Skip to comments.MOST ANCIENT, 'IMPOSSIBLE' ALIEN WORLDS DISCOVERED
Posted on 03/27/2012 7:44:31 PM PDT by Fractal Trader
As we discover more worlds orbiting distant stars, we are finding that "conventional thinking" doesn't seem to apply to the growing menagerie of exoplanets. And this most recent exoplanetary discovery is no different.
In fact, the two exoplanets found to be orbiting a star 375 light-years away shouldn't exist at all.
The two gas giant planets were spotted during a survey of "metal poor" stars. When focusing on a star called HIP 11952, researchers from the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, discovered a slight wobble in the star's position.
The wobble is being caused by the gravitational tug of two exoplanets -- one is nearly the size of Jupiter and orbits the star every seven days, the other is approximately three-times the size of Jupiter and has an orbital period of 290 days.
They're Metal Poor and Ancient
This may sound like a typical exoplanet discovery that uses the "radial velocity method" to detect the gravitational presence of planets around other stars, but this star isn't the kind of star one would expect to find planets at all.
HIP 11952 is a "metal-poor" star, which, in astrophysicist-speak, means this stellar example contains a very low abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. It turns out that metals are very important in the construction of planets, so metal-poor stars aren't exactly fertile places for planets to form.
"So far there are only very few planetary companions detected around stars with low stellar metallicity," said Johny Setiawan, astronomer who led this research at the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy.
In the case of HIP 11952, the logarithm of the ratio of iron and hydrogen -- [Fe/H] -- is less than one.
"That means, the abundance of heavy elements, e.g., iron, is less than 10 percent compared to that of the sun," Setiawan told Discovery News.
This poses a very interesting question, and a conundrum.
Well, it turns out scientists are constantly finding out how little they really know about anything.
There’s no way (I know of) they could tell those planets weren’t captured and then spiraled in toward the star.
The size of Jupiter and orbits every seven DAYS ?
It’s got to be close! A lot of gravitational
crap happening there.
Jeez over there besides being squished I would
be 2730 years old.
The Universe is much more varied, more interrelated, and more complex that we can currently imagine. At any given second of time, there are an infinite number of impossible things occurring.
... and have a hell of a tan.
Or that one was, one wasn't. I don't think there is a limit to the ways things can happen, or do happen, out 'there'. I think that every possibility actually occurs, somewhere, sometime. Instead of stating (with no actual evidence) that something cannot happen, I prefer to be amazed by what we find out can happen.
So is the theory that planets must be born of the star they circle and reflect the heavier element content of the mother star? Then how did they escape the gravitational prison of the star?
If it is from the near-collision of another star, then why cannot the planetary material come from that star instead?
This sounds like the white dwarf orbiting around the red giant in the book 2001.
Perhaps we can harness this energy to convert people into whatever David Bowman had become?
"The buds that were growing in the Aliens' hydroponics lab were this big!"
"Can you see my eyes?"
Metal poor and ancient is no way to go through life, son.
First Gen star having not gone thru the Nova/Supernova fuel cycle. What sort of satellites would you expect to orbit such stars? Rocky/Metal planets? You should have gas giants.
When I think of the size of the universe it gives me the creeps. Is there no end? It just keeps going and going and going and .....
Give them a little time and they will pull some sort of reasoning for this out of their hats. They will try to figure out some way in their wildest imaginations that this could possibly have happened, decide that since they came up with this very extremely remote, but possible answer to the question that it therefore must be the way it happened because, after all, it is the only thing that they could come up with to explain it. Soon it will be in all of the scientific articles as nearly a fact, if not a fact, as to how these planets came about. Most will be convinced of it, mainly because they want to be.
I read a story a while back that polled scientists and surprisingly a overwhelming majority of scientist believe intelligent design. One scientist saying that the deeper they studied the more they were convinced that there is an order in the universe that just can,t be happenstance.
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