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!

Kepler Discovers 'Phantom' Exoplanet

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the from-whence-comes-unobtanium dept.

Space 78

astroengine writes "The Kepler space telescope has spotted an extra-solar planet with a very odd orbit. Sometimes Kepler-19b slows down by five minutes during its 9-day orbit. Other times it speeds up by five minutes. Johannes Kelper's laws of orbital dynamics never said a celestial body can arbitrarily speed up and slow down; another planetary body must therefore be gravitationally acting on Kepler-19b. Enter Kepler-19c, a world that hasn't been observed, but its gravitational effects have. This is an unprecedented discovery, one that could potentially be used in multi-planetary star systems to discover more 'phantom' worlds that would have otherwise gone unnoticed."

cancel ×

78 comments

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363170)

Sometimes our measurements were off by 5 minutes and sometimes they weren't.

Unprecedented? (5, Insightful)

Jaryn (880486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363172)

Unprecedented? Isn't this pretty well the way we discover all extra-solar planets? Through star wobble? Unless we're lucky enough to line up for a full on occlusion?

I mean, I guess in this case it's "planet wobble". But FTFA: "Interestingly, planets in our solar system have been detected through a similar method."

So uh... unprecedented?

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363222)

Most of the exo-planets discovered so far have been via the transiting method (this is what Kelper uses).

Uranus was discovered due to unexplained perturbations in the orbits of the other outer planets. So, not "unprecedented" for our solar system.

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

dryeo (100693) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365352)

Actually it was Neptune that was discovered by observing Uranus's orbit. Interestingly Pluto was also found the same way, yet it turns out that Pluto is much too small to cause the observed orbital perturbations.
There may yet be a large planet out there as a 150 years ago it seems that Uranus's orbit was more perturbed then now.

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365712)

Actually it was Neptune that was discovered by observing Uranus's orbit.

What? Nobody has posted the usual Uranus/Futurama joke yet? People o /. are getting old and slow ;)

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37374880)

Actually it was Neptune that was discovered by observing Uranus's orbit.

What? Nobody has posted the usual Uranus/Futurama joke yet? People o /. are getting old and slow ;)

There's an eccentric objerct in Uranus. Best get to a hospital.
Now someone can post the "it's now called Urectum" bit OK?

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366602)

Actually, they found the cause of the perturbation.
Somebody went through the century-old maintenance logs of one of the telescopes involved in the Neptune measurements (I believe it was Yerkes, but don't quote me on that), and discovered that during a series of nightly observations of Neptune's orbit, some technician had removed the equatorial mount gears for either cleaning, maintenance or replacement, and that should NOT have happened, as the calibration goes a little bit out of sync.
Therefore, Planet X was a wild goose chase, a phantom, mathematical artifact of human error.

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366758)

Actually it was Neptune that was discovered by observing Uranus's orbit.

True, but there were errors in all of [the input data, the methods used, the calculations performed] which if done correctly would have predicted the position of Neptune differently to where the planet actually was. So although the discovery followed the calculations, it was essentially discovered accidentally.

Analogy : I form the hypothesis that people with blue trousers often drop their wallets when walking down the high street. I follow a person wearing blue trousers, he drops his wallet, I think my hypothesis is confirmed. However, someone else trying to replicate the work forms an alternative hypothesis that it is people with baggy trousers, regardless of colour, who tend to drop their wallets. But he only gathers one wallet too.

Interestingly Pluto was also found the same way, yet it turns out that Pluto is much too small to cause the observed orbital perturbations.

That's the "baggy trousers" hypothesis against the "blue trousers" hypothesis.

(You'll note that neither the "baggy trousers" nor the "blue trousers" hypothesis disputes in the slightest the law of gravity, and the effects of belts are not considered. Also, this is not how Pluto was found.)

There may yet be a large planet out there as a 150 years ago it seems that Uranus's orbit was more perturbed then now.

Citation please? I'm reasonably up to speed on orbital mechanics, and that is contrary to what I thought I knew, which is that Nemisis/ Niburu/ SillyName2012 is logically dead and there's no evidence for anything much bigger than Sedna and Quaor out there. There may be lots of somethings, but there's not much room (in orbit-mass-temperature-luminosity-location space) for something substantial. One proposal (which I'm downloading for my after-lunch read) maxes out at something "tenths of Earth-mass" at around 100AU perihelion. (yeuch - 80 pages, not printing that!)

I see that http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planets_beyond_Neptune [wikipedia.org] puts the recurring "mismatch in perturbations" story down to an initial small error in the mass of Neptune, which was corrected by sending a test particle (Voyager 2) past Neptune to weigh it.

(And the trousers analogy ... it's getting simpler to use CCTV cameras to watch *everyone* for dropped wallets. Which is pretty much the technique that Clyde Tombaugh was using to find Pluto.)

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366508)

Most of the exo-planets discovered so far have been via the transiting method (this is what Kelper uses).

KePLer may well have the numerical advantage by now, but the precedence for the techniques certainly goes to orbital timing, not occultation or spectroscopy.

Uranus was discovered due to unexplained perturbations in the orbits of the other outer planets.

No it wasn't. Oh, it's an AC ... well I'll respond to one of the other people.

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

TuringCheck (1989202) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366924)

Most of the exo-planets discovered so far have been via the transiting method (this is what Kelper uses).

Uranus was discovered due to unexplained perturbations in the orbits of the other outer planets. So, not "unprecedented" for our solar system.

...
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising: the star around which the planet orbits is not Sol

Seems they could apply for a patent.

Re:Unprecedented? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363250)

From TFA:

This is the first time that an "invisible" exoplanet has been discovered through its gravitational influence on another exoplanet.

So that's the exact criterion that makes it unprecedented.

Re:Unprecedented? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363798)

Yes and no. It sounds like it's the same basic technique, but one order removed. Instead of observing the stellar wobble to find the planet, we observe variations in the stellar wobble, and from these observations we notice that there must be yet another planet that is affecting this planet's effect on the sun. So we are using indirect observations on a planet to create indirect observations of a different planet. Not entirely unprecedented, but difficult. It would be like observing Jupiter to find Saturn, and then noting (from watching Jupiter) that Saturn itself is being affected by another planet. Only several times more difficult than that.

Re:Unprecedented? (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368090)

Isn't this pretty well the way we discover all extra-solar planets? Through star wobble?

No, it is not.

But for sure if the star wobbles, then it is a candidate host for planets.

Other methods are then used in conjunction with this one. Or, transits are detected first and then one takes a look for wobbling.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363174)

But can it find Uranus?

Re:Yes (4, Funny)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363284)

FRY: This is a great, as long as you don't make me smell Uranus. Heh heh.
LEELA: I don't get it.
PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH: I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all.
FRY: Oh. What's it called now?
PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH: Urectum.

Re:Yes (1)

morgaen (1896818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364380)

FRY: This is a great, as long as you don't make me smell Uranus. Heh heh.
LEELA: I don't get it.
PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH: I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all.
FRY: Oh. What's it called now?
PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH: Urectum.

Speaking of unprecedented...
Though to be fair, that joke's only been made 5 times in the last year, according to google..

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37365074)

... To be fair, that joke's only been made 5 times in the last year ...

... but that's only 5 times in every slashdot astronomy thread.

Re:Yes (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37374962)

FRY: This is a great, as long as you don't make me smell Uranus. Heh heh. LEELA: I don't get it. PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH: I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all. FRY: Oh. What's it called now? PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH: Urectum.

Speaking of unprecedented... Though to be fair, that joke's only been made 5 times in the last year, according to google..

There's another one for Google, or does it only find original posts rather than replies on slashdot?

Yep, unprecedented. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363200)

Unprecedented in that we're observing planet-wobble at 650 light-years.Resolution of that kind is sort of a big deal.

Not 'unprecedented' (3, Informative)

bennetts2 (3638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363202)

This is an unprecedented discovery

Er, no. Neptune [wikipedia.org] and Pluto [wikipedia.org] were both discovered because of the perturbations they caused of the orbit of Uranus.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (3, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363300)

They aren't exoplanets, and hence not a precedent.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (2)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365702)

They aren't exoplanets, and hence not a precedent.

Depends on your reference frame!

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366048)

Nope.

The Solar System is a specific place and not just the star system you happen to be in (well it does happen to be the one you are in right now, but assuming you managed to get to different one...).

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (2)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366488)

Nope.

The Solar System is a specific place and not just the star system you happen to be in (well it does happen to be the one you are in right now, but assuming you managed to get to different one...).

You Earthlings are so Earth-centric. Everyone knows my solar system is closer to the center of the universe!

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367442)

It doesn't matter. Every devout Muslim should do all their calculations in the reference frame of Mecca, every devout Catholic in the refrence frame of the Pope, and every devout Apple owner in the reference frame of Steve. Others should choose equally suitable centre of universe, and stop being hypocrites when doing math.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (1)

HeadlessNotAHorseman (823040) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367530)

Due to the expansion of the universe, the center of the universe is also getting bigger. This means that bits of it sometimes squeeze out through the smaller dimensions in unlikely places, much like Vegemite through a Sao biscuit.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (1)

WindShadow (977308) | more than 2 years ago | (#37377472)

They aren't exoplanets, and hence not a precedent.

You sound a bit like a patent attorney explaining why something isn't prior art. We have found exoplanets by star wobble and solar planets by planet wobble, I think "unprecedented" is an overstatement, just my opinion. The method was certainly used previously in this system.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363320)

Have you read your links? It says that Pluto's discovery was a coincidence.

Lowell had made a prediction of Planet X's position in 1915 that was fairly close to Pluto's position at that time; Ernest W. Brown concluded almost immediately that this was a coincidence, a view still held today.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363524)

And anyway, Pluto is not even a planet these days

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364384)

It is! It is, it is, it is! Pluto is a PLANET! It is.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364790)

I'm sure Eris has something to argue about that point.

Re:Not 'unprecedented' (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37366740)

Tombaugh's job (paid work, for a skilled amateur astronomer) was to carry out a comprehensive photographic survey of the whole ecliptic with at least 2-fold coverage. The 2-fold coverage allowed the use of blink comparametry. The "whole ecliptic" dictated the time scale (an integer number of years) and strongly influenced the search strategy. At the darkest part of night, images could be made of the anti-sun direction on the sky, several hours apart. Process the plates that night and blink them at the start of the next shift (so that any bad films or interesting sights could have an additional plate or several taken on the next night.

But it was a comprehensive survey - anything bright enough to be seen by the telescope/ plate combination, near the ecliptic, should have been caught. And indeed, Pluto was.

Taking a comprehensive survey like that is a pretty clear sign that the director of the search has no plan to direct his search, and instead is looking everywhere, systematically. "Remove all all cushions from armchair ; search armchair. Remove all cushions from sofa, stacking them on armchair ; search sofa ...." Eventually you'll find the keys/ wedding ring/ girlfriend's earring.

nitpicking dynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363294)

eh, Kepler has planetary laws of MOTION, dynamics are Newton's game...

Orbital swapping? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363322)

Sounds very much like Saturn's moons Epimetheus and Janus, which interact and exchange orbits periodically.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epimetheus_(moon)#Orbital_relationship_between_Epimetheus_and_Janus

Re:Orbital swapping? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364674)

Another thing it sounds like is the differences in measured times of the orbits of Jupiters moons from Earth's perspective, which is caused by the finite speed of light. Not sure how that would apply in this scenario though.

Re:Orbital swapping? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37374976)

Me Tarzan, you Janus.

Mock that with your Futurama quote if you can.

Orbital Swapping? (1)

stewartwb (1606111) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363340)

Sounds very much like Saturn's moons Epimetheus and Janus, which interact and exchange orbits periodically. Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]

Re:Orbital Swapping? (1)

darenw (74015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37372310)

That's what I'd bet on. Such a situation came to exist among small moons of Saturn. Surely it can happen among larger objects around a star.

No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363344)

We'll colonize those planets too. We'll just build more space elevators.

Binary planet? (3, Informative)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363488)

+/- 5 minutes in a 9 day orbit is a huge variation. This almost has to be a binary planet system, or planet with a massive moon, or something similar. Enough gravitational force to slow or speed up a planet large enough that we can detect it by transit dimming of it's star 650 LY from Earth, that's either a really light planet, or it's got a massive companion orbiting it. The other possibility is that there is a dark star (white/brown dwarf) orbiting the same star, but we should be able to detect that wobble via doppler shift, so the companion moon/planet seems more likely.

Re:Binary planet? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363780)

Or, it's an alien monitoring station, and those variations are just the stabilizers kicking in to make minor adjustments. They must wonder why it took us so long to notice....

Re:Binary planet? (1)

mrtommyb (1534795) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364914)

The interpretation which seems most likely is that there is a planet on an outer orbit which is causing the transit timing variations. For the unseen companion to cause these transit timing variation it needs to be in an orbital resonance with the transiting planet. The most likely orbital period ratio is 4/3 for the two planets. We can rule out any stellar mass companion to the star Kepler-19 because we do not see any stellar wobble - radial velocity variation in the stellar spectrum.

Re:Binary planet? (3, Interesting)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365168)

Perhaps you missed the significance of a +/- 5 minute variance of a 9 day orbit. That's 5/(9*1440) = 5/12960 = 1/2592. That's nearly 0.04% variance in the orbital period of a planet. To achieve that much change in orbital period, the velocity change needs to be at least that great, and likely at least 2x that great (since speed changes won't be instantaneous, it will have to slow down 2x as much to average 0.04% slower orbital rate).

Given gravity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the centers of mass, how much more massive must the other body be to produce that much change in velocity? Even if the other body is in a 4:3 resonance, making it "relatively close", it would still need to be vastly more massive than the observed planet. If it's vastly more massive and in orbit around the same star in a 4:3 resonance, we would definitely be able to detect it by it's doppler shift of the star unless it's orbital plane is almost perfectly perpendicular to our line of sight, and then we would still likely observe an effect on the star.

The other possibility is that there is a third massive body in the system that playing tug-o-war with the planet, pulling it away from the star, then the star pulls it closer, constantly changing it's orbit. That way the velocity of the planet doesn't have to change as much, however, how such a system could produce such an oscillation in the planet's orbit, sometimes increasing it and sometimes decreasing it resulting in such large changes in orbital period without also causing measurable effects on the star is mystery.

We may eventually figure it out, but for now, that much variation in orbital rate is really bizarre.

Re:Binary planet? (3, Interesting)

DG (989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365120)

That makes me wonder how much energy is being transferred to / from this planet every time its orbit speeds up / slows down.

I bet it's not the most geologically stable place in the universe - assuming it isn't a gas giant.

DG

Re:Binary planet? (3, Informative)

Mt._Honkey (514673) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365450)

I did the calculation, after finding the details of the planet [nasa.gov] on the Kepler website. They don't have a mass value for 19b, just an upper limit at 14 earth masses. I just plugged in a value of 10 earth masses for my calculation [google.com] , and I get 10^30 J, or about 200 zettatons of TNT equivalent, or enough energy to accelerate 3.6 billion pounds of bacon to the speed of the LHC beam.

Re:Binary planet? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37369178)

Do we have time to run to the store? I'm out of eggs.

Re:Binary planet? (1)

Painted (1343347) | more than 2 years ago | (#37378338)

I am in awe sir, that is the best thing I've read in weeks.

Re:Binary planet? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37369160)

I was picturing a binary planet too with a yoyo like orbit. When one of the planets is moving towards us it would look like it was slowing down. When it is moving away it would look like it is moving faster. How two objects could sustain a yoyo type orbit is an interesting thought. Then I started to think about it being more like a liquefied mass that is oscillating. If it is close enough to the sun to have a 9 day orbit it is more than likely the object is molten. Also, the sun could be applying a solar wind effect pushing it away as well as pulling it with gravity.

Uh oh (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363496)

I hope this doesn't mean we'll hear more from those Nibiru folks.

Re:Uh oh (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363866)

I hope they do jump on this one. Then we'll see how they try to explain how a planet 650 LY away is any threat to humanity. Even the fastest objects we've detected travel only ~ 250k mph (400k k/h). Let's be very generous and say approximately 1.08M k/h ~ 300 k/s closure rate or about 1/1000 (0.001x) the speed of light. Therefore, it will take at least 650,000 years for it to reach Earth. Oh no, we're doomed!

Re:Uh oh (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363964)

They've been on their way since they detected Australopithecus sediba, 649,999 years and 364 days ago, all the while using an invisibility cloak.

Re:Uh oh (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364202)

Except, we're still seeing the effect on a planet that is only 650 LY away, so they were 650 LY away 650 years ago.

Re:Uh oh (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364222)

Yep, and that's why I used the Australopithecus sediba reference, as we know they were on earth up to 1.988 million years ago! I could have used the homo erectus, which were well represented from 1.5M years ago to 0.2M.. Anyway =)

Re:Uh oh (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364436)

No matter how you count it, if they were 650 LY away 650 years ago (i.e. we're seeing the effects in starlight now), and they can travel at the outrageous speed of 1/1000 the speed of light, then they're still over 649 LY away.

Re:Uh oh (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364696)

They detected it 650LY ago in our system reference, as I made no specific system reference. That means that what they saw was 1.3M years ago here at that point in time. Thats why I was referring to such an old type of homo (xxxxx). And yes, I was considering that their technological advancement allowed them to be both invisible and almost as fast as the speed of light. I'm not sure how you could have missed that ?

Re:Uh oh (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364974)

650 LY, Not 650,000 LY. 1.3M years ago doesn't come into the picture anywhere. Keep your units straight.

We're seeing the system as it was 650 years ago (circa 1360 AD in our reference), therefore, the gravitational effects we're observing mean that there was something there 650 years ago. If it was 650LY away 650 years ago. I started from my explicitly stated premise that the fastest any massive object has been observed to travel is less then 0.001C (actually ~ 0.0004C, then allowed doubled that as a closure rate, then rounded up to 0.001C to make math simpler), then it could be no closer than 650 - (650*0.001C) LY = 649.350 LY from earth.

And since I've now stated it 3 times, I'm not sure how you keep missing the fact that you have your units wrong and you're ignoring my explicitly stated premise. Now, stop being an asshole.

Re:Uh oh (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365184)

lol yeah, I forgot that I had initially used the parent poster 1/1000 of the speed of light for their speed, not ~speed of light.

Re:Uh oh (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364038)

um, wormhole.

Re:Uh oh (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364904)

Great, now we'll have to worry about Goa'ulds and Replicators too.

Re:Uh oh (1)

DG (989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365126)

And Scarrens.

DG

Maybe not. (2)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363520)

Maybe it isn't another planet. Maybe it's epicycles!

obligatory (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#37363650)

"that's no moon"

Re:obligatory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364712)

Maybe you could make a movie about boring Star Wars fanboy zombies. That would be great.

A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hell (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37363784)

First, read the summary. Then read the article. In this article you will see that we have found a planet orbiting a star 650 light years away. The fact that we are able to detect it at all is quite amazing. The advances in optic, the investment in space-based telescope, the ability to process the tons of data that this telescope have produced is plain astounding.

Then you have to factor in the optic advancement to see this planet directly. Then you realize just how freaking far science has come along. Run the numbers and this would be like studying a germ on the moon from an observatory from earth.

Now realize that you can not only see this planet, but you can study its motion with enough precision to notice a five minute variance in its motion. I don't even know what the analogy is here. It is beyond amazing and a testament to the scientific revolution we have witnessed over the past century or three.

Now go up and read the moronic posts above. A couple of twits argue about whether this is "unprecedented"... I'd love to see their resumes and what they have accomplished in their lives. A couple other idiots quote the same futurama episode. A couple aren't even that clever and make Uranus jokes.

Slashdot ain't what it used to be.

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364292)

Though your sentiment is spot on, you could do with reading the summary yourself. Which part of "a world that hasn't been observed, but its gravitational effects have" sounds like an "optic advancement to see this planet directly"?

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364824)

We still had to see the first planet to notice the orbit change to even guess that there is a second one out there. Try rereading things. You might pick up on what the other person is saying instead of popping in what you think he's saying. While in your head they may be the same thing, I guarantee you they are grammatically and semantically worlds apart from one another.

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364958)

I was unclear on which planet I was referring to. I was referring to the first planet that is the known planet. You would have been able to realize this however, if you read another couple sentences where I talk about studying its motion to notice a five minute variance in motion.

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37366284)

They detect exoplanets by detecting tiny variations in star brightness and spectrum, which are caused by 1) the gravitational force of the exoplanet moving the star back and forth by a tiny amount, or 2) by the exoplanet blocking a part of the star's radiation. In order to get a statistically significant sample they have to observe the variations in radiation for multiple orbital period. In other words, they have to estimate the orbital period of the planet in order to detect it to begin with. Detecting 5-minute variations in the orbital period does not require any new observation methods.

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (2)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | more than 2 years ago | (#37364312)

Thanks... AC, for contributing almost nothing of value. I agree, but still.

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364352)

You seem to be remembering a different slashtdot than this AC...

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364900)

I don't think it was very much different back in '99 when I started browsing /. regularly. Maybe a little bit. And it's still the best out there. *shrug*

Re:A demonstration on why Slashdot has gone to Hel (2)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368418)

"Slashdot ain't what it used to be."

On the contrary, Slashdot is exactly what it used to be.

um this method was used to discover neptune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37364766)

and this same method was used over 150 years ago.

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

Solar Landscape (1)

RexRed (1967968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37365886)

Maybe the planet is slipping out of time because it is so far from the sun, this might explain the speed fluctuations. Perhaps there is an undiscovered solar shelf or drop off into a unknown time dome around our sun. Maybe there is a gravitational dust storm the planet travels through during each cycle. That could be unprecedented or maybe just, unanticipated. :)

Obvious Answer (1)

DanielRavenNest (107550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368786)

They have a cloaking device which surrounds the entire planet, and are playing with a huge tractor beam.

Re:Obvious Answer (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37441670)

Not likely, if you read: http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2422056&cid=37365450 [slashdot.org] comment above, you'll see the energy requirements to perform such a feat. I suspect it unlikely they have a tractor beam that powerful.

And Harry's cloak isn't big enough. (- whooosh prevention)

That's no moon.. it's a space station!! (1)

Aquineas (922102) | more than 2 years ago | (#37376658)

It's not a planet. It's really a planetoid-sized space station leaving and re-entering orbit as they test their main engines.

Intresting Disocvery (1)

raymorphic (2461142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37396578)

Hmm...Intresting Disocvery
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...