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Headlines First planet under three suns discovered

RageAgainst

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#1
http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12716.html

First Planet Under Three Suns Is Discovered

PASADENA, Calif.--An extrasolar planet under three suns has been discovered in the constellation Cygnus by a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology using the 10-meter Keck I telescope in Hawaii. The planet is slightly larger than Jupiter and, given that it has to contend with the gravitational pull of three bodies, promises to seriously challenge our current understanding of how planets are formed.

In the July 14 issue of Nature, Maciej Konacki, a senior postdoctoral scholar in planetary science at Caltech, reports on the discovery of the Jupiter-class planet orbiting the main star of the close-triple-star system known as HD 188753. The three stars are about 149 light-years from Earth and are about as close to one another as the distance between the sun and Saturn.

In other words, a viewer there would see three bright suns in the sky. In fact, the sun that the planet orbits would be a very large object in the sky indeed, given that the planet's "year" is only three and a half days long. And it would be yellow, because the main star of HD 188753 is very similar to our own sun. The larger of the other two suns would be orange, and the smaller red.

Konacki refers to the new type of planet as "Tatooine planets," because of the similarity to Luke Skywalker's view of his home planet's sky in the first Star Wars movie.

"The environment in which this planet exists is quite spectacular," says Konacki. "With three suns, the sky view must be out of this world-literally and figuratively."

However, Konacki adds that the fact that a planet can even exist in a multiple-star system is amazing in itself. Binary and multiple stars are quite common in the solar neigborhood, and in fact outnumber single stars by some 20 percent.

Researchers have found most of the extrasolar planets discovered so far by using a precision velocity technique that is easier to employ on studies of single stars. Experts generally avoided close-binary and close-multiple stars because the existing planet detection techniques fail for such complicated systems, and also because theories of solar-system formation suggested that planets were very unlikely to form in such environments.

Konacki's breakthrough was made possible by his development of a novel method that allows him to precisely measure velocities of all members of close-binary and close-multiple-star systems. He used the technique for a search for extrasolar planets in such systems with the Keck I telescope. The planet in the HD 188753 system is the first one from this survey.

"If we believe that the same basic processes lead to the formation of planets around single stars and components of multiple stellar systems, then such processes should be equally feasible, regardless of the presence of stellar companions," Konacki says. "Planets from complicated stellar systems will put our theories of planet formation to a strict test."

Scientists in 1995 discovered the first "hot Jupiter"-in other words, an extrasolar gas-giant planet with an orbital period of three to nine days. Today, more than 20 such planets are known to orbit other stars. These planets are believed to form in a disk of gas and condensed matter at or beyond three astronomical units (three times the 93-million-mile distance between the sun and Earth).

A sufficient amount of solid material exists at three astronomical units to produce a core capable of capturing enough gas to form a giant planet. After formation, these planets are believed to migrate inward to their present very close orbits.

If the parent star is orbited by a close stellar companion, then its gravitational pull can significantly truncate a protoplanetary disk around the main star. In the case of HD 188753, the two stellar companions would truncate the disk around the main star to a radius of only 1.3 astronomical units, leaving no space for a planet to form.

"How that planet formed in such a complicated setting is very puzzling. I believe there is yet much to be learned about how giant planets are formed," says Konacki.

The research was funded by NASA.

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Pretty cool.
 

JLXC

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Sweet, have USA investers sold the planet to the highest bidder yet?
 

RageAgainst

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#4
JLXC said:
Sweet, have USA investers sold the planet to the highest bidder yet?
lolz, well they could but it would be pretty stupid seeing as it would take 165 years of light speed travel to get there, plus it's all gas. Who wants to live in gas?
 

JLXC

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I'm sure it could sell to some people who would make it a refilling station for space ships. The first interstellar Shell or something. heh.
 

Descent

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#6
RageAgainst said:
http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12716.html

First Planet Under Three Suns Is Discovered

PASADENA, Calif.--An extrasolar planet under three suns has been discovered in the constellation Cygnus by a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology using the 10-meter Keck I telescope in Hawaii. The planet is slightly larger than Jupiter and, given that it has to contend with the gravitational pull of three bodies, promises to seriously challenge our current understanding of how planets are formed.

In the July 14 issue of Nature, Maciej Konacki, a senior postdoctoral scholar in planetary science at Caltech, reports on the discovery of the Jupiter-class planet orbiting the main star of the close-triple-star system known as HD 188753. The three stars are about 149 light-years from Earth and are about as close to one another as the distance between the sun and Saturn.

In other words, a viewer there would see three bright suns in the sky. In fact, the sun that the planet orbits would be a very large object in the sky indeed, given that the planet's "year" is only three and a half days long. And it would be yellow, because the main star of HD 188753 is very similar to our own sun. The larger of the other two suns would be orange, and the smaller red.

Konacki refers to the new type of planet as "Tatooine planets," because of the similarity to Luke Skywalker's view of his home planet's sky in the first Star Wars movie.

"The environment in which this planet exists is quite spectacular," says Konacki. "With three suns, the sky view must be out of this world-literally and figuratively."

However, Konacki adds that the fact that a planet can even exist in a multiple-star system is amazing in itself. Binary and multiple stars are quite common in the solar neigborhood, and in fact outnumber single stars by some 20 percent.

Researchers have found most of the extrasolar planets discovered so far by using a precision velocity technique that is easier to employ on studies of single stars. Experts generally avoided close-binary and close-multiple stars because the existing planet detection techniques fail for such complicated systems, and also because theories of solar-system formation suggested that planets were very unlikely to form in such environments.

Konacki's breakthrough was made possible by his development of a novel method that allows him to precisely measure velocities of all members of close-binary and close-multiple-star systems. He used the technique for a search for extrasolar planets in such systems with the Keck I telescope. The planet in the HD 188753 system is the first one from this survey.

"If we believe that the same basic processes lead to the formation of planets around single stars and components of multiple stellar systems, then such processes should be equally feasible, regardless of the presence of stellar companions," Konacki says. "Planets from complicated stellar systems will put our theories of planet formation to a strict test."

Scientists in 1995 discovered the first "hot Jupiter"-in other words, an extrasolar gas-giant planet with an orbital period of three to nine days. Today, more than 20 such planets are known to orbit other stars. These planets are believed to form in a disk of gas and condensed matter at or beyond three astronomical units (three times the 93-million-mile distance between the sun and Earth).

A sufficient amount of solid material exists at three astronomical units to produce a core capable of capturing enough gas to form a giant planet. After formation, these planets are believed to migrate inward to their present very close orbits.

If the parent star is orbited by a close stellar companion, then its gravitational pull can significantly truncate a protoplanetary disk around the main star. In the case of HD 188753, the two stellar companions would truncate the disk around the main star to a radius of only 1.3 astronomical units, leaving no space for a planet to form.

"How that planet formed in such a complicated setting is very puzzling. I believe there is yet much to be learned about how giant planets are formed," says Konacki.

The research was funded by NASA.

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

Pretty cool.


Yeah, it is cool, it gave me great war flashbacks...That was the first thing that popped into my head when I read that article.

We should fund for exploration next.
 

RageAgainst

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Descent said:
We should fund for exploration next.
Extrasolar exploration? With humans exploring, it's impossible. We haven't been on Mars yet. With robots, it might be possible, but by the time it would reach another star system, we'd all be dead.
 

Descent

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RageAgainst said:
Extrasolar exploration? With humans exploring, it's impossible. We haven't been on Mars yet. With robots, it might be possible, but by the time it would reach another star system, we'd all be dead.
Not with Solar Sail engines. It's a working concept developed by NASA that is nothing but a spacecraft with heat reactive collapsable wings. During transit, you use the sun to propel you like a boom boom boom bomm boomerang, or a PS3 controller, like a slingshot effect to where you need to go.

But it's pricey.

The other option is Ion Drive engines which accelerate very slowly but go much faster than our current engines. They emil a blue glow when in use, and require no fuel and make no flames. If you want an idea of that they look like in action, think of a blue floodlight.
 

MetalHead

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Descent said:
The other option is Ion Drive engines which accelerate very slowly but go much faster than our current engines. They emil a blue glow when in use, and require no fuel and make no flames. If you want an idea of that they look like in action, think of a blue floodlight.
How is that possible. I thought perpetual motion devices were impossible. Friction, if I remember correctly, causes a small amount of energy to be lost thus eventually causing the device to sputter to hault. I may be wrong but I beleive that you have been misinformed.
 

Descent

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MetalHead said:
How is that possible. I thought perpetual motion devices were impossible. Friction, if I remember correctly, causes a small amount of energy to be lost thus eventually causing the device to sputter to hault. I may be wrong but I beleive that you have been misinformed.
No, it requires electricity, silly :).
 

Darklight

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Descent said:
No, it requires electricity, silly :).
so in the long run it requires fuel.. gotta make the electricity from something... even nuclear reactor needs plutonium which is fuel... and expendable...
 

MetalHead

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In space you wouldn't need to use fuel for energy, solar power is infinite in space. So I suppose it could run without any fuel. However, some fuel would be needed to get it off the ground.
 

Descent

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They demonstrated both devices on The Discovery Channel back in 2000 on the four hour long special Hyperspace. They were mounted in test chamber, not actual spacecraft, but they worked VERY well.
 

RageAgainst

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Energy is needed whenever you need to "fight" gravity (to launch or land your ship).

Solar power is not infinite in space, nuh-huh. If you want to go into another solar system, the distance you will have to travel between OUR sun and the other sun is so huge, that at one point the solar energy will be minimal (it's gonna be crazy cold).

But then again, all you need to travel in space is enough energy to "fight" gravity (if something pulls you in any direction, you need to "push" yourself in the opposite direction using some kind of fuel)

Even then Descent, like I said, the second next star to earth is so far away, people would die before they'd reach it, wich would mean, they would have to breed inside the ship, and they would likely go crazy (the psychological effects of this would be huge)
 

gehtfuct

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We're going to geht there using anti-matter. I've got two mopeds and a POS car running on it as we speak. It's all gravy from here. It's just a matter of when. Bingo night on thursday, this problem with the current shuttle mission, no babysitter available. It's always something.
 

Woodreaux

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The HD 188753 system is about 149 lightyears away. Even if we could reach the speed of light, it would take a century and half to reach it. There are plenty of planets in other solar systems that much closer.

Mu Arae (also called HD 160691) is about 50 light years away, is a yellow main sequence star (real similar to our sun) has at least one gas giant at the right distance for it's moons to support oceans.

HD 147513 is another yellow sun like ours 42 light years away that has a Jupiter sized world at the good distance.

Gliese 876 is a red dwarf about 15.4 light years away. It has a couple of gas giants in close enough orbits for moons to have liquid water.

You can find these and a shitload of other planets in other solar systems at:
http://extrasolar.net/.

Considering that for every known yellow star like our sun(and there have been A LOT found already) there are several red dwarfs we can be sure that there are many planets outside our solar system that are fairly close by. The problem is red dwarfs are trickier to find than brighter yellow stars. Additionally, it's hard to find anything but gas giants (planets like Jupiter and Saturn) with the current methods. These gaseous planets themselves cannot support human life, but they may have moons that could.