TO: 12PM 1102 Class

FROM: Darshan Shah

DATE: 2/7/2015

SUBJECT: Analysing a source on discovery of J1407b

As science and technology are making progress, new planets are continuously being discovered in the outer universe. Astronomy and astrophysics play a significant role in our lives and therefore it is very important for us to get informed about the events that take place in these fields. The purpose of writing this memo is to analyse a source relating to a recent discovery of an exoplanet.


The purpose of the article is to make people aware of the discovery of a new planet, J 1407. This article was recently written on January 26, 2015. This article is taken from the TIME magazine. Over many years, it has been a very reputable organization and its information can definitely be trusted. This article is written by Michael Lemonick who is a senior science writer at the TIME magazine for nearly twenty years. Moreover, he has also written for several other magazines and newspapers like Discover, Scientific American, Wired, New Scientist, The Washington Post and National Geographic. He has also taught science and environmental journalism at Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and New York Universities. Therefore, this writer holds a strong credibility and his work can definitely be trusted. The information and details provided in the article are accurate when compared to other sources like ABC news and CNN. There are some details in the article, but the rest is the either opinions or predictions made by astronomers and scientist on the newly discovered planet. Also, there seems to be no bias in the article. Unlike other articles from Forbes and universe today, this article provides less information on the newly discovered planet and its rings. The article does not mention anything about the atmosphere, land structure of the planet J1407. Unlike an article of Forbes, this article does not mention the number, length or the composition of the enormous rings of the planet.


There are no emotional appeals in this article since it is a science article it just states out the facts, observations and predictions of various scientists and astronomers.

The writer, Michael Lemonick, has a huge experience in this field. The ethos of the writer is strong. Therefore, the writer has a very good credibility

Since it is an article based on science, there are lots of observations and predictions made on the newly found planet. For instance, the article talks about the origin and the mystery behind those enormous rings of the planet. The article provides few facts; for example in the article it says the rings are sculpted by at least one exomoon and there is evidence to support this. Moreover, few scientists and experts are also cited in the article. For example, Eric Ford, an expert on exoplanets at Penn State expresses his views on the enormous rings of the planet and Harvard University’s David Kipping talks about the interesting signals given off by the instrument upon examining the planet.

Toulmin Logic

Claims: There are many unsupported claims present in the article. For example, the writer says that the rings of the new planet were 200 times bigger than that of Saturn and the size of the exoplanet is between ten to forty times the size of Jupiter. There is no such supporting evidence for these statements in this article. If this were a result from a study or research conducted by scientists from reputed space organizations like NASA, then this details could be trusted. Since in this article there is no such evidence to support this claim, I think this information could be inaccurate. This just seems to be an educated guess which could possibly be wrong.

Reasons: As I said there is no such evidence to support the claims made in the article. Also in the article, an assumption is made by the scientists that the mammoth ring system will get smaller over time as the outer bands condense into moons. This may happen or may not happen.There is no such evidence to prove this.

Assumption: The assumptions that the writer wants the readers to hold could be to have basic knowledge of astrophysics. Since the article has physics terminology like exomoons, light curves, lightyears etc, it would be hard for a person who does not have background information of astrophysics, to comprehend the information provided in the article and to understand the animation linked with it.

Evidence- Since the planet is newly found, the article is full of predictions. There is no such evidence to prove those theories.

Qualifiers: There is only one modifier that I can find in the article- “Much of the doubt could be erased if astronomers could see the rings pass by again on another orbit around the star.”

Logical Fallacies: The article has no such logical fallacies because the entire article is based on predictions and observations made by scientists and experts. The article only has logical appeals in it. The article is straightforward giving the reader the information of the newly found planet and expert’s view on it. I think in the article there is no such mistake in how the argument is made. There are no such traps set for the readers.

Overall the article lacked the facts but it provided a great analysis, observations, predictions and views from few experts of astrophysics. Through space exploration, we could get extensive knowledge on the formation of our solar system and on the solutions that might unfold many mysteries of the universe. Space explorations stimulate technological innovations that could have a major impact on the daily life of people. Therefore, it is extremely significant for people to get updated on this essential information.

Source: http://time.com/3682987/planet-supersize-rings-saturn/

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