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Scientists Say Red Speck Is Indeed Huge New Planet
NY Times ^ | April 30, 2005 | DENNIS OVERBYE

Posted on 04/29/2005 10:22:03 PM PDT by neverdem

A reddish speck photographed near a dim and distant star last year is indeed a planet, about five times the mass of Jupiter, an international team of astronomers is reporting today.

They say the results bolster their claim, put forward last fall, that this image was the first of a planet orbiting a star outside the solar system.

The planet, about 230 light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra, orbits a kind of failed star known as a brown dwarf at a distance of at least five billion miles, twice as far as icy Neptune is from our own Sun. Spectroscopic measurements show water vapor in its atmosphere, suggesting that it is cold like a planet and not hot like a star.

"This discovery offers new perspectives for our understanding of chemical and physical properties of planetary mass objects as well as their mechanisms of formation," Dr. Gael Chauvin of the European Southern Observatory in Chile and his colleagues wrote in the paper, in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

When Dr. Chauvin's group first announced the discovery of the object, known officially as 2M1207b, last year, they admitted that they could not prove that it was not just a background object unrelated to the brown dwarf. Subsequent observations using the Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal in northern Chile and a system designed to take the twinkle out of starlight and thus get sharper images showed that the dwarf star and the suspected planet were moving together across the sky, cementing the notion that they are gravitationally bound.

Measurements of the same system with the Hubble Space Telescope are to be reported on Monday in Baltimore at a meeting on extrasolar planets.

In the last decade, astronomers have detected, by indirect means, some 150 planets around other stars, setting off a race to see these objects in their own light. Such observations will allow them to study the composition and other properties of these "exoplanets" and compare them to the denizens of the solar system and to one other.

In the year it has taken the European group to cement its claim, other groups have claimed to have seen the first light from extrasolar planets. Last month, for example, a group led by Dr. Ralph Neuhäuser of Jena University in Germany, using the same telescope and camera, reported that they had imaged a planet of two Jupiter masses circling the star GQ Lup. But some astronomers have questioned the reliability of their estimate of its mass, arguing that it could be heavy enough to be a brown dwarf.

In a second paper, to appear in the same journal, Dr. Chauvin's team is reporting another discovery, of a companion to the star AB Pictoris, a young star about 150 light years from Earth. That object, known as AB Pic b, is about 13 or 14 times the mass of Jupiter, they estimate, putting it right on the line between planets and brown dwarfs.

Like the earlier planet and GQ Lup, AB Pic b is orbiting at an enormous distance from its star, 23 billion miles, and that is a new puzzle for the planet hunters, Dr. Ben Zuckerman of the University of California, Los Angeles, a member of the team, said. Dr. Zuckerman noted that these were very far out compared with any previously known planets, which raised questions about how and where they had formed.

"It's a new kind of system," Dr. Zuckerman said, adding that they are also rare. "They are relatively few and far between."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: astronomy; exoplanets; planets; space; xplanets
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1 posted on 04/29/2005 10:22:03 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: El Gato; JudyB1938; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; ..

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.


2 posted on 04/29/2005 10:23:40 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
23 billion miles

Put that in MapQuest! That's far, far away

3 posted on 04/29/2005 10:26:46 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
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To: neverdem
Hereis a close-up of just the planet itself. I'll point to it:

> .

4 posted on 04/29/2005 10:26:50 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (It's that little red speck.)
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To: neverdem

5 posted on 04/29/2005 10:31:21 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Caption to image in #5

Caption: ESO PR Photo 14a/05 The first planet outside of our solar system to be imaged orbits a brown dwarf (centre-right) at a distance that is nearly twice as far as Neptune is from the sun. The photo is based on three near-infrared exposures (in the H, K and L' wavebands) with the NACO adaptive-optics facility at the 8.2-m VLT Yepun telescope at the ESO Paranal Observatory.


6 posted on 04/29/2005 10:32:03 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: PatrickHenry

ping


7 posted on 04/29/2005 10:32:55 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: Charles Henrickson; neverdem; mikrofon
orbits a kind of failed star known as a brown dwarf


8 posted on 04/29/2005 10:34:45 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Forbidden? PLAN IT!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Thanks for the pic. Where did you happen to find it?


9 posted on 04/29/2005 10:36:54 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

You'll know if it's a real planet if there's ReMax 'For Sale' signs all over it.


10 posted on 04/29/2005 10:37:24 PM PDT by xJones
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To: martin_fierro

LOL!


11 posted on 04/29/2005 10:37:41 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: stainlessbanner

Thats 23 billion miles from the parent star.

The planet is about 1,350 trillion miles away from us.


12 posted on 04/29/2005 10:39:30 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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To: neverdem

http://www.eso.org/ ;)


13 posted on 04/29/2005 10:39:36 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: neverdem
Wait a minute. Wasn't part of the main premise of Arthur C. Clarke's 2010 that Jupiter's mass isn't far shy of what it would take to make it ignite into a star? How the heck can this planet be five times the mass of Jupiter and not start fusing it's lighter elements under it's own extreme gravitational pressure? Or was Clarke taking extreme liberties with science for the sake of his story? I can see him do that in areas where the science would be less well-established, but taking liberties on something like this seems uncharacteristic of him.

Qwinn

14 posted on 04/29/2005 10:42:12 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: martin_fierro
I'll see your Gary Coleman and raise you one Herve Villechaize

What do you think of that?


15 posted on 04/29/2005 10:42:58 PM PDT by new cruelty
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To: Qwinn

Liberties. You would have to stack on about 79 more Jupiters to ignite it into a "brown dwarf"


16 posted on 04/29/2005 10:43:12 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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To: Crazieman

I don't mean necessarily into a brown dwarf, I mean any kind of star. Are you saying it would take a mass of 79 jupiters to start fusing hydrogen?

Qwinn


17 posted on 04/29/2005 10:44:29 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Crazieman; Qwinn

As an addendum, when it was written, it was generally thought Jupiter was at the near-limit.

As more science was gathered on Jupiter and theories developed, it was later established that Jupiter was in fact, far too small.

This was confirmed through the discoveries of extrasolar planets starting in 1990 having masses of 20-50 Jupiters.

(Note, these planets were all discovered indirectly through "wobble" and "occultation" observations, never directly)


18 posted on 04/29/2005 10:45:41 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: Qwinn

Well, about 80 Jupiters is thought to be the flashpoint.

And even then it would be a very dull star. "Brown dwarf"


20 posted on 04/29/2005 10:46:22 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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To: Crazieman

I just did some googling. Yup, appears you're correct. About 80 Jupiter masses is what's required to ignite into a star. Huh. Cool, learned something. Which is: don't trust Arthur C. Clarke *evil grin*.

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/jupiter_galileo.html

Qwinn


21 posted on 04/29/2005 10:49:23 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: neverdem
They say the results bolster their claim, put forward last fall, that this image was the first of a planet orbiting a star outside the solar system.

The way I read it last year, this was never in doubt. Hmmmmm. I wonder.

22 posted on 04/29/2005 10:50:19 PM PDT by Woahhs (America is an idea, not an address.)
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To: Qwinn

Bad Astronomy is an A-OK site, I highly recommend. :)


23 posted on 04/29/2005 10:51:31 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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To: Woahhs

A lot of astronomy involves triple/quadruple checking.

They wanted to watch the set move in the sky over a significant period to be absolutely sure that they were gravitationally bound.


24 posted on 04/29/2005 10:52:41 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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To: Woahhs
The way I read it last year, this was never in doubt. Hmmmmm. I wonder.

IIRC, they had other indirect evidence, but this is the first image.

25 posted on 04/29/2005 10:55:33 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

No, last year they had imaged this planet initially but they were unsure if it was a companion object.

It had to be watched over a period of time to compare movement to background stars.

Prior to this, yes, all planets were detected indirectly.


26 posted on 04/29/2005 10:57:32 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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To: NormsRevenge

If you look real hard you can see the little green man waving the sign "Hi, Mom!"


27 posted on 04/29/2005 10:58:38 PM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state and Georgia, the rotten peach, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Thanks for the link.


28 posted on 04/29/2005 10:59:45 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: Crazieman

This is an interesting link: How to distinguish brown dwarfs from planets.

http://encyclopedia.lockergnome.com/s/b/Brown_dwarf#Distinguishing_light_brown_dwarfs_from_large_planets


Honestly, this info is causing me to have to redefine my terms. I pretty much always thought that a categorization as a star (which I believed included brown dwarfs) required ongoing fusion. But according to this, apparently not. Then again, they don't seem to be sure themselves how to classify it, since one minute they refer to it as "sub-stellar" and another minute they do call it a star. Frankly, without having ever undergone fusion, I would've called it a heavy planet. But I can see how the fact that it's uniform like a star (not much difference in chemical makeup based on depth) takes it out of the planet category too. Interesting. For about ten minutes. Think I'll go back to devoting my attention to the cool stuff like black holes/quasars/pulsars ;)

Qwinn


29 posted on 04/29/2005 11:00:57 PM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn

I haven't read Arthur C. Clarke, so I can't help you.


30 posted on 04/29/2005 11:03:37 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: Qwinn

Its the lack of defining characteristics and a large statistical base to operate on.

Same issue we're having with planets and arguements on whether Pluto should be downgraded or Sedna upgraded (etc)


31 posted on 04/29/2005 11:04:12 PM PDT by Crazieman (If Con is the opposite of Pro, what is the opposite of Progress?)
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To: Qwinn
Or was Clarke taking extreme liberties with science for the sake of his story

Yes, he was -- and I think it was in 3001 that they talk about Jupiter flaring up (not sure!)
32 posted on 04/29/2005 11:15:38 PM PDT by Cronos (Never forget 9/11)
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To: neverdem; NormsRevenge
Nor...thanks for the link,...believe this is the press release, much more detail:

Full Web Story

ESO Press Release 12/05 - Full Web Story

30 April 2005

For immediate release

Yes, it is the Image of an Exoplanet

Astronomers Confirm the First Image of a Planet Outside of Our Solar System [1]

Among the most essential quests of modern astronomers, taking direct images of planets outside of our solar system is certainly up there among chart-toppers. Obtaining such images of a so-called exoplanet would enable scientists to study in detail the physical nature of the object and, in particular, to analyse the composition of its atmosphere. The astronomers' ultimate goal is of course to perform such analysis for earth-sized planets, in the hope of detecting a telltale signature of extraterrestrial life.

Such an ultimate objective is still at least decades in the future, as earth-size and even Jupiter-size planets around stars as old as the Sun are too faint to be detected by present-day technology.

Nevertheless, great progress can be achieved by taking images of giant planets orbiting much younger objects. Because giant planets a few tens of millions of years old are much hotter and brighter than their older brethren, they can be much more easily detected. Moreover, as the first tens of millions of years are considered to have been a critical period in the formation of Earth and of our own solar system, the study of nearby young planetary systems provides astronomers with invaluable insight on our own origins, something that is difficult if not impossible to decipher from investigation of old, mature planetary systems.

**************************************

See link for the rest of the press release.

33 posted on 04/29/2005 11:17:02 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (This tagline no longer operative....floated away in the flood of 2005 ,)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thanks for the link.


34 posted on 04/29/2005 11:23:56 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
I'm no astronomer but I thought that any mass 5 times the size of Jupiter would combust and turn into a sun. Guess not.
35 posted on 04/29/2005 11:32:11 PM PDT by fish hawk (I am only one, but I am not the only one.)
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To: neverdem

Red Speck Bump


36 posted on 04/29/2005 11:44:20 PM PDT by dc-zoo
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To: fish hawk; dc-zoo
I'm no astronomer but I thought that any mass 5 times the size of Jupiter would combust and turn into a sun. Guess not.

Check comments# 5, 13, 14, 16 and 18 if you don't read the whole thread.

37 posted on 04/30/2005 12:02:15 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: Cronos

No, it was in 2010 that Jupiter gets ignited into a star, of that I'm absolutely sure. It was a good book, better than 2001 IMHO. In the very very lame sequel 2061, he expands on the consequences of Jupiter being a star and the availability of all the diamond that was ejected from the initial ignition (space elevators, etc.). In the utterly benighted and horrible 3001... well, frankly, it was just too awful to be described.

Qwinn


38 posted on 04/30/2005 12:23:59 AM PDT by Qwinn
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To: neverdem

And posts #21, 23 and 29. I had the same objection you did, but that issue has been resolved.

Qwinn


39 posted on 04/30/2005 12:25:28 AM PDT by Qwinn
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To: fish hawk; neverdem

Doh, post #39 was meant for fish hawk, not neverdem.

Qwinn


40 posted on 04/30/2005 12:26:11 AM PDT by Qwinn
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To: Qwinn

Thanks! I wasn't too sure of that -- some Arthur C Clarke books are masterpieces -- like Rendezvous with Rama, but some others are real duds. I'm a big Asimov fan -- you>?


41 posted on 04/30/2005 2:33:16 AM PDT by Cronos (Never forget 9/11)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping. I may not alert the list over this. We've had quite a few threads on extra-solar planets lately.


42 posted on 04/30/2005 4:11:18 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (<-- Click on my name. The List-O-Links for evolution threads is at my freeper homepage.)
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To: Crazieman

"The planet is about 1,350 trillion miles away from us."

Beam us up Scotty.


43 posted on 04/30/2005 5:24:29 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Liberal Talking Point - Bush = Hitler ... Republican Talking Point - Let the Liberals Talk)
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To: Qwinn
Or was Clarke taking extreme liberties with science for the sake of his story?

C'mon, if you want to know about real science, you shouldn't be reading science fiction stories. In fact, you shouldn't read articles about science topics in the MSM, or scientific magazines aimed at the general public (Discover, Omni, etc.). Stay away from scientific documentaries, as well. As sources of scientific information, they all suck. If you're just looking for entertainment, they're probably okay.

44 posted on 04/30/2005 5:52:38 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: neverdem
..orbits a kind of failed star known as a brown dwarf at a distance of at least five billion miles, twice as far as icy Neptune is from our own Sun.

Colder than the coldest freezing ice cold cold you can imagine.

Put it in a freezer and it would melt.
45 posted on 04/30/2005 6:25:18 AM PDT by clyde asbury (I'm not playing hard to get. I am hard to get.)
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To: Qwinn

" How the heck can this planet be five times the mass of Jupiter and not start fusing it's lighter elements under it's own extreme gravitational pressure? "

The smallest true star known (with active fusion) has 100 times the mass of Jupiter.

Arthur Clarke's premise in turning Jupiter into a star was to artificially compress the matter to achieve a fusion process. It is not based on the natural mass and gravitational pressure in Jupiter, but a science fiction construct of an advanced civilization.


46 posted on 04/30/2005 6:33:36 AM PDT by edwin hubble
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To: Qwinn

“Spectroscopic measurements show water vapor in its atmosphere, suggesting that it is cold like a planet and not hot like a star.”

 

“…..under it's own extreme gravitational pressure?”

 

With such a strong gravity, how could there be “water vapor in it’s” atmosphere”????


47 posted on 04/30/2005 7:07:52 AM PDT by Not a 60s Hippy (They are SOCIALISTS - not progressives, elitists, liberals, etc.)
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To: RightWhale; Brett66; xrp; gdc314; sionnsar; anymouse; RadioAstronomer; NonZeroSum; jimkress; ...

48 posted on 04/30/2005 8:13:45 AM PDT by KevinDavis (Let the meek inherit the Earth, the rest of us will explore the stars!)
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To: Cronos

I recently picked up a copy of Clarke's "Fountains of Paradise" just to read his description of a space elevator. What's funny and encouraging about the recent news on the development of a real space elevator is that Clarke has us in the mid 21st Century and already back on the Moon and established on Mars before a substance strong enough and light enough to support a space elevator is discovered.


49 posted on 04/30/2005 8:58:54 AM PDT by Neville72
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To: neverdem

Alright. How is gravitational pull exerted? How does that kind of attraction have an influence on another body billions of miles away?


50 posted on 04/30/2005 9:18:14 AM PDT by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
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