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Odd Planet Confuses Scientists

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the that's-no-moon dept.

Space 142

eldavojohn writes "While there's been a lot of debate about what is a planet, there is a recent discovery that has scientists even more confused. COROT (COnvection ROtation and planetary Transits) spotted an object that appears to be the size of Jupiter yet is 21.6 times more massive ... and orbits its star in a mere four days and six hours. Now, the other piece of the puzzle is that the star it orbits is more massive and only slightly larger than our Sun. But they can't describe this thing orbiting it. So far they think it is more likely to be a 'failed star' but have settled with 'member of a new-found family of very massive planets that encircle stars more massive than the sun' to describe it accurately."

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I hate to say it.. (3, Funny)

Daswolfen (1277224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307423)

... but that's no moon.

Re:I hate to say it.. (5, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308059)

You're so dense.

The wisdom of The LORD is folly in the eyes of man (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307461)

This is what it would be like, if the majority of people were athiests.
ATHIEST KID: Mom, I'm going to go fuck a hooker.
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, son.
ATHIEST KID: Afterwards, I'm going to go smoke pot with my friends, since it's "not addictive."
ATHIEST MOM: Okay, come home soon!

The athiest kid leaves the room. The father comes home from work several minutes later.

ATHIEST DAD: Hey!
ATHIEST MOM: Hi, honey! I'm pregnant again. I guess I'll just get another abortion, since "fetuses don't count as human life."
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, get as many abortions as you want!
ATHIEST MOM: Oh, and don't go in the bedroom.
ATHIEST DAD: Why not?
ATHIEST MOM: There are two gay men fucking eachother in there.
ATHIEST DAD: Why are they here?
ATHIEST MOM: I wanted to watch them do it for awhile. They just aren't finished yet.
ATHIEST DAD: Okay, that's fine with me!

Suddenly, their neighbor runs into the house.

ATHIEST NEIGHBOR: Come quick, there's a Christian outside!
ATHIEST MOM: We'll be right there!

The athiest couple quickly put on a pair of black robes and hoods. They then exit the house, and run into the street, where a Christian is nailed to a large, wooden X. He is being burned alive. A crowd of athiests stand around him, all wearing black robes and hoods.

RANDOM ATHIEST: Damn you, Christian! We hate you! We claim to be tolerant of all religions. But we really hate your's! That's because we athiests are hypocritical like that! Die, Christian!

THE END

Scary, isn't it?

Re:The wisdom of The LORD is folly in the eyes of (0, Offtopic)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307497)

Good thing there is nothing like ATHIESM in this world. Use a dictionary from time to time, dumb Christian. It's spelled A-T-H-E-I-S-T.

Re:The wisdom of The LORD is folly in the eyes of (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309173)

How do you know? Maybe Athiesm is a new religion they made up, where his god is contained in a Coca Cola bottle with a misspelled label....

folly.... (1, Offtopic)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307637)

This is what it would be like, if the majority of people were athiests.

SNIP

Scary, isn't it?

Terrifying. The idea that such tripe could be considered as "wisdom" by anybody, no matter how anonymously cowardly. This steaming pile of idiocy is an excellent example of the logical fallacy known as the Straw Man Argument [wikipedia.org] .

Knowing a few basic things, such as how to think and put together a rational argument, can make your life soo much easier while keeping all of us out of the dark ages!

Re:folly.... (0, Offtopic)

mathx314 (1365325) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307937)

This is an old one [fstdt.com] . Don't feed the trolls.

Re:folly.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308069)

I think it was a troll.. but I have to add, while religion did "keep us in the dark ages", religion also has huge benefits for society. Once, I sat on a plane next to a guy reading a book blaming all the ills of society on religeon. That's a very narrow and biased view. Having done both, I'd rather live in a Christian society than an athiest society ANY day, regardless of my actual views. Make a list of countries, and make note of which ones are predominantly Judeo Christan, which ones are Muslim, and which ones are other. The only country in the 'other' column I'd be willing to live in is Japan.

Why choose? (-1, Offtopic)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308753)

Why choose "Christian" or "Muslim"? I say we do what has worked for quite some time: let people choose whatever religion makes them feel good, but apply logic and "it had better make some !@# sense" to public policy?

Re:The wisdom of The LORD is folly in the eyes of (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307763)

Scary, isn't it?

It'd be scarier if people like you were running whole countries.

Re:The wisdom of The LORD is folly in the eyes of (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307935)

Shamelessly stolen from here. [fstdt.com]

Re:The wisdom of The LORD is folly in the eyes of (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307947)

http://www.mrwiggleslovesyou.com/comics/rehab477.jpg [mrwiggleslovesyou.com]

Please see the middle panel

Re:The wisdom of The LORD is folly in the eyes of (0, Offtopic)

Bonobo_Unknown (925651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309775)

Scary? Funny!

Is orbital mechanics fractal? (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307479)

One thing I've wondered about: Does orbital mechanics lead to fractal planetary arrangements?

If so, binary stars and star/gas-giant planetary systems are just points in a continuum.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307703)

Maybe it's been too long since I've studied fractals and astronomy, but I have no idea what a "fractal planetary arrangement" is, nor can I even guess.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307739)

Well thanks for posting your nugget of wisdom :P

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307883)

No, thank you for not adding anything to the discussion. If you can explain what was meant, please do. If not, please don't bother posting.

But seriously, a continuum of what? What the hell does fractal geometry apply to planetary arrangements? To me those two sentences are nonsense. As I see it, fractals just don't apply. It's like asking if we'll have a long winter because a groundhog sees its shadow.

If I'm wrong, please enlighten me. That was the hope of my original post.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307961)

... I have no idea what a "fractal planetary arrangement" is...

The aspect of "fractal" I had in mind was "equivalently arranged across large variations in scale".

I.e. a gas giant and its moons are just a small version of a star and its planets, etc.

Of course you do get a discontinuity between a star that ignites and a gas giant that does not. For instance: A star's heat drives more volatiles off the orbiting rocky objects than a gas giant's warmth does. Solar wind tends to clear out small debris. (And that's not counting transient stuff around the ignition itself.)

Nevertheless, perhaps there are useful insights to be had from this speculation.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (3, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308839)

A usual property of fractal dimensions is they aren't integers. Cases with interger dimensionality in articles and books on fractals are simplified or 'degenerate' fractals. If scientists found themselves relying on math that involved non-integral dimensions to describe planetary systems, I could definitely see there being 'fractal planetary arrangements', but baring that, similarities across scales aren't enough to throw around a word such as fractals.
      The idea sounds like an extension of Bode's law, by people who are trying to modernize the old model. The original Bode's law may have been a case of people seeing patterns that aren't really there in reality at all, simply an overfunctioning of the brain's pattern detecting apparatus. Knowing there's a temptation to interpret the data this way, I'd be cautious trying to stretch fractal math to fit unless all of it fits.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309133)

Writing "integer dimensionality" is grammatically incorrect; you should have written "integral dimensionality" because "integer" is always a noun.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310525)

A usual property of fractal dimensions is they aren't integers. Cases with interger dimensionality in articles and books on fractals are simplified or 'degenerate' fractals.

Like this [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (3, Funny)

carambola5 (456983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308121)

My bet is that they just misplaced a decimal point somewhere. It's always some mundane detail like that.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308181)

Or got the units wrong. The measurements weren't taken by the guys who designed all those Mars landers that crashed, were they?

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308517)

Oh yea, me too. I wonder about that all the time. Farctal planet arranging and gassy star giants and stuff, yea.

Re:Is orbital mechanics fractal? (4, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308733)

Does orbital mechanics lead to fractal planetary arrangements?

Good, question, but my "shooting at the hip" answer is that while there may be some tendencies toward that kind of arrangement, that applies to certain conditions that are limited. Roughly, around our star, each planet ~2x the distance as the previous, out to Neptune or so.

I'd guess that while it happened here, that it won't happen everywhere, or that there's only a tendency toward this.

I think the idea of trying to define a planet vs asteroid vs planetoid vs failed star is kind of like trying to define the difference between a pebble", a rock, a stone, and a boulder. When does a pebble become a rock? When does a rock become a stone, and when does a stone become a boulder?

There's no clear line, and there doesn't need to be. Seriously: why do we care?

Get with the times... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307509)

Obviously this is a LittleBigPlanet. Whatever that is.

Re:Get with the times... (1)

giantweevil (1216540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307803)

It's a planet entirely populated by ragdoll people.

The planet's core is also entirely comprised of PS3's.

Re:Get with the times... (3, Funny)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308389)

Comprised of PS3? It will be hotter than the sun if someone turns that thing on and starts folding!

That's no planet. (5, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307535)

"the size of Jupiter yet 21.6 times more massive.. and orbits its star in a mere four days and six hours."

That's New Year roughly twice a week, by Jove.
Party on ; ).

Re:That's no planet. (0, Redundant)

hopejr (995381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307931)

No, it's the Death Star!

Re:That's no planet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308125)

My Girlfriend would be happy. That's means two boxing day's a week. Shopping spree !!!!!

Re:That's no planet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25309251)

Liar. You don't have a girlfriend.

Re:That's no planet. (3, Funny)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310081)

He capitalized it. Maybe that's the name of his cat.

Re:That's no planet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25310393)

She'd also have two periods a week.

You know, the way we're going... (1, Funny)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307537)

...before long astrophysicists will have more words for things that orbit other things than the Inuit have for snow.

Re:You know, the way we're going... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25309245)

I don't think the Inuit has more words for snow than we do in English:
Water, ice, black ice, snow, rain, slush, wet snow, dry snow, powder snow, pellet snow, feather snow...

Re:You know, the way we're going... (3, Informative)

Opyros (1153335) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309343)

Several of those are phrases, not individual words. However, Inuit languages don't really have a large number of independent words for snow, either; their polysynthetic structure makes it possible to form an unlimited number of words relating to snow from a handful of elements. This article [upenn.edu] by the linguist Geoffrey K. Pullum has more details.

What's it made of? (3, Interesting)

Canadian_Daemon (642176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307551)

If it is twice as dense as lead, what is it made of?

Re:What's it made of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307661)

Gold has a density close to twice that of lead... that would be pretty sweet

Re:What's it made of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307667)

I'd say either AOL CD's or Bullshit... both of which I think have a density greater than lead.

Re:What's it made of? (4, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307695)

Metallic Hydrogen? Though you would think that it would begin to fuse at that kind of mass-density. Then again, 26 times the mass of Jupiter is still less than 3% the mass of the sun so perhaps not. My guess is that this is the edge case. If there were even a little more mass it would have collapsed into a red dwarf and started fusing hydrogen.

Don't think so (5, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309461)

Actually, I don't think that metallic hydrogen is twice as dense as solid lead.

If you look at most metals, the higher the atomic weight, the higher the density of the solid. Depleted uranium is heavy, while Aluminium is lightweight, and Lithium is half the density of water, for example. So for hydrogen, metallic or not, to be denser than lead, you need it to be packed tighter than, I think, is physically possible.

At some quick maths, a hydrogen atom is 1, lead is 207-208 (82 protons and a load of neutrons.) I know that some mass is actually in the binding energy between those, but for some quick and very approximative maths let's say a lead atom is 200 times heavier than a hydrogen one. (Plus/minus something.) At the same distance between atoms, lead will be 200 times heavier than hydrogen. To go for twice as heavy, you need the hydrogen atoms to be packed at over 7 times less distance from each other than lead atoms are.

At a quick googling, the estimated range of densities for metallic hydrogen is anywhere between 0.4g per cubic centimetre (less than lithium) and 4g per cc (4 times as heavy as water), with apparently 0.8 being the most likely candidate for where it turns metal. Compress it any denser and it'll start to fuse. And we're still nowhere near as heavy as we need for that planet.

What throws a further spanner into it, is that our own gas giants _already_ have a core of metallic hydrogen. That' what's in the middle of Jupiter and Saturn. So something 26 times heavier, hmm, must be something else.

Re:What's it made of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307701)

If it is twice as dense as lead, what is it made of?

I guess it's the real Miss Universe...

Re:What's it made of? (2, Funny)

c_forq (924234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307775)

Really dense lead?

Re:What's it made of? (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309191)

Politicians.

Re:What's it made of? (3, Interesting)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307807)

I wonder if this is just a result of some weird gravitational lensing effect? I'm not very familiar with the technique, but from what I understand, its kind of like looking at a shadow in order to try and figure out the shape of an object... except the light source is light years away and the object is equally far away.... I'm sure as time goes by and our observation techniques improve, we are going to see many different things that we never thought would be possible. Yes yes... physics is physics, but humanity has a problem with adjusting to scales, and space is a very, very big thing.

There is little way to control the environments in order to do controlled experiments, all we have are observations... which at such great distances, must be very susceptible to nearly infinite sources of interference that we simply cannot identify with present means.

With that said... a new category of planets off of one object? Getting carried away much...?

Re:What's it made of? (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308941)

With that said... a new category of planets off of one object? Getting carried away much...?

Well, they only have two options. They can redefine an existing, well-defined and -populated category to also encompass this one mysterious planet, or they can (perhaps temporarily, pending further observations) give it its own new category. You really the the latter is more drastic?

Re:What's it made of? (1)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309471)

They can't really make up their minds about what a planet is anyways, so why bother. My guess they could add sub-cathegories to the Planet cathegory. If they have one for stars, why not for planets?

Re:What's it made of? (2, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309903)

No, gravitational lensing would not change the observations. Gravitation lensing works by bending light through the sheer force of gravity of supermassive objects. Be this slight bend, the light waves are expanded (thereby making them appear closer). If would not however change the size of the star visible, the heat signature it gives off, the wobble caused by the planet or how quickly the planet orbits the sun.

Apart from no-one understanding what formed this planet and why it is so dense, I don't see how this is a big breakthrough. They have found many bigger planets, many faster orbiting planets, many much other things.

I am content just to know that there is a rather heavy planet in orbit somewhere.

Re:What's it made of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308391)

scientologists.

Re:What's it made of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25309391)

George W. Bush.

Re:What's it made of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25310181)

Maybe its surface is covered with monoliths?

Re:What's it made of? (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310529)

A big blob of dark matter wrapped in something nice and baryonic?

Re:What's it made of? (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310537)

Ironically, I just realized I was also describing the contents of my toilet bowl shortly after I woke up this morning...

Needs more vowels (1)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307605)

MOANFFOVMPTESMMTTS is not really the best acronym for anyone. Did they blow their acronymic wad with WIMPs and MACHOs and RAMBOs and whatnot?

Another Jules Verne story! (1)

sedonix (1361505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307639)

Everyone might want to remember that they cannot "see" any of these alleged planets they keep coming up with. Gee, I wonder why they can't explain their findings!

Re:Another Jules Verne story! (1)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307805)

Maybe they don't "see" them with the naked eye, but they observe wobbles in the position of a star or observe when the planet occludes the star. How is that so far removed from when you look at any other picture? All you're really seeing is light reflected off the developed photograph. You're not "seeing" the light that hit the negative, but rather you're getting light that is a few steps removed conceptually from the original photons. Does that mean there's no evidence that what's in the picture actually exists?

I would say that there is more evidence that the planet exists than what you see in a photograph, unless someone's tampering with the data. An interesting page on a doctored photographs through history can be found here [dartmouth.edu] .

Re:Another Jules Verne story! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308545)

Actually, when I see a picture, I'm seeing light reflecting off my computer screen. There is no actual evidence that what's in the picture ever existed outside of somebody's photoshop.

(Posting AC because I'm a mod and because this isn't very useful.

Detecting Exoplanets (5, Informative)

SpaceMika (867804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308553)

There are two ways of detecting exoplanets:
1. Wobbles -- what you explained: watch a star for deviations in its orbit by observing tiny redshifts and blueshifts. Our own sun does a little jiggle thanks mostly to Jupiter.
2. Dimness -- what they did for this object. Watch a star for dimming as something passes in front of it, although you have to be careful of other causes of temporary decreases in luminescence (like sunspots).

In both cases, it really needs repeated observations over time to establish that it's an orbital event and not something random. In the good ol' days of exoplanet discovery when the equipment wasn't so hot & we expected to find planets pretty much like ours, it took a whole lot of observations before anyone was willing to take the risk of announcing a discovery. Now, with better equipment making it easier to detect hiccups in a star's routine and a more open attitude about how planets behave, discoveries are being announced a lot earlier in the observation process.

To be fair, TFA does give itself a whole lot of wiggle room in interpreting the data. It just fails to mention that follow-up observations aren't confirming the orbital parameters of the assumed planet.

Bad Data (5, Interesting)

SpaceMika (867804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307663)

This was followed up on the astro mailing lists as faulty data -- the observers mistook sunspot-dimming for a planet passing in front of the star. The correction hasn't made it to journalists yet and the science article is still in draft, so no link-to-reference, sorry! Planetary formation theory is fragmented and deeply in need of reworking (anyone want a phd topic?), but not to incorporate Jupiters in Mercury-orbits (yet).

Re:Bad Data (1)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308475)

Links to said astro mailing lists, esp. their archives?

Re:Bad Data (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308511)

Uh, we know of a bunch of Jupiter or larger sized planets in closer than Mercury orbits. This isn't anywhere near the first. It's density is it's unique trait.

Hold on a minute here... (4, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307693)

The density of Jupiter is about 4/3, so 21 times that would put it at 28 and change. That means it would have to be significantly denser than Iridium (about 22). That means it would have to be either:

  • An enormous lump of some element with a very short half life
  • Something from some island of stability
  • An ultra-compact degenerate form of normal matter (iron nickel compote)
  • A data error

Guess where I'd put my money...

--MarkusQ

Re:Hold on a minute here... (1)

Nyall (646782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308031)

density is unitless ?

Caught me (2, Informative)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308359)

density is unitless ?

In some systems, yeah, it is. Set c=1 (space-time unification), measure masses and energies in the same units (E=mc^2), and so on. But I (obviously) wasn't using one of those systems, I was using g/cm^3, as you probably realized.

--MarkusQ

Re:Caught me (3, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308901)

Density isn't exactly dimensionless, but if you set things up so the density of water is 1 in a system of measurements, the densities of other things (i.e. Lead, Iridium, or this planet) will come out the same numbers, regardless of the units used. So it's not necessary to really specify the units, just that H2O at STP = 1 in whatever system you are using.

Re:Hold on a minute here... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308047)

given that the entire planet is appearing smaller than it should be, could it not just be further away?

Re:Hold on a minute here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308107)

You forgot one:

  • Not everything exists at STP, especially in space.

Plenty of things have densities significantly greater than iridium (22.5 g/ml) without being an "ultra-compact degenerate form of normal matter". The core of our sun is mostly hydrogen and helium, but has a density of ~150 g/ml -- six times denser than your table-top sample of iridium. Now, take something the size of Jupiter, put it close enough to orbit every 4 days, and ask yourself: could that maybe be an environment where gas laws might become significant?

Guess where I'd put my money...

Re:Hold on a minute here... (2, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308435)

Now, take something the size of Jupiter, put it close enough to orbit every 4 days, and ask yourself: could that maybe be an environment where gas laws might become significant?

Admittedly I'm just eyeballing it, but I can't see how you can make that work. Remember the T part of P=T/V works against you here; the higher temperature should make it less dense, which both reduces the gravitational forces on the outer portions (larger r) and increases their area and thus the amount of energy those on the sunward side absorb. Sure, you could equilibrate by spinning it fast, but that makes things worse in a different way.

I can see how you could get the core density up that high, but not the total density. Remember, the sun, for all it's size and mass, is only a few percent more dense than Jupiter.

--MarkusQ

Re:Hold on a minute here... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308551)

I can see how you could get the core density up that high, but not the total density. Remember, the sun, for all it's size and mass, is only a few percent more dense than Jupiter.

The Sun also is thought to be around 150 million kelvin in the interior. It'd be a lot more dense if it weren't for the high temperature.

Good point (2, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308851)

Good point. This planet should be about

(0K+6000K)/2
------------------
150000000K

or about 1/50000 the temperature and thus could on that basis be up to 50000 times as dense.

But that can't be the whole picture. At those pressures you'd no longer be dealing with a gas--the volume-per-atom of He would be way out of line. A helium atom occupies about (3.1e-9 cm)^3 or 3e-26 cm^3, and has a mass around 4 * 1.66e-27 kg = 6.66e-24 g, for a per-atom density of about 222 g/cm^3.

So if you could get a core making up maybe 10% of the volume as crystalline helium, I suppose you could do it.

--MarkusQ

Re:Good point (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308905)

At that temperature and pressure, you no longer are speaking of the normal states of matter that we are familiar with.

I'm turning skeptical again (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310269)

At that temperature and pressure, you no longer are speaking of the normal states of matter that we are familiar with.

Yes and no. Mostly no. At 3000K you might have a plasma, but I'd be surprised to see a super fluid. And I don't expect to see neutronium, tight concentrations of dark matter, or anything like that. So apart from possible, we should be looking at the usual solid / liquid / gas situation.

In any case, the normal laws of physics should still apply.

Back to the subject line, I realized after posting the grandparent that the van der Waals radius would give the more appropriate density figure (in that as you get smaller than that you start hitting hard QM limits). That pulls the density down by two orders of magnitude or so (140/31)^3, putting the limit around 2 g/cm^3--which incidentally gives a fairly good agreement with the measured density and bulk modulus of crystalline helium under laboratory.

So I'm not buying compressed H/He/etc. as obtaining that sort of density in that sort of package at those temperatures.

--MarkusQ

Re:Hold on a minute here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308195)

Guess where I'd put my money...

...that today's scientists are easily confused?

Re:Hold on a minute here... (1)

mswope (242988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308239)

My first thought is similar to yours - if it's that far out of the norm, it's probably a calculation error.

Re:Hold on a minute here... (1)

duckInferno (1275100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308273)

... or its own considerable gravity increases its density.

Re:Hold on a minute here... (2, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308597)

The core of a brown dwarf has a density somewhere between 10 and 10^3 g/cm^3. That means the cores of brown dwarfs have to be either:

  • Enormous lumps of some element with a very short half life
  • Something from some island of stability
  • An ultra-compact degenerate form of normal matter (iron nickel compote)
  • A data error
  • Something that's not in your list (like compressed gas)

Guess where I'd put my money....

Seriously: brown dwarfs all have about the same radius as Jupiter, but range in mass up to about 60 times that of Jupiter. Since Jupiter's density is about 1.3 g/cm^3, brown dwarfs can have average densities (not just the core) up to about 70 g/cm^3. More than twice the density of this thing.

Brown dwarf's aren't compressed gas (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310387)

* Something that's not in your list (like compressed gas)

Guess where I'd put my money....

Seriously: brown dwarfs all have about the same radius as Jupiter, but range in mass up to about 60 times that of Jupiter. Since Jupiter's density is about 1.3 g/cm^3, brown dwarfs can have average densities (not just the core) up to about 70 g/cm^3. More than twice the density of this thing.

Brown dwarfs don't get to that density by gas compression. The reason the size flattens out is that they reach a point where internal pressure suffices to form a degenerate matter core (note that degenerate matter was on my list).

--MarkusQ

How dense is the Death Star? (1)

woolio (927141) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308751)

How dense is the Death Star?

I bet more than 4/3....

Re:Hold on a minute here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308761)

Except that Jupiter is primarily hydrogen, which is usually about 0.09 g/cm^3 on Earth. It's a very hand-wavy assumption that all gases compress similarly at Jupiter-like scales, but the fundamental idea is that the elements you'd be looking for are something like 22 times as massive as hydrogen, which could be as light as chlorine (only #17 on the atomic scale and "weighing in" at an Earth-based density of 3.21 g/cm^3), though other candidates could just as easily include krypton, xenon, or radon. If I were guessing gases I'd think a chlorine/argon mix (in spite of argon not being 22x hydrogen's density, as a planet made entirely of chlorine would actually be much heavier than Jupiter).

If you start talking about light solids (though they almost certainly do not compress as efficiently as hydrogen), then Boron (#5 on the element) and Carbon (#6) appear to be candidate elements at first glance, and I would expect them to be a lot more plentiful than chlorine and argon (#17 and #18, respectively).

Re:Hold on a minute here... (1)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310361)

With a van der Waals radius of about 1.75e-8 cm and a mass around 35*1.66e-27 kg = 6e-23 g you get on the order of 11 g/cm^3 for non-degenerate chlorine--less than half of what's needed, but getting closer.

--MarkusQ

Re:Hold on a minute here... (2, Interesting)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25309181)

Jupiter has density of 1.326 gcm. So thats 28.6416 for this object. Just to be pedantic.

This kind of density boggles the mind. What could have this density? Tungsten, Platninum? Osmium is not getting close.

Considering the mind boggling surface gravity of a object like this, we don't know how many materials behave under incredible pressure, for example the centre core of the earth, while largely iron, is more like crystal. The core of jupiter might be shrouded in metallic hydrogen. Indeed we understand very little about such conditions. Density could be largely due to immense compression of materials that would be otherwise less dense?

Realisticly this will just turn out be a core of a hypermetallic brown dwarf or something that has had it's outer layers stripped.

Ix (0)

mccalli (323026) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307771)

I suggest they call it Ix. Which means, of course, "member of a new-found family of very massive planets that encircle stars more massive than the sun". Obviously.

Cheers,
Ian

Isn't it true... (1)

ttigue (1305311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307773)

that the faster an object is moving the more massive it is. Now if it's the size of jupiter and it is orbiting its sun in only 4 hours then even if it were really close to the sun it would still be moving really really quickly. I know they probably take the speed into consideration when determining its mass. But it's fun to think about.

Re:Isn't it true... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308113)

Not really, planets don't move at relativistic speeds. However according to you standard physics text books trains do. Oh and TFS said 4 days not hours

Re:Isn't it true... (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310561)

So... you're saying, the planet is being pulled by some sort of space train? Stop the presses! Scientists have discovered space trains!

Re:Isn't it true... (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308135)

that the faster an object is moving the more massive it is. Now if it's the size of jupiter and it is orbiting its sun in only 4 hours then even if it were really close to the sun it would still be moving really really quickly.

If this were the case, you would probably have very severe tidal motions of the layers on Jupiter. The increased friction would probably cause the planet to slow down if it were close to the sun.

check out this planet! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25307779)

Do Obama and the Democrats deserve a lift in the polls as a result of the financial and mortgage problems? The answer from history is a clear NO. Here's the lead of a New York Times story on September 30, 1999:

"Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending" [link below]. That's 1999 folks. Clinton Administration, I believe.

Here's the lead of a New York Times story on Sept. 11, 2003:

"The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago. "[see link below] The Democrats killed the reforms.

McCain said in co-sponsoring the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190:

"If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole. The Democrats killed the Bill.

What was Barney Frank and fellow Democrats saying at the time of these attempted reforms? According to reports, Representative Barney Frank(D-MA) claimed of the thrifts :

"These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis, the more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) added of the reforms "I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing." [ See Community Reinvestment Act, link below ]

Even Bill Clinton points to Congressional Democrats failure to deal with Fannie and Freddie as a primary cause.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsynspIqAoE [youtube.com]

The link below contains a purported list of the top 25 in Congress who got contributions from the folks at Fannie and Freddie. Obama is listed third, after Dodd and Kerry, even though Obama is just a junior Senator. Obama is followed next by Clinton. Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi are on the list as well.

http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=16&artnum=1&issue=20080918 [investors.com]

Then there is the Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd who allegedly got special mortgage deals from Countrywide, who gave preferential rates to 'friends' of company's chairman.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25140560/ [msn.com]

For an interesting article purporting to detail the House Financial Services Committee Chairs long history with Fannie Mae, See:
http://www.businessandmedia.org/printer/2008/20080924145932.aspx [businessandmedia.org]

"House Financial Services Committee Chair promoted GSEs while former 'spouse' was Fannie Mae executive."

The link below describes how some in Congress tried to use the original version of the bailout bill to divert money eventually recovered to groups like ACORN, a group Obama has a long association with. See:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122247015469280723.html?mod=googlenews_wsj [wsj.com]

And then there is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who allegedly has directed nearly $100,000 from her political action committee to her husband's real estate and investment firm.

http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/oct/01/pelosis-pac-pays-bills-for-spouses-firm [washtimes.com] .

See also:
http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=16&artnum=1&issue=20080918 [investors.com]

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

http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=M2QwNDhkZTg2OGYzZjkzM2E2NDEwM2U5OGVkNTc0YzU= [nationalreview.com]

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E06E3D6123BF932A2575AC0A9659C8B63 [nytimes.com]

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE7DB153EF933A0575AC0A96F958260 [nytimes.com]

http://www.businessandmedia.org/printer/2008/20080924145932.aspx [businessandmedia.org]

http://www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=16&artnum=1&issue=20080926 [investors.com]

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122247015469280723.html?mod=googlenews_wsj [wsj.com]

Where is the article about Joe Bidens longstanding relationship with the credit card industry lobby? Is that what you call looking out for the middle class?

why not classify them with letters? ala star trek (1)

t0rc (788914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307789)

I'm tired of all the planet classification debate, why hasn't the astrological community adopted something like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_planet_classifications [wikipedia.org] come across a new class of planet? just give it a new letter and be done with it!

Re:why not classify them with letters? ala star tr (4, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308269)

Because the astrological community is too busy hoodwinking people with talk of Jupiter in the Second House, and horoscopes, and other nonsense.

Re:why not classify them with letters? ala star tr (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308957)

Yeah, well all you people born with Sedna in Puppis think astrology is bunk. Bet you've got Quaor in your House of Pancakes too.

Re:why not classify them with letters? ala star tr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308731)

Irregardless of the terminology mixup, the post has an interesting point.

Someone has already done the work and come up with what looks to me to be a fairly comprehensive classification.

Think about how it would apply to our own system.

Dyson sphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308261)

Dyson sphere, anyone? ;-)

Re:Dyson sphere (1)

Watersharer (209011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308425)

Not to be a party pooper, but a Dyson sphere would surround the star, not orbit it.

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

Could this not be a binary star system that the primary pulled enough mass off the secondary to take it below the mass required to fuse? It seems unlikely, but the universe is a rather large place, and we have seen so very little of it. Or possibly an ancient stellar core remnant that was captured? Maybe we are just seeing the last 100k years of the process. With an orbital period of less than 5 days, that planet is humming along, maybe it is a decaying orbit that will result in a collision and an even more spectacular event to be witnessed by some future generation. Heck, just for sheer scifi speculation, maybe its a neutron star that burned itself out 5 billion years ago and accreted enough new material to appear planet sized, those are certainly dense enough, something on the order of a teaspoon worth of neutron star is near the weight of the Earth.

Or more likely, its a observational error that will be corrected with further study.

Re:Dyson sphere (2, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308527)

Dyson Sphere's got the Sun in the middle,

Sun in the middle, Sun in the middle

Dyson Sphere's got the Sun in the middle, and a great big bubble all around.

Size (1)

Heather D (1279828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25308411)

Diameter in gas giants does not correlate well to mass. If Jupiter were significantly more massive than it is it would actually be smaller as it's density would increase.

Re:Size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308623)

Eventually all the apostrophes people put into perfectly innocent possessive pronouns will collapse into a singularity. Hopefully, on that day, there will be no more apostrophes left and no one will ever write IT IS when they meant ITS.

Best quote from the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25308693)

"If Bad Astronomer Phil Plait were able to stand on its surface, he says he would weigh 4,200 kilograms,". I don't know about you but if he has that much mass, I would be trying to make sure he does not get near me.

This is a blog of nature but it messes up weight and mass which is just said really. I hope someone points out to them that grams is mass and you contain the same mass independent of gravity. They should have used the metric unit for weight.

Re:Best quote from the article (1)

onlysolution (941392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25310409)

Except that if they used Newtons nobody who was not a scientist or engineer would understand what the article was talking about...

Someone has to say it... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25310223)

"That's no moon."

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