New Planet Puzzles Astronomers

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New Planet Puzzles Astronomers

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has discovered a new planet - and it's pink.

What's 57 light years away from Earth, four times the size of Jupiter, and pink as a Disney princess? The latest planet discovered by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, GJ 504b. But the most interesting part isn't its pink hue, it's the fact that its very existence challenges a well-accepted theory of planetary formation.

Core-accretion theory states that when bits of debris collect and stick together long enough to produce a core the size of ten Earths, its gravitational force will attract gas-rich particles and continue growing, producing planets the size of Jupiter. The easy answer is that GJ 504b's grew due to this very method. However, it's big - too big for a planet located in an area of space where debris is hard to come by. "This is among the hardest planets to explain in a traditional planet-formation framework," Markus Janson, a Hubble postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, states. "Its discovery implies that we need to seriously consider alternative formation theories, or perhaps to reassess some of the basic assumptions in the core-accretion theory."

It's difficult to say whether GJ 504b will lead to new astronomical discoveries, but one things for sure: Sally Hansen won't be naming any magenta-hued nail polishes after it.

Source: NASA

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Makes you wonder how far off the mark the bulk of our theories about space really are.

Fappy:
Makes you wonder how far off the mark the bulk of our theories about space really are.

Theories (in astrophysics) are as accurate as possible given all the observational data accumulated thus far. But they're flexible enough that when new data arrives, the theory is either changed or replaced. If GJ 504b doesn't fit the current models, then the current model will be updated. Happens regularly enough.

And if no suitable theory can be devised, we can always rely on this guy for answers:

image

One thing experts do agree on is that the planet is definitely FABULOUS!

Really? It's impossible to explain how it got so big in an area where it isn't supposed to be that big? Well what other theory could explain this? Maybe it got big in a different part of the galaxy, got so big it's star couldn't hold onto it and it flew off into space, eventually getting captured by a different star. The other explanation could also be that it was the largest gas giant and it was rotating around it's previous sun and it got knocked off course by the other gas giants and it's own sun's gravitational well colliding, or possibly a switch from sole star to binary star.

It is the size of Jupiter, with several times it's mass at a far larger radius from the sun, so why not an extra-solar capture but just with a really big planet this time?

Of course my explanation is based on nothing but speculation now, I am not even going to pretend astronomy is a field I know much about, but it seems a bit presumptuous to say there is no explanation at all and we now have to rethink 90% of the stuff we know about planetary formation. It's good to look into it but don't saying we should start burning the books before you explained it.

The planet looks like it would be inhabited by fluffy critters, kind of like what if Care Bears were real, though only if it wasn't so hot it would melt them all into goop.

or maybe there isn't that much debris in that area because that one planet ate it all

Maybe it isn't a planet at all, but the galaxy's largest ball of candy floss. Spun by intersteller carnies and orbited by moon sized toffee apples.

Fappy:
Makes you wonder how far off the mark the bulk of our theories about space really are.

Well theories are only theories, and are open to correction. They could be there wrong and theres lots of space dust and gasses to form this thing, or it could of been a wandering planet and got trapped in the star it orbits gravity well.

I believe god did it.

Interesting indeed. The part that makes me wonder though, is where now they are saying that they may need to consider more planet formation theories. When the current popular theory was developed, we couldn't really see other planets...... so... yeah, it's just a bit of hubris to think that it was perfect never having been tested to a great extent. A good theory feels right, is backed by empirical data and should be able to handle new information. A lot of theories fail on that third aspect though.

It's a Pinkie Pie planet, it's got the color and the seemingly law breaking nature. ;) I love the rate of planet discovery going on. If only we could go to them.

Pinkie Pie's planet, or Happyness Patrol planet?
I hope for the former. (or maybe it's Equestria! :D)

CriticalMiss:
Maybe it isn't a planet at all, but the galaxy's largest ball of candy floss. Spun by intersteller carnies and orbited by moon sized toffee apples.

I think we have a winner. This is clearly the best theory we can hope for, and a most delicious celestial body of this nature means that to taste the delightful planet, we need to become a space faring society as soon as possible. I mean it's no less plausible than a planet inhabited by Nazis in the 24th century.

Just a thought here, but being a gas giant, could it be possible that two really big gas giants collided into each other and formed into this planet? A similar theory (the difference being that the doomed planet swiped instead of colliding with Earth) is used surrounding the formation of Earth's moon.

There are many possibilities. The big planet could be a failed star of what would otherwise have been a binary star system. Or maybe it is a rogue planet that was captured by the solar systems' gravity. Or it is not a planet at all, it's a space station.

weirdguy:
or maybe there isn't that much debris in that area because that one planet ate it all

I think I played a flash game similar to this once.

Aptspire:
Pinkie Pie's planet, or Happyness Patrol planet?
I hope for the former. (or maybe it's Equestria! :D)

Ukomba:
It's a Pinkie Pie planet, it's got the color and the seemingly law breaking nature. ;) I love the rate of planet discovery going on. If only we could go to them.

Think of it as... Pie in the sky?

Astalano:
I believe god did it.

well, if anyone did use this as evidence of god, then that would cement my theory.

That God, if he/she/it does exist, is the greatest troll in the universe.

"oh, think you know how planets are formed, here's a giant pink ball of gas in a place where it shouldn't be. Problem, Scientists?"

Astalano:
I believe god did it.

CriticalMiss:
Maybe it isn't a planet at all, but the galaxy's largest ball of candy floss. Spun by intersteller carnies and orbited by moon sized toffee apples.

That would be *puts on sunglasses* astronomically delicious. YEEAAAHHHHH!
But seriously, that is awesome and you are awesome. I'll see you on the moon! The tasty, taaasty moon! ^.^

Ukomba:
It's a Pinkie Pie planet, it's got the color and the seemingly law breaking nature. ;) I love the rate of planet discovery going on. If only we could go to them.

Aptspire:
Pinkie Pie's planet, or Happyness Patrol planet?
I hope for the former. (or maybe it's Equestria! :D)

Hah! You got ninja'd, son! Also, pink planet of talking ponies? Sounds about right; let's just hope it's not some Twilight Zone switcheroo thing going on, where the ponies are actually carnivorous. o.o

However, I think since it's four times as large as Jupiter, it'll probably be just as toxic and uninhabitable...

I, too, applaud the rate of planetary discovery and hope that intergalactic travel is not too far off into the future, especially for those who don't want to cryonically preserve themselves just to be able to see it...Though, it's not a bad idea...

serious biscuit:

weirdguy:
or maybe there isn't that much debris in that area because that one planet ate it all

I think I played a flash game similar to this once.

Universal Sandbox? Cause that's actually on Steam...

DVS BSTrD:
Think of it as... Pie in the sky?

Ba-dum tish! Also, if there's ever a situation where the entirety of humanity votes on which two people are going to become gods, I'd vote for you and C-Miss so you could make the most delicious galaxy ever.

....Don't ask me how that'd happen; I just like yummy ideas.

LG Jargon:

CriticalMiss:
Maybe it isn't a planet at all, but the galaxy's largest ball of candy floss. Spun by intersteller carnies and orbited by moon sized toffee apples.

That would be *puts on sunglasses* astronomically delicious. YEEAAAHHHHH!
But seriously, that is awesome and you are awesome. I'll see you on the moon! The tasty, taaasty moon! ^.^

Ukomba:
It's a Pinkie Pie planet, it's got the color and the seemingly law breaking nature. ;) I love the rate of planet discovery going on. If only we could go to them.

Aptspire:
Pinkie Pie's planet, or Happyness Patrol planet?
I hope for the former. (or maybe it's Equestria! :D)

Hah! You got ninja'd, son! Also, pink planet of talking ponies? Sounds about right; let's just hope it's not some Twilight Zone switcheroo thing going on, where the ponies are actually carnivorous. o.o

However, I think since it's four times as large as Jupiter, it'll probably be just as toxic and uninhabitable...

I, too, applaud the rate of planetary discovery and hope that intergalactic travel is not too far off into the future, especially for those who don't want to cryonically preserve themselves just to be able to see it...Though, it's not a bad idea...

serious biscuit:

weirdguy:
or maybe there isn't that much debris in that area because that one planet ate it all

I think I played a flash game similar to this once.

Universal Sandbox? Cause that's actually on Steam...

DVS BSTrD:
Think of it as... Pie in the sky?

Ba-dum tish! Also, if there's ever a situation where the entirety of humanity votes on which two people are going to become gods, I'd vote for you and C-Miss so you could make the most delicious galaxy ever.

....Don't ask me how that'd happen; I just like yummy ideas.

Nah I think it gravity crush or something, like an actual browser game.

Maybe aliens do exist and they've developed an abnormally colored protective gas shield to ward off probing eyes and invaders.

... I'm obviously no astronomer, in case you couldn't tell.

Aptspire:
Pinkie Pie's planet, or Happyness Patrol planet?
I hope for the former. (or maybe it's Equestria! :D)

Ukomba:
It's a Pinkie Pie planet, it's got the color and the seemingly law breaking nature. ;) I love the rate of planet discovery going on. If only we could go to them.

I specifically think Equestria would look Blue given the sea's are blue and all that lovely jazz. Which means this is something else-

*eyes widen in horror*

It's a Trap! That planet's filled to the Brim with Slaanesh's cultists and Daemons!

-sorrowful breath-

In Fealty of the God Emperor, our undying lord, and by the grace of the Golden throne: I declare Exterminatus on the world of GJ 504b. I hereby sign the death warrant of an entire world and consign a billion souls to Oblivion. May Imperial Justice account in all balance. The Emperor Protects.

It is probably their for the same reason Uranus and Neptune are pretty large yet far away from our star: it was flung away from its star by a great force of gravity. Neptune and Uranus were once farther in the sun's orbit than Saturn. Jupiter and Saturn lined up in such a way that their combined gravity pulled Uranus and Neptune in their direction. The momentum kept them going for a while until they were slowed down and eventually stopped by lots and lots of rocks. They collected rocks along their trip which increased their mass and slowed them down.

Since this planet is bigger than Jupiter, it could've been pulled by a passing asteroid or something. It could've even been pulled by an even larger planet in that system which simply has not yet been spotted.
The more you know

Space. Just when you think you've nailed something down, space throws a curve ball.

I love space news. ^.^

Planetary/star formation theory is a slightly different ballgame compared to grand-scale cosmological theories. So far our cosmological theories are fairly solid (besides the mysteries of Dark Matter, WIMPS and Higgs I mean) and discovery of weird planets doesn't really change any of that.
Overall planetary formation is really "behind" compared to other fields like star formation because planets are just so damn hard to observe and study. They are extremely tiny, hardly reflect light, don't generate their own light, etc.

For now whenever strange rogue planets are observed in places where they couldn't form, it's not difficult to imagine that they were once part of a system and were flung out of orbit (unstable orbit or something else disturbed their orbit). Happens all the time with asteroids/comets.

I was watching a documentary of how they found a gas giant 40% larger than Jupiter orbiting it's star at a closer distance than Sun to Mercury. Theoretically a huge gassy planet couldn't possibly form that close to the star, but they found out that it was once quite a large distance away until it's own orbit decayed and caused it to spiral into an extremely tight orbit. That planet only has around 10 million years to go before it completely vaporizes.

I believe we found the Vespids.

I don't believe all our theories about space. But this is what I really like about science:
'A theory is there because it's a rule which seems to apply, true or not. If something comes along and contradicts a current theory, they re-examine that theory.'

Dr.Awkward:
Just a thought here, but being a gas giant, could it be possible that two really big gas giants collided into each other and formed into this planet? A similar theory (the difference being that the doomed planet swiped instead of colliding with Earth) is used surrounding the formation of Earth's moon.

im curious about this. what would happen if a planet collided directly with the Earth? would both just break apart?

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus and gays are from GJ 504b.

Kalezian:

Astalano:
I believe god did it.

well, if anyone did use this as evidence of god, then that would cement my theory.

That God, if he/she/it does exist, is the greatest troll in the universe.

"oh, think you know how planets are formed, here's a giant pink ball of gas in a place where it shouldn't be. Problem, Scientists?"

I lol'd

God is da man!

MinionJoe:

Fappy:
Makes you wonder how far off the mark the bulk of our theories about space really are.

Theories (in astrophysics) are as accurate as possible given all the observational data accumulated thus far. But they're flexible enough that when new data arrives, the theory is either changed or replaced. If GJ 504b doesn't fit the current models, then the current model will be updated. Happens regularly enough.

Yeah, but we know next to nothing about space, really. We're just throwing stuff around hoping to find something interesting. I'm curious about the color, though. I do wonder what sort of gas that planet has to make it that color.

Redlin5:
Space. Just when you think you've nailed something down, space throws a curve ball.

I love space news. ^.^

Agreed. I was born in the wrong period of time. I'd rather have been born when we could actually travel in space.

I know how unrealistic that may be. Let me have my dreams, dammit.

My guess is something is distorting the light we're receiving.

Ladies. Gentlemen. Aliens across the galaxy. I'm pretty sure we all know what has happened here. There is only one thing that can explain this mysterious phenomenon.

No other explanation is necessary.

Well lets see, there are several viable theories that don't negate the standing CA theory. for one, how many other planets are orbiting that star. It could simply mean that the matter that would have gone into other planets went into that heck with a mass 4 times that of Jupiter it could have very well pulled in it's neighbors.

Otherwise, yeah, the universe is full of weird shit. Problem with science is that it's based on observation and sadly we're really rather late in most of these observations. If we'dseen the planet form it'd have been obvious, but as is we can only speculate and guess.

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