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 Post subject: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-17 01:15pm
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Lost in Space


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Montreal group finds lonely planet lost in space 130 light-years from Earth
By TOM SPEARS, Postmedia News November 15, 2012


Montreal astronomers have found a lonely planet drifting through space without a solar system to call home.

It is 130 light-years from Earth, four light-years from the nearest star, in a region so dark it's invisible to ordinary telescopes. But the new "rogue" planet, called CFBDSIR 2149, gave away its position because it is warm - about 400 C - and heat shows up on infrared telescopes.

Étienne Artigau of the Uni-versité de Montréal and his group discovered it through the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. The team leader is from the Lab-oratoire d'Astrophysique de l'Observatoire de Grenoble.

"We've suspected for some time that objects like this exist," René Doyon, a senior astronomer at the UdM, said. In fact, large objects have been detected in more distant parts of space.

But this is the first one that's planet-sized and not too far from Earth.

The new planet is about the size of Jupiter, but it's believed to weigh between four and seven times more than Jupiter. The astronomers think it has a rocky centre surrounded by dense gas, which is the source of its heat.

It's probably round, Doyon said, but they can't be sure.

Planets like this are known as gas giants and are generally not considered candidates for finding alien life.

Did the planet somehow lose its star?

"We don't know," Doyon said. One possibility is that it was once part of a solar system but was somehow jolted away from its home. But it may never have orbited a star in the first place.

It's floating slowly through space as part of a "moving group" of objects that are drifting along together, allowing astronomers to hypothesize it's the same age as the rest of the group. That would make it 50 million to 120 million years old - very young in space terms.

If there are other homeless planets drifting through space, they could be very hard to detect. Planets near Earth are visible because they reflect sunlight.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette


Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/technolo ... z2CV8EYAih


And the search for planets just got more interesting.....

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-17 09:35pm
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Indeed. And to think I was saying only the other day that even if things liek this existed we wouldn't see them that far away. Then again, it is at 400 K, that's going to show up on infrared maps quite nicely.

Oh, and incidentally:

"Planets like this are known as gas giants and are generally not considered candidates for finding alien life."

No shit. It's got no solid surface and at the outer layers is hot enough to boil water. Pretty damn inhospitable.



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

"Bones' remedies for problems seems to revolve around giving his patients a prescription of heavy drugs, booze, or taking them to strip clubs. He is either insane, a drug addict, or the best damn Doctor in Starfleet!" - SFDebris

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-17 11:03pm
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As much as some people wouldn't understand it, this is again a triumph of science. We simply thought that it wouldn't be impossible for such rogue planets to exist, so they quite likely exist. And, lo and behold, evidence. Same with the discovery of the Higgs boson.

Incoming plug: on another note, "a superjovian that travels in dark space" reminded me of Peter Watts' Blindsight.



Ποταμοῖσι τοῖσιν αὐτοῖσιν ἐμϐαίνουσιν, ἕτερα καὶ ἕτερα ὕδατα ἐπιρρεῖ. Δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης.

The seller was a Filipino called Dr. Wilson Lim, a self-declared friend of the M.I.L.F. -Grumman

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-18 02:35am
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The triumph is more in the detection than in the theory. The idea of planets being ejected from solar systems is hardly novel, we just thought any such planet would be so cold and dark as to be undetectable beyond a few light years. And now we find one 130 light years distant. Most impressive.



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

"Bones' remedies for problems seems to revolve around giving his patients a prescription of heavy drugs, booze, or taking them to strip clubs. He is either insane, a drug addict, or the best damn Doctor in Starfleet!" - SFDebris

SDN World 6: The Kingdom of Orion

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-18 04:56pm
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Part of me wants for it to be so hot because it's a huge ball of hydrogen powering an absurdly humongous fusion torch, turning a gas giant into an interstellar ship.

I know it's not. I would just love it to be so.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 03:55am
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I wonder if its got some moons the size of the Jovians, because THAT would be an interesting place for life to evolve.



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You kinda look like Jesus. With a lightsaber.- Peregrin Toker
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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 06:32am
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"Probably" round? How the check you make such planet not round?

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
"Planets like this are known as gas giants and are generally not considered candidates for finding alien life."

No shit. It's got no solid surface and at the outer layers is hot enough to boil water. Pretty damn inhospitable.

Except, something so massive can easily have Earth-sized moons. We thought a lot more things are impossible, life evolving on such a world would just be one of them.

And even if it is too hot for life as humans imagine it, so what? Life doesn't need to be based on oxygen-coal combinations, say, theoretical life based on some silicate compounds could feel pretty comfortable there (as they are liquid at that temperature, pretty big requirement for life supporting chemistry).

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 07:15am
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There's also metals as well. Metal and some crystalline materials are excellent building blocks for life, and I wouldn't be too surprised if we eventually discover some more advanced forms of life utilizing them for their chemistry.



All you can do is genocide cavemen: the ultimate expression of hard scifi 'intelligence'. - Stark, on "hard sci-fi"

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 12:48pm
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Yeah, I wouldn't say no for life to evolve in environments we pretty much can't imagine, or survive there if it evolved before it was solitary planet, after all, we don't exactly have a big sample to compare to say such things authoritatively.

Also, one additional nitpick:

Quote:
"We don't know," Doyon said. One possibility is that it was once part of a solar system but was somehow jolted away from its home. But it may never have orbited a star in the first place.

Unless they know something big I missed, that would be STAR system, thank you :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 01:31pm
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Is there any chance that it's simply a failed star that just didn't manage to gather enough mass to ignite?



Image
JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 01:42pm
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PeZook wrote:
Is there any chance that it's simply a failed star that just didn't manage to gather enough mass to ignite?


Generally speaking, that'd be a brown dwarf. Conventionally, brown dwarfs have at least 13 Jovian masses, which is roughly enough to ignite deuterium fusion (and less than about 73 Jovian masses, enough to fuse hydrogen). An object that formed independently of any star, but isn't massive enough to fuse deuterium, either, could be termed a sub-brown dwarf or a rogue planet. There is, AFAIK, quite a bit of debate if making that distinction actually makes any sense, or if it's even possible to tell.

From a terminology standpoint, it could matter - if it's a planet then any orbiting objects are moons. If it's a sub-brown dwarf, then any natural satellites are planets. But that's mostly splitting semantic hairs.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 07:08pm
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Yeah, ok, there are other forms of life which might be able to live in such environments, I'll concede that. Articles like this however, "alien life" can be assumed to be synonymous with "the kind of life on Earth" or "the kind of life we could detect/receive signals from."

If it's not a brown dwarf then I would be very suprised if it wasnt ejected from it's star system.



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

"Bones' remedies for problems seems to revolve around giving his patients a prescription of heavy drugs, booze, or taking them to strip clubs. He is either insane, a drug addict, or the best damn Doctor in Starfleet!" - SFDebris

SDN World 6: The Kingdom of Orion

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-19 10:05pm
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Would it still count as forming in a star system if it was part of a nebula that got 'blown off' and finished collecting on it's own before a full system formed?

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-20 01:52am
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PeZook wrote:
Is there any chance that it's simply a failed star that just didn't manage to gather enough mass to ignite?


Objects in this mass range can form in the same manner as a star, yes. Where you draw the line between star and non-star is somewhat murky, though; brown dwarfs, objects in the 13-80 jupiter mass range can undergo deuterium fusion for a short time, are not actually capable of sustained fusion of normal hydrogen. This thing is even smaller, so it's definitely not a star even though it might have formed in the same manner.

It's not a planet, incidentally. Planets must, by definition, orbit a star. Astronomers haven't gotten around to figuring out a proper name for planemos (planetary-mass objects) that aren't bound to any star.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-20 02:42am
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Quote:
It's not a planet, incidentally. Planets must, by definition, orbit a star. Astronomers haven't gotten around to figuring out a proper name for planemos (planetary-mass objects) that aren't bound to any star.

zomgarroan. Actually the English language is not regulated by any central body, but by the speakers themselves.

It is apparently in a cluster of planet-like objects.



Suffering from the diminishing marginal utility of wealth.

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-20 05:27am
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RRoan wrote:
It's not a planet, incidentally. Planets must, by definition, orbit a star. Astronomers haven't gotten around to figuring out a proper name for planemos (planetary-mass objects) that aren't bound to any star.

Um, 'Planetar'? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Rogue Planet found (Planet with no Star) PostPosted: 2012-11-20 09:57am
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Well "planet" by it's original definition means "wanderer". I'd say this thing is wandering quite nicely on it's own...



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