Roguish Planet Orbits Eye of Sauron

Roguish Planet Orbits Eye of Sauron

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New exoplanet findings open up mysteries on how solar systems work.

As noted by famed country rock stars/amateur astronomers The Eagles, there are indeed stars in the southern sky. One of the brightest ones among them is a celestial body known as Fomalhaut which, when viewed through the Hubble telescope, has a spectacular debris field that looks remarkably like the Eye of Sauron. Back in 2008, scientists identified an odd body orbiting around the system. Dubbed Fomalhaut B, it has long been speculated that this mote in Sauron's Eye is a planet, but it's formation and orbit have always been in question. After years of study and debate, new calculations have revealed that Fomalhaut B is most likely a "rogue planet".

Fomalhaut B was initially discovered in two Hubble photos from 2004 and 2006. Enough could be determined from those two data points to realize that something was going on, but not much else. Since the device on the Hubble that took those pictures malfunctioned in 2007, debate remained inconclusive. More recent evidence uncovered last year showed that Fomalhaut B was indeed a planet, but one with an odd, zombie-like orbit.

With this new data, the original discovery team ran calculations, predicting possible orbits, with surprising results. Fomalhaut B seems to move on an inclined angle relative to the "eye", meaning that it goes above and below the debris field, but never actually touches it. For a better explanation, watch the NASA video simulation. This comet-like orbit places it within the rogue planet category, meaning that it's a free-floating planet that might have been caught in the star's gravity field.

Fomalhaut B was one of the first planets to be observed outside of our own solar system. While we have many theories on how other systems might behave, we've had very few chances to actually observe them in action. This new evidence shows that alien solar systems might be wilder than our sol-grown dreams could ever imagine.

Source: Wired
Image: NASA

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When I read Fomalhaut, I immediately think of FFXII.

The video simulation reminds me more of that Jaws theme music actually.

It's the Eye of Terror, and that's Cadia. I'm calling it.

That simulation is awesome, that is a crazy freaking orbit!

Man I wish things like this were shown in my science classes back when I was in school, then maybe I would have paid more attention.

Just out of interest, how exactly can an orbit be 'Zombie Like'? Does it sway and lurch? Can you hear it moaning across the vast abyss of space? What's going on? D;

HAHA! Who sees who now, Sauron!?

Jamous:
Just out of interest, how exactly can an orbit be 'Zombie Like'? Does it sway and lurch? Can you hear it moaning across the vast abyss of space? What's going on? D;

yeah took me a bunch of google fu to figure out what a zombie planet orbit is like turns out its like a comet in that it is highly elliptical and has a massive extreme in the closest and furthest point from its parent plus its slow as sludge with a 2000 year orbit would have been nice if this article explained it

Please please tell me this rogue planet has a ring

Pallindromemordnillap:
Please please tell me this rogue planet has a ring

Hahaha that would just be perfect.

Kaymish:

Jamous:
Just out of interest, how exactly can an orbit be 'Zombie Like'? Does it sway and lurch? Can you hear it moaning across the vast abyss of space? What's going on? D;

yeah took me a bunch of google fu to figure out what a zombie planet orbit is like turns out its like a comet in that it is highly elliptical and has a massive extreme in the closest and furthest point from its parent plus its slow as sludge with a 2000 year orbit would have been nice if this article explained it

Kind of figured it was something like that because of the way they were talking about it. Thanks for doing my research for me. :D

I say we call this Roguish Planet Mordor, because one simply cannot walk to it.

And lo, this news article brought forth all of the Escapist's LOTR jokes.

Seriously though, that thing looks menacing.

Mr.Mattress:
I say we call this Roguish Planet Mordor, because one simply cannot walk to it.

Or perhaps Angmar, and the Witch-king of Angmar lives there orbiting his Master?

Redlin5:
And lo, this news article brought forth all of the Escapist's LOTR jokes.

Seriously though, that thing looks menacing.

With a name like "The Eye of Sauron" LotR jokes must come fast and furious whenever this particular astronomical location is the subject of discussion. :)

Copper Zen:

Mr.Mattress:
I say we call this Roguish Planet Mordor, because one simply cannot walk to it.

Or perhaps Angmar, and the Witch-king of Angmar lives there orbiting his Master?

Or if it has a ring around it, we should name it Gollum or Sméagol.

Geo Da Sponge:
It's the Eye of Terror, and that's Cadia. I'm calling it.

Bah we're still tens of thousands of years away from having to deal with it.

Geo Da Sponge:
It's the Eye of Terror, and that's Cadia. I'm calling it.

Actually on a 40k geek line its more a Fenris than a Cadia :P that planet's rogue orbit and crazy seasons are well explained while Cadia has a normalish solar system :)

 

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