the distinctions are necessarily valid. And as Tremaine puts it, "When your classification schemes start breaking down, you know you're learning something exciting. This is wonderful stuff."

  1. The author believes that .

  [A] the discovery of planets is as important as the launch of space shuttles

  [B] astronomers have been making a lot of discoveries of planets

  [C] the public have no interest in astronomical discoveries

  [D] there is little for astronomers to discover now

  2. The two finds are remarkable in that .

  [A] the planets are far from our solar system

  [B] the sizes of the planets are too huge

  [C] astronomers have never seen similar orbiting pattern and size before

  [D] scientists can not figure out what they can be

  3. By saying that our solar system "may be a cosmic oddball", the author intends to render the idea that .

  [A] other stars have planets more or less like the one going around the sun

  [B] the orbits of extrasolar planets around their stars are elongated ones

  [C] the way planets orbiting around the sun in our solar system is quite unique

  [D] planets in other systems are generally huger than the ones in ours

  4. The case of the giant heavenly body demonstrates that .

  [A] conventional theory can not explain such astronomical phenomenon satisfactorily

  [B] it is either a star or a planet

  [C] it was formed like a star and orbits like a planet

  [D] theorists give a wrong definition of "planet"

  5. The best title for this passage could be .

  [A] New Planetary Puzzlers

  [B] Two Remarkable Finds

  [C] A Redefinition of "Planet"

  [D] "Hot Jupiters" Challenging Conventional Theory

  答案:B C C A A


  semiannual adj. 半年一次的

  premier adj. 第一的,首要的

  Jupiter n. 木星

  lockstep n. 前后紧接,步伐一致

  configuration n. [天](行星等的)相对位置,方位

  constellation n. [天]星群,星座

  Serpens n. [天]巨蛇座

  oddball n. 古怪的人,古怪的事物

  Mercury n. [天]水星

  elongate v. 拉长,(使)伸长,延长

  interstellar adj. 星际的

  orb n. 球,天体,圆形物


  1. 答案为B,属事实细节题。文章中提到"with some 50 extrasolar planets under their belt"来说明为什么天文发现已经很多,难以吸引众人,所以应该选B。




  5.答案为A,属推理判断题。文章重点写这次天文发现的奇异之处,以及它们带给天文学家的困惑。文章最后一段说maybe astronomers will have to rethink their definition of "planet"。所以答案A最为合适。







0 Response to '2009年6月英语四级阅读备考(12)'