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119 comments

Um... (5, Funny)

IronMagnus (777535) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659723)

Thats no moon...

Re:Um... (5, Funny)

rk (6314) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659885)

Cue the Death Star references in 3... damn! Late to the party again!

Re:Um... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660745)

To replace a lot of "funny" tags on post there should be a new categorization called "obligatory."

Because I, for one, welcome our new obligatory overlords.

Re:Um... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660851)

It already exists. It is called -1 Troll.

Re:Um... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23661099)

Thats no moon...
How do you know that? It could easily have been a planet and a lot of heavy moons. That would explain why the planet has a low visible cross section but a high apparent mass.

Obviously, it's... (3, Funny)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661863)

YO MOMMA!

cuz yo mommma so fat, she got two smaller mommas orbiting around her!

Thats no moon ... (5, Funny)

hostyle (773991) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659739)

Eh. how about calling it "large dense object in space" also known as The Shatner

Re:Thats no moon ... (3, Funny)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660377)

Eh. how about calling it "large dense object in space" also known as The Shatner

Or how about just "Shat" for short?

[Father O'Flannery voice] Aye, ye'll be burnin' in purgatory fer that one, me boy-o! [/Father O'Flannery voice]

Sorry.

Really.

Strat

Re:Thats no moon ... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#23665963)

Something about your name and post made me think about a large planet firing gun called the "Shat-o-caster"

Re:Thats no moon ... (1)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660743)

defying categorization as a planet, star, or brown dwarf

Sounds like the Oprah Phenomenon to me. :-)

Re:Thats no moon ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23662391)

how about a Dyson Sphere?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyson_sphere [wikipedia.org]

Re:Thats no moon ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23665773)

And if you look harder, you may find the Shadow Fortress, home of Umbra.

Re:Thats no moon ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23668153)

In the broadest sense, the way to extract useful work is to find a thermodynamically favourable process (i.e., one which creates greater entropy in the Universe as a whole and ALSO locally) and couple it to a process which reduces entropy locally (but increasing entropy in the universe as whole).

Entropy here is from statistical mechanics -- the (log) relationship between the number of possible microstates that can combine to produce an observable large scale macrostate.

The production of high-energy photons and other particles from gravitational collapse is a natural process that is thermodynamically favourable. Dyson spheres couple with those particles to do useful work, but the trade-off is a reradiation of lower-energy photons. The energy reduction is proportional to the amount of work done and the efficiency of the work extraction mechanism.

An ordinary star masked behind a Dyson sphere would still radiate lots of long-wave photons from the surface of the sphere. At a distance of only a few light years, a Dyson sphere would most likely look like a pointlike blackbody radiator, and would be pretty obvious. In principle some of that radiation could be channeled into jets that are off axis to us, and which do not interact with any interstellar matter in a way which would provide a secondary indication of the sphere's existence.

In practice, such hiding poses a difficult aiming problem (there are lots of gases which would produce an astronomical ASE which we would see given almost any possible orientation of the Dyson sphere waste energy jet). It would also significantly reduce the amount of useful work the Sphere itself could extract from the star it surrounds. If you are only going to use a tiny fraction of the star's output, why wastefully completely surround the star with a complicated shell structure instead of using only arrays of "panels" in orbit around it? "It looks pretty!" is in the small set of plausible answers.

Dyson-like Structures which do not completely surround a star would produce eclipses which would be detectable at considerable range. In fact, if they were commonplace within a few Megaparsecs of Earth, they would be extremely handy distance measuring devices for Earthbound astronomers!

Chuch Norris (3, Funny)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659855)

Only Chuck Norris could ever be denser than platinum, so this is either him or soon getting destroyed because only Chuck Norris can defy the laws of physics.

Re:Chuch Norris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660643)

What I don't understand is why reporters always make comparisons with things people have no grasp of. Expressing the density in terms of the density of steel or water would make sense because people come in contact with large amounts of such materials every day, but platinium?

Oh well, at least they didn't use libraries of congress per cubic furlong.

The Great Evil? (3, Funny)

fitten (521191) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659865)

Quick... somebody run find Leeloo...

Re:The Great Evil? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660455)

Quick... somebody run find Leeloo.

I think I can safely say you'd have the *eager* assistance of every heterosexual male on the planet for that task...

Cheers!

Strat

Sorry... (1, Funny)

Volatar (1099775) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659879)

My bathroom broke on an interstellar sight-seeing trip and I had to go real bad...

Re:Sorry... (5, Funny)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660697)

My bathroom broke on an interstellar sight-seeing trip and I had to go real bad...
That had to hurt. The object is much larger than Uranus...

Re:Sorry... (3, Insightful)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 5 years ago | (#23662907)

It's been a long, long, time since I've seen a Uranus joke that made me laugh :)

Re:Sorry... (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 5 years ago | (#23663035)

Been awhile here too, but I figured it was due to the name change to Urectum to end all those silly jokes.

Brown Dwarf... (4, Funny)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659907)

...needs classification badly

Re:Brown Dwarf... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23663617)

Oh man, I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Thanks!

Re:Brown Dwarf... (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#23665251)


That's got to be one of the most obscure jokes I've ever seen on Slashdot. Nice!

Re:Brown Dwarf... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23667571)

Anonymous Coward is about to die!

It's a Dwarf! (4, Informative)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#23659979)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_dwarf [wikipedia.org]:

Brown dwarfs are sub-stellar objects with a mass below that necessary to maintain hydrogen-burning nuclear fusion reactions in their cores, as do stars on the main sequence, but which have fully convective surfaces and interiors, with no chemical differentiation by depth. Brown dwarfs occupy the mass range between that of large gas giant planets and the lowest mass stars; this upper limit is between 75[1] and 80 Jupiter masses (MJ). Currently there is some debate as to what criterion to use to define the separation between a brown dwarf from a giant planet at very low brown dwarf masses (~13 MJ ), and whether brown dwarfs are required to have experienced fusion at some point in their history. In any event, brown dwarfs heavier than 13 MJ do fuse deuterium and those above ~65 MJ also fuse lithium.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660211)

Yes but they don't have such high densities - I think the point is that it's a huge anomaly for it to have such a high mass with such a small radius - it probably has to be way denser than any brown dwarf could be (as it would have to contain a lot of elements heavier than helium).

I might be wrong, this is just the impression I got as a physics undergrad.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (4, Interesting)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660623)

Dear Gods. Maybe it's a black dwarf. A dead star that burned through all its nuclear fuel long ago and has since cooled.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (5, Interesting)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660799)

If it is, we're going to have to reevaluate the age of the universe.

Theoretically speaking, it should take longer than the current estimated age of the universe for a star to go through the evolution to red giant to white dwarf to black dwarf.

If it is a black dwarf, that'd be flipping cool.

--AC

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 5 years ago | (#23662983)

It can't be a black dwarf under current theories, at least those that you (and I) are aware of.

However, just about a hundred years ago, it wasn't possible for the sun to have been burning for as long as it had been, yet it was there.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

Lunarsight (1053230) | more than 5 years ago | (#23663353)

It can't be a black dwarf under current theories, at least those that you (and I) are aware of.


IANAA*, but theoretically, could something have potentially contributed to its early demise? Maybe some other heavenly body was sucking the life out of it..

(*I am not an astronomer..)

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 5 years ago | (#23664483)

Maybe some other heavenly body was sucking the life out of it..
No, the problem is heat. A white dwarf has an awful lot of heat. And only known way for a white dwarf to lose heat and cool down is thermal radiation, which is very very slow compared to the amount of heat in a white dwarf. The heat can't be "sucked out" of a white dwarf, so even if a white dwarf was created almost immediately after the big bang, it'd still be very hot.

Well, I guess you could imagine building a huge cooling pipe system out of some sort of neutronium matter, drill the pipes into the degenerate matter of the white dwarf, and then pump some kind of nucleon fluid through the pipes and into a huge neutronium heat sink you somehow built on the incredibly hot surface of the white dwarf... Now that would be a feat of stellar engineering :-)

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

abirdman (557790) | more than 5 years ago | (#23665611)

This sounds just like my son's old Athlon 2.7 processor. Just be sure to use lots of thermal paste, and don't forget to plug in the fan-- ever!

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

BokanoiD (777107) | more than 5 years ago | (#23666085)

What if its heat was 'used', in the sense that we're looking at an (ex-)Dyson sphere? that would certainly make things interesting all of a sudden :)

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 5 years ago | (#23666441)

Probably has the wrong spectral signature for that. Unless you can build a dyson sphere out of diatomic hydrogren...

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 5 years ago | (#23665113)

Like maybe a RIAA lawyer - they're not technically Heavanly Bodies since the Fall, but it'd kinda fit...

Re:It's a Dwarf! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23667311)

If it is, we're going to have to reevaluate the age of the universe, or the current evolutionary theory of stars.

Theoretically speaking, it should take longer than the current estimated age of the universe for a star to go through the evolution to red giant to white dwarf to black dwarf.

If it is a black dwarf, that'd be flipping cool.

--AC
Not sure why you would assume only one can be wrong.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660921)

That would make for some entertaining reading, since the formation of a black dwarf is hypothesized to take longer than the current...hypothesized age of the universe.
Alternatively, it could be some freak planet that resulted from the accumulation of material ejected from countless huge stars.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660947)

As the person says about, not in the age of the Universe. I don't know how old it would have to be, but to be that mass I'm fairly sure it would need to be several times older than the Universe itself at least.

I guess though, the point is noone is really sure what it is yet. My personal guess would be the core of a larger object that somehow lost its envelope, but wasn't dense enough to form a white dwarf, but it's a bit of a mystery.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#23669109)

It makes me wonder if it's a fairly standard rocky planet apart from being of tremendous size. Anyone have any idea how much iron would compress on a planet that massive? The bigger the planet, the higher the density, even if they're made of the same materials.

It's pretty amazing to think of. I wonder what the surface of that thing is like? I didn't see any information on the article as to what star it was orbitting or how close, so I don't have any idea what it's surface temperature is like. I doubt it's too hot, or else I'd expect the planet to inflate like the hot jupiters do.

Re:It's a Dwarf! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660759)

I dropped a brown dwarf off at the porcelain pool earlier today.

it's dark matter (1, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660071)

Well assuming it isn't as simple as "well it does/doesn't give off light so it is/isn't a star" even though I have no idea why it's not that simple, I'd say it's a good candidate for what most dark matter is. If it doesn't give off light and isn't close enough to a star to be seen (I mean this one is buy others like it) then it's dark, effectively invisible matter. If a nebula comes together from gravity and it's a really, really small nebula, it could form one of these instead of a star and we simply wouldn't be able to see it. Sounds like an explanation for the missing matter to me.

Re:it's dark matter (2, Insightful)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660257)

We've searched for large, dense objects that create dark matter (MACHOs) with microlensing, but there aren't nearly enough. Combined with some other properties of dark matter observed in other galaxies, where it appears to be distinct from normal matter, we're fairly sure now that it's small particles with a mass, such as neutrinos or some as yet undiscovered particle (WIMPs). Wikipedia will probably tell you more.

Re:it's dark matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660883)

I got some dark matter for you, its the brown dwarf that came out of Uranus.

FWIW: IANAAP (4, Informative)

Goobermunch (771199) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660879)

Except that Dark Matter as we currently understand it is not simply matter that's "in the dark." Under current cosmological theory, regular baryonic matter, makes up only a small fraction of the universe, with dark matter (i.e., non-baryonic matter) making up some of the rest and dark energy making up approximately 70%.

So while this object contributes to some of the missing mass in the universe, it's probably not the kind of thing that properly would be called dark matter.

--AC

Re:it's dark matter (1)

dainichi (1181931) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661027)

I think we need another classification of matter. How about "does it matter"?

Re:it's dark matter (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#23663371)

I think we need another classification of matter. How about "does it matter"?
So you're saying we should call this a DIM star.

Re:it's dark matter (1)

dainichi (1181931) | more than 5 years ago | (#23663499)

I think we need another classification of matter. How about "does it matter"?
So you're saying we should call this a DIM star.
Exactly. If something doesn't fit in any existing category, we obviously need a new category.

Sinistar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23660333)

Dwarf or Halfling?

And the possible other exoplanet? (3, Interesting)

delibes (303485) | more than 5 years ago | (#23660941)

OK, dense large planet, interesting... hang on, what about the other bit in the article?!
Other signals detected by the satellite could also indicate the existence of another exoplanet with a radius 1.7 times that of Earth's.
The little green men are getting more likely all the time...

my questions are (0, Redundant)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661061)

if it does not emit light, how the blazes did we find it? and second, if its has a similar density to platinum, who's to say its not just a big ball of platinum out there? (yea thats the dumb question there)

Re:my questions are (1)

burgundysizzle (1192593) | more than 5 years ago | (#23662349)

You could have RTFA, but this is slashdot almost no-one does that. The method for detecting the planets is in it:

The satellite uses the transit method to detect planets as they pass in front of their parent star and block out part of the light seen by the telescope.

Can't be a planet (3, Funny)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661239)

It can't be a planet, by definition:

* is in orbit around the Sun,
* has sufficient mass so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and
* has "cleared the neighbourhood" around its orbit.
Emphasis mine.

Re:Can't be a planet (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661287)

Sorry to reply to myself, but the article actually does specify exoplanet multiple times. So the summary is slightly wrong. I hate being pedantic but the IAU forced me to do it! =)

Re:Can't be a planet (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661561)

I might forgive you if you realize how you just demonstrated how useless such definitions actually are when it comes to increasing our knowledge.

Re:Can't be a planet (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#23662691)

That is a typo...

It's suppose to be in orbit around IT'S sun.

In other words, an object that has been ejected from a solar system is NOT a planet.

Re:Can't be a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23666081)

It's still a typo, you asshole.

Re:Can't be a planet (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#23666323)

It's a typo from the source they pulled it from NOT the actual deffinition. Look into the papers describing the deffinition and you will find it is just right.

Getting mad about a journalists typo seems like wasted effort to me.

Re:Can't be a planet (1)

CaptainPinko (753849) | more than 5 years ago | (#23663471)

Only if by "our" you mean specifically on /. and additional pop-sci places and not in general (such as for between scientists and such).

Re:Can't be a planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23665977)

Given the potentially complex relationships between an orbiting body in a celestial system[1], you'd think they'd have gone for some more generic label like:

* is in orbit around a star or stars, where the inner elliptical focus of the orbit is within the [effective] body of the central star[s]. ie: it's definitely NOT a binary system

[1] I'd have called it a planetary system, except by the current definition (if the parent is correct) there is only one planetary system: The Solar System.

You think ? (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661339)

who can stand against the power of astronomers ?

pluto was not able to defy reclassification as 'not planet' after a few hundred years.

a commission of astronomers may rule it back to being a planet 5-10 years later.

you know what ? f@ck astronomers. ill teach my kids that pluto is a planet.

Re:You think ? (3, Funny)

amilham (737749) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661539)

pluto was not able to defy reclassification as 'not planet' after a few hundred years.
Except that Pluto wasn't even discovered until 1930. Not really 'a few hundred years'.

Re:You think ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23662633)

But Pluto was discovered by an American, dammit!

Pluto is the only planet discovered by an American.

There's simply no way we can give it up.

That'd be like asking the Brits to finally concede that the orbit calculated for Neptune by John Couch Adams was nowhere near correct and the credit goes solely to Frenchman, Urbain Le Verrier, who calculated the correct orbit and did so before Adams!

Not. Gonna. Happen. Ever.

Re:You think ? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23665675)

The problem that Pluto had that led to its demotion is that it has nothing special, it one in many bodies that exists beyond the gas giants, and the only thing that makes it particular is that it was found long before the others because it gave away its position by interfering with the orbit of a planet.

On a strictly technical point of view, it is mostly a large chunk of ice that has a non-circular orbit outside of the planets orbital plan, so calling it a dwarf planet is a polite way of not calling it a large comet.

Just don't (1)

Mr00000 (1137141) | more than 5 years ago | (#23661899)

fire missiles at it. You gotta remember that evil begets evil. That thing will fuck up your ship.

Text Excerpt from the Interview (2, Funny)

Fieryphoenix (1161565) | more than 5 years ago | (#23662939)

Geraldo Springer: I must insist you answer me! Are you a planet, or a star?
[sputters]

Unclassified Object: I may be a star... perhaps.
[lays pinky finger to corner of mouth]
Or am I a planet?
[simpers]
Or maybe, just maybe
[faces away from camera, drops pants, bends over]
I AM A MOON!

Irony (2, Insightful)

Codex_of_Wisdom (1222836) | more than 5 years ago | (#23663293)

Didn't the IAU just "figure out" the definitions of stars and planets? Are we going to have another year long line of BS talks and arguments, ending in a bad definition that rewrites every science book and generally gives everyone a headache? I hope not...

FSA? (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#23664839)

The French Space Agency? That's funny, I'm French and I didn't even know we had that. Don't they mean European rather than French?

Re:FSA? (3, Informative)

Celandine (610250) | more than 5 years ago | (#23665047)

No. The French, Italians, Dutch etc all have their own space agencies in addition to ESA. (However I have never seen the acronym FSA used for the French one: it's the CNES [www.cnes.fr], the Centre National d'Etudes spatiales.)

Re:FSA? (1)

Exaton (523551) | more than 5 years ago | (#23665717)

I had the exact same reaction.

As Wikipedia soon indicated, however, and as the brother post has mentioned, the summary is referring to the CNES :)

Re:FSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23666361)

maybe CNES sounds better ?

Perhaps.. just perhaps.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23667319)

It's the next evolutionary step of a planet. All things evolve, so why can't planets?

Perhaps I've just read Star Maker too much =/

old news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23667651)

Rosie O'Donnell was discovered years ago.
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