Thursday, February 20, 2014

Exoplanets: Reliable Information?

Amber Milliron
College Writing II
Rhetorical analysis
Due: February 20, 2014

Exoplanets: Reliable Information?
            When viewing a webpage or wed article, the reader should be skeptical as to the information presented on the article or website. Anyone can put anything on the      internet, whether it is truthful or not. Readers need to be wary of information released on the internet for this reason. A reader should look into This web page is primarily concerned with the text, which is broken into three major sections. The first is the  introduction, the second section called  “Abundant Dwarfs” give additional information, and the last section called “Life Sniffer” ends the article. Each of these sections of text relies heavily on logos, or logic and facts, to present the information. The author must also rely on her ethos, or credibility, to communicate this topic effectively and efficiently.
the ethos, or credibility, of the author to determine what qualifies the author to write on a topic, this includes how trustworthy the author is with the information presented. The reader is then doing a rhetorical analysis of the website or article; this engages the reader to be a participant in the exchange of ideas. A topic such as exoplanets may sound like science fiction, and in some web articles, the presentation of information is science fiction. The article titled, “Closest Earth-like planet may be 13 light years away, by Lisa Grossman, gives information on the exoplanet topic. The text and visual would have to work together to be an effective article, this is where the reader is able to decide if the article does just that.
            The introduction portion of the text starts with a phrase that makes the reader think. The phrase is, “Let’s take a peek at the neighbours,” which means in this article to look at neighboring planets and their composition, if life is possible, and truly see what is going on. This is a notion many have thought of since the exploration of space began. The age-old question of, “Is there life out there besides us?” is addressed because this article is saying that is may be possible in the near future to look into that question. This draws the reader in on a pathos appeal because it goes to their curiosity and their emotions regarding space. The appeal to their curiosity pulls the reader into the article and makes them want to read more. The rest of the section of text talks about how the Kepler telescope finds new planets in terms the average person can understand, so that the reader can easily gain knowledge about background information pertinent to this article.
            The next section of text called, “Abundant dwarfs” begins by opening the reader’s eyes to just how many other stars Kepler has cataloged, “Sifting through thousands of stars in Kepler's catalogue, Dressing (of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) found 95 possible planets orbiting red dwarfs.” This is a logos and ethos appeal because Dressing has both the credentials and the facts to back up her statements on those ninety-five possible planets. This article quotes Dressing saying, “If we're looking for life in the galaxy, we don't have to look as far as we thought we had to,” again appealing to the pathos of the reader. This statement is one of exciting news and discovery and it appeals to the reader because space is a mysterious thing that the average person knows so little about. This section on text elaborates on the mission of the Kepler telescope and the results it has yielded. At the end of this section, John Johnson, of the California Institute of Technology, says, “You don't need the full Kepler mission lifetime to answer that question. We can do it now,” which wraps up this section. This statement is showing the usefulness of the Kepler mission and backing up his ethos with logos of many years of data.
            The last and final section of text called “Life sniffer” is about looking to see if life on       the other planets truly exist. The text explains that there are planets near enough to observe their atmospheric conditions and then scientist can gage whether these planets can house life, carbon based – like human beings, or not. Then the text goes on to say that there are, “two planet-hunting telescopes that could help find such a nearby world [earth-like].” This is an appeal to pathos because of the unknown results of such an expedition. The second to last paragraph starts with, “Even if neither space mission goes ahead, large telescopes on the ground should also be able to detect gases like oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres,” and this goes to pathos as well because it goes to the emotion of the future. Arguably, this last quote goes to logos as well because there are facts that this technology is possible and probable. The last paragraph talks about in the next 10 years we could be studying the atmosphere of these planets orbiting red dwarf stars. This is a good ending because it plays to the pathos of the reader for an optimistic future into learning more about these discovered planets in the habitable-zone.
Home to Life, by David A. Aguilar (Fig. 1) is at the top of the article to the right, photographed by David    A. Aguilar. The photograph shows a planet passing in front of the red dwarf start. This is significant because it illustrates the process that the Kepler telescope utilizes to determine that a planet is actually there. The visual illustrates that it is not only a planet, but that there is a moon orbiting with the planet as well. This visual is important because it helps solidify to the reader what the telescope is seeing when determining whether there is a planet in the telescope’s view or not. The coloration of the star helps (Fig 1. David A. Aguilar. Home to Life?)                          illustrate that it is a red dwarf start; the background also shows the vastness of space and helps evoke emoting in the reader/viewer. This plays to the pathos of the viewer, but also includes the appeal of logos because facts are there that a planet would look like this in space according to Kepler telescope.
            The visual intrigues the reader to look into the article more; however, the article does not reference the visual at all. There is also no credibility in the article that this is an actual representation of a planet in front of the red dwarf star. This article could have mentioned the article and how the visual is accurate or not; or it could have stated that it was a picture from the Kepler telescope or just a representation according to the artist. The visual does enhance the text; however, the text does not enhance the visual because there is no link from the text to the visual.
             This article includes all three rhetorical appeals integrated into the article with precision and eloquences. The ethos has to be there for the reader to know that the speaker has knowledge on the topic of the article. The logos appeal is important because it is a scientific article and facts need to be there for the validity of the claims. The pathos, which plays to the reader’s emotion, is important because it makes people want to know more on the subject or to monitor the subject due to the mysterious nature and future of such a topic. Though the visual and the text does not interplay, the visual helps the reader get an idea of what these exoplanets might look like and how they might be found. The article is very informative and would be a decent article to use for research or to be credible for information other scientists might look into.

Work Cited
Aguilar, David A. Home to Life? N.d. Photograph. 06 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Feb.
Grossman, Lisa. "Closest Earth-like Planet May Be 13 Light Years Away." N.p.,
              06 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.                                  

*I could not get the webpage to work, or get my screen shot of the website in there. I am willing to accept the penalties, but I tried and could not get anything figured out.*

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