Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Sizzling Weather On a Dive-Bombing Planet

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the much-sexier-after-computer-enhancement dept.

Space 57

The Bad Astronomer writes "A massive planet orbiting the star HD 80606 is on a roller-coaster orbit: it dive bombs the star, in just 55 days dropping from over 120 million km to just 4 million km from the star's surface! Astronomers used the Spitzer Space Telescope to observe the heat from the planet as it gets blasted by its star, and used that data to make a beautiful computer-modeled image of what the planet must look like. Their results: an ube-rviolent storm that acts as if a bomb were exploded in the planet's atmosphere."

cancel ×

57 comments

Rotation Period (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651023)

A planet which gets really close to its primary is more likely to be tide locked because of the energy lost when the tidal bulge moves around. Mercury is in a 2/3 resonance for this reason.

If this planet is in a 1/1 resonance it will have one side which never gets baked at close approach, so conditions on the surface may not be as bad as they first seem.

Re:Rotation Period (3, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651061)

If this planet is in a 1/1 resonance it will have one side which never gets baked at close approach, so conditions on the surface may not be as bad as they first seem.

If the winds are strong enough in the atmosphere and the atmosphere is thick enough, it may not matter what side of the planet you're on. Just like Venus, which rotates very slowly, but is pretty much the same sizzling hellhole regardless of whether you look at the day or night side.

plantary Promethian punishment (2, Interesting)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651599)

With conditions this extreme, I wonder if there is an atmosphere. Would it not get ripped away?
The article talks about supersonic winds - but how do we know?

Perhaps the atmosphere regenerates as the planet moves away from the star, only to be ripped away again in some kind of Promethian nightmare

Re:plantary Promethian punishment (3, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651887)

With conditions this extreme, I wonder if there is an atmosphere. Would it not get ripped away?

Considering that the planet in question has four times the mass of Jupiter, I would assume that it has more than enough gravity to hang on to its atmosphere.

Re:plantary Promethian punishment (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653831)

> "A massive planet orbiting the star HD 80606 is on a roller-coaster orbit: it dive bombs
> the star, in just 55 days dropping from over 120 million km to just 4 million km from the
> star's surface! ... results: an ueberviolent storm that acts as if a bomb were exploded
> in the planet's atmosphere."

F***ing Republicans! >:(

Re:plantary Promethian punishment (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26651937)

Within the article, you'll find that this is a gas giant. It's so large that its own gravitational effect causes its sun to swell on approach.

Re:plantary Promethian punishment (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26656173)

Within the article, you'll find that this is a gas giant. It's so large that its own gravitational effect causes its sun to swell on approach.

So then weather is going to suck on pretty much every planet in that system.

Re:Rotation Period (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651103)

Such a massive change in temperature is going to cause hellish weather fluctuations and winds across the whole planet no matter which part of the planet you are on.

With 5km/s winds? (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652147)

First of all, we're talking a planet considerably heavier than Jupiter, so presumably a gas giant. Or anyway it will have quite the pressure.

Second they said it produced explosive winds, up to 5 km/s. (Or "fucking unbelievably fast" in imperial units;) Because the air heats from 500 degrees to 1200 degrees on the hot side within hours, and expands, rushing towards the colder side.

That's over 5 times the muzzle velocity of an M16, BTW.

So, yeah, the conditions on the surface might not be as bad as they seem... as long as you don't mind winds strong enough to blast you to bits, not to mention that they're 1200 degrees hot ;)

Re:With 5km/s winds? (0, Redundant)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26656789)

Second they said it produced explosive winds, up to 5 km/s. (Or "fucking unbelievably fast" in imperial units;) Because the air heats from 500 degrees to 1200 degrees on the hot side within hours, and expands, rushing towards the colder side.

The wind speed is higher than the conditions at the hypocenter when the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#The_bombing_2 [wikipedia.org]

The resulting explosion had a blast yield equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT. The explosion generated heat estimated at 3,900 degrees Celsius (7,000 degrees Fahrenheit) and winds that were estimated at 1005 km/h (624 mph).

If there are any aliens on that planet they must be badass shitkicking sons of bitches. Ideal recruits for my Imperial Guard.

Re:With 5km/s winds? (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26661487)

reminds me of the prison planet from chronicles of riddick

Re:With 5km/s winds? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26661353)

The article said that these speeds were in the upper atmosphere and while I admit that the ground isn't likely to be a picnic spot, it wouldn't be as bad.

All in all, still likely to be low on the vacation list for centuries and centuries to come.

Re:With 5km/s winds? (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26663259)

Well, how much slower would they be in the lower atmosphere? As the other poster pointed out, at the epicentre Nagasaki they had 1005 km/h winds. This has 3600s/h * 5km/s = 18000 km/h. So if at the ground the winds are "only" about 6% as bad, it would be "only" like being at ground zero of a nuke. For hours. That seems pretty bad all right :P

Re:With 5km/s winds? (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26687775)

But think of how well you could fly a kite! I can see it now...

Billy, have you tied your brick to the chain yet? Make sure to tie it on strong this time, you remember what happened to your last kite?

On a more serious note though, even here on earth, the wind speeds up top are generally much much faster than on the ground. While uncommon, 250knot (That's almost 500km/h) have been picked up by passenger airliners [airliners.net] and they don't generally go that high - and the higher up you go, the faster winds get.

So, perhaps on the surface of said whacky planet, it might not be picnic weather, but a big thick atmosphere might mean that the surface is a whole lot less violent than might be expected at first glance. Next time we catch up, let's duck down to the surface, have a drink in a bar and look outside to see what the weather is like? :)

Re:Rotation Period (2, Informative)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653969)

The orbit is very highly eccentric, which means the usual theory of tidal locking doesn't apply. The research uses a theory of spin pseudo-synchronization (Eq. 18 of this paper [arxiv.org] ) to derive the planet's rotation rate in relation to its orbit. They do note there is an alternate theory of spin synchronization that, for simplicity, they didn't consider in this paper.

Whoa! (4, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651043)

That's the biggest BBQ I've ever heard of!

mod parent up (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651165)

...though "Flamebait" seems strangely appropriate for this topic.

Re:mod parent up (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26679469)

Melbourne... Isn't that in Australia, and isn't it summertime there at the moment?

No thanks, I'll keep the weather we've got here. I'm hoping for at least another foot of snow over the next month or so before it starts melting :-)

Re:mod parent up (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26679667)

It has been horrible this week. It has been about the second or third hottest week on record. When it is 45C (~110 F) there is little to do apart from sit around and stew in the heat.

The city's power supply has maxed out at 10000 MW because of demand from aircons. There is talk of introducing new power meters which charge higher prices when demand goes through the roof.

On top of that we have had a run of bad luck. A truck got stuck with locked up air brakes on a train crossing. Half a million people couldn't get home. Rails buckled in the heat close to one of the central city stations and stopped a lot of trains as well.

In short, not a good week to be here.

Maybe the planet is just (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651115)

really really drunk.

Don't dumb it down. (4, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651133)

Dive-bombing? This isn't Pearl Harbour the movie. Try "highly elliptical" orbit, and "close approach" or "close proximity". This is /. not 5th grade.

Re:Don't dumb it down. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26651173)

This site is destined to turn into digg.
Don't deny your destiny.

Re:Don't dumb it down. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26656825)

Reddit.com doesn't seem anywhere near as bad as digg. Actually for technical stuff it's quite a bit more tolerable than slashdot. Fanboys seem to have spammed the politics section to death though.

Re:Don't dumb it down. (0)

ozbon (99708) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651799)

You must be new here...

Mod Parent Up! (0)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651801)

This IS /. I actually got laid once in 5th grade!

Re:Don't dumb it down. (0, Troll)

RobinH (124750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26651907)

"Highly elliptical"? As opposed to.. highly trapezoidal? I thought all two body systems where one is much much larger than the other is highly elliptical. The Earth's orbit is highly elliptical. Remember that a circle is an ellipse too. Maybe you mean "highly non-circular".

Re:Don't dumb it down. (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652257)

Your pedantry is of no use here. The GP refers to a specialist vocabulary, which is allowed to have its own definitions.

As I recall, one such definition is 'highly elliptical' = ellipse that's stretched in one direction. In fact ellipticality (I probably got that word wrong) is given a number, the ratio of the major axis to the semi-major axis; a circle is 1, this planet mentioned would be around 30.

Scratch that (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652327)

OK the part I wrote about the ratio of the major to semi-major axis is wrong on at least two levels... I've been out of school too long. The value I was trying to describe is eccentricity [wikipedia.org] .

I stand by what I said on the definitions, though; note how wiki distinguishes between circular and elliptical.

Re:Don't dumb it down. (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652313)

Highly elliptical means that the object's Orbital Eccentricity [wikipedia.org] is high - in this case, 0.927. A circle has eccentricity 0, and the Earth has an eccentricity of about 0.0167. If you don't consider that planet's orbit to be highly elliptical, compare its 0.927 to that of Halley's Comet: 0.967.

Note that there can be eccentricities >= 1, but they're not closed orbits.

For an interesting orbit, consider the Molniya Orbit [wikipedia.org] and its kin used by satellites that need long dwell times over high latitude areas.

Riddick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652103)

> This isn't Pearl Harbour the movie.

Yeah, sounds more like a setting for a Vin Diesel movie.

"On this planet the monsters are not afraid of the light - and the sun is rising..."

Re:Don't dumb it down. (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652881)

I'm having a hard time getting this... would someone re-post in terms of ping-pong balls?

Re:Don't dumb it down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26652939)

In terms of Ping pong balls, imagine an acetelyne cannon firing ping pong balls at you at 5km/sec. Do you want to be in front of that?

Re:Don't dumb it down. (3, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653483)

5km/sec? I don't understand that. What is that in libraries of congress?

Re:Don't dumb it down. (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26655365)

Seriously. When I first read that, I was wondering how a planet could play a guitar, much less commit tremolo [whammy bar] abuse.

wtf is ueber? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26651769)

Seriously, Did you mean uberviolent or maybe instead of making up a word, extremely violent.

Re:wtf is ueber? (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652005)

Seriously, Did you mean uberviolent or maybe instead of making up a word, extremely violent.

Strictly speaking ueber [wikipedia.org] is correct, though it's still a stupid word.

Re:wtf is ueber? (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652089)

It's only spelt ueber cos keyboards aimed at the English speaking markets don't have umlauts! (ie. the two dots that would normally be above the u to give it a 'ue' sound.)

Re:wtf is ueber? (1)

sjwaste (780063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652305)

The real question is, does the word umlaut itself contain umlaut(s) over one or both u's? That would be sweet.

Re:wtf is ueber? (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652687)

The real question is, does the word umlaut itself contain umlaut(s) over one or both u's? That would be sweet.

Neither...

Re:wtf is ueber? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26654939)

Ãoeber

Band structure (2, Interesting)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652163)

Since fusion is not happening on the planet and it is a large gas planet, with a regular orbit one might expect a band structure of the atmosphere. As it is four times the mass of Jupiter (and thus likely larger), one might also expect that the storms are more intense, numerous, long-lived, and larger than on Jupiter occurring within the bands.

My question to someone more knowledgeable is whether or not such a planet, as described in the article, could sustain some sort of atmospheric band structure on one side of the planet? And, if so, could it maintain such a structure when close to its star? Given best circumstances of course, such as the geometry of the aforementioned prolate spheroid.

Re:Band structure (2, Funny)

Urkki (668283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26658611)

As it is four times the mass of Jupiter (and thus likely larger),

Actually, Jupiter is about as big as they get, diameter-wise, all the way to brown dwarf stars. As mass increases, they only get denser, not bigger. Just consider Jupiter and Saturnus, their size is pretty close, though Jupiter has more than three times the mass

Wow. we, as Sol, dont amount to sh@t (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652303)

get a load of that :
 

Such is the life of HD 80606b, a gas giant planet four times the mass of Jupiter that orbits a star 190 light years from Earth.

and we think jupiter is huge. this thing is FOUR times the mass.

Crematoria (1)

pdragon04 (801577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652691)

Anyone else reminded of the prison planet from Chronicles of Riddick?

Re:Crematoria (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26661551)

Yes, this image comes to mind [goodschist.com] .

Wow an actual educated journalist! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26652717)

"Accelerated by the starâ(TM)s gravity to a speed hundreds of times faster than a rifle bullet, the planet whips around the star and begins the long climb back."

The Earth moves at about 100,000 km/h around the Sun.

The FASTEST rifle bullet travels at 4000 fps.
4000 Feet per Second = 4389.12 Kilometers per Hour.

Earth travels 22 times faster than the fastest bullet! so this guy actually broke out a calculator and did some basic math! Very cool!

Reminds me of Nightfall (2, Interesting)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653659)

Civilization periodically destroyed every period due to the unique orbit of the planet.

Where's the 'beautiful computer-modelled image'? (1)

Hel Toupee (738061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653667)

Is it that one at the top? I get images like that looking cross-eyed at christmas lights. It's just a red blob with a blue corona on one side. I couldn't even tell it was supposed to be a planet unless someone told me.

Re:Where's the 'beautiful computer-modelled image' (1)

Lijemo (740145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26654433)

If you link through to the article, the article links through to an academic paper. The academic paper contains images from the computer simulation. And yes, they are better than the image shown in the article.

Re:Where's the 'beautiful computer-modelled image' (1)

Hel Toupee (738061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26654923)

Ahhh. There we go. Yes, quite lovely. Hard to imagine that kind of temperature flux in the time spans they are talking about. I must have missed the link because it was only a slightly darker brown than the surrounding text and not underlined. If it's not underlined, I'm not clicking on it. That's the way I like my Internets :)

dear submitter: (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26653765)

thank you for the link, the story is very interesting

but why did you adopt the rhetoric of a late night tv show presenter trying to sell us uninteresting crap?

the planet is interesting in and of itself. a dry technical description all by itself conveys the excitement of the find quite well, that's all that is needed to get us intrigued

you're not trying to sell us a shamwow, so drop the "whoa dude, ueberviolent!" act, its just mental noise we have to get past to appreciate the story

What a load (1)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26655323)

Discover has REALLY gone downhill since Disney took over. In fact, that's when I quit taking the mag.

I mean, really. We're treated to ridiculous non-science phrases such as "Still suffering from the heat, the planet...." and "...the planet cools. But it's not enough. It's never enough."

A gas giant with no life "suffers". KA-WACK!!

Pablum such as this is why I quit reading Discover a decade ago.

There's only one thing I would really like to know: Whose 53 days are we talking about? The planet in question, or Earth's? They can't even be bothered to say "53 Earth days" or "53 of the planet's days."

What a load of crap.

Re:What a load (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26656849)

Well, you might as well talk about it with such hyperbole, as the whole story is incredibly hyperbolic. It is a computer simulation of what might "possibly" be a planet. They were able to find some infrared signatures, and they turned that into an entire weather system? How many untestable assumptions have to be made along the way to get there from here?

Trenco (1)

Ghworg (177484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26656019)

It's the planet Trenco where the Thionite grows! Now we just need to find Arisia and we are set.

How did it form? (1)

Mapleperson (1316213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26656937)

The larger questions is how can such a massive planet end up in such a elliptic orbit. Assuming the gas giant was made from the swirling dust cloud around the star to start with then it would be in a almost circular orbit. What could have happened to change the orbit as much as this?

Re:How did it form? (1)

clonan (64380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26657025)

The article mentioned that it was probably caused by the companion star in the binary system.

Eventually this planet will collide with it's star and make a very pretty light show...

Wow (1)

Ferretman (224859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26656951)

Wow. Just wow.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...