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A Planet Literally Boils Under the Heat of Its Star

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the cosmic-recycling-project dept.

Space 163

The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers have found what appears to be a planet so hot it's literally vaporizing, boiling away from the heat of its star. KIC 12557548b was found using the transit method, periodically blocking some light from its star as it orbits around. But the amount of light blocked changes every transit. Given it's less than a million miles from the surface of the star, astronomers interpret this (PDF) as the planet itself turning to vapor, and the expanding cloud of rock-laden gas is what's blocking the starlight. The planet is most likely somewhat bigger than Mercury, but losing 100,000 tons of matter every second it'll only be around another few hundred million years."

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Sooo... (2)

Aeros (668253) | about 2 years ago | (#38750876)

Not a good alpha site?

Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38750968)

GreatBunzinni [slashdot.org] has been posting anonymous accusations [slashdot.org] listing a whole bunch of Slashdot accounts as being part of a marketing campaign for Microsoft, without any evidence. GreatBunzinni has accidentally outed himself [slashdot.org] as this anonymous poster. Half the accounts he attacks don't even post pro-Microsoft rhetoric. The one thing they appear to have in common is that they have been critical of Google in the past. GreatBunzinni has been using multiple accounts to post these "shill" accusations, such as Galestar [slashdot.org] , NicknameOne [slashdot.org] , and flurp [slashdot.org] .

That's not the problem. The problem is that moderators gave him +5 Informative and are now modding down the accused, even for legitimate posts. Metamoderation is supposed to address this by filtering out the bad moderators, but clearly it's not working.

This "shill" crap that has been flying around lately has to stop. It's restricting a variety of viewpoints from participating on the site and creating an echo chamber.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751198)

Out of order, I show you out of order. You don't know what out of order is, Mr. Trask. I'd show you, but I'm too old, I'm too tired, I'm too fuckin' blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a FLAMETHROWER to this place! Out of order? Who the hell do you think you're talkin' to? I've been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen. Boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there isn't nothin' like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that. You think you're merely sending this splendid foot soldier back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs, but I say you are... executin' his soul! And why? Because he's not a Bairdman. Bairdmen. You hurt this boy, you're gonna be Baird bums, the lot of ya. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there, FUCK YOU TOO!

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | about 2 years ago | (#38751318)

Where the hell did this come from? I agree a lot of baseless accusations flying around but what does this have to do with the parent post or the comment by Aeros? Even if Aeros was one of the many accounts you mention I don't see how it is relevant to the post about. I'm confused.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751460)

It didn't get first post so it was posted in the next best place, the first reply to first post. More easily seen than the second top-level post.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#38752200)

Think of it like Huffman coding, except with spam.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751920)

Get a job you fucking hippie, sick of reading this on every thread.

Re:Organized trolling campaign by GreatBunzinni (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38752398)

GreatBunzinni [slashdot.org] has been posting anonymous accusations [slashdot.org] listing a whole bunch of Slashdot accounts as being part of a marketing campaign for Microsoft, without any evidence. GreatBunzinni has accidentally outed himself [slashdot.org] as this anonymous poster. Half the accounts he attacks don't even post pro-Microsoft rhetoric. The one thing they appear to have in common is that they have been critical of Google in the past. GreatBunzinni has been using multiple accounts to post these "shill" accusations, such as Galestar [slashdot.org] , NicknameOne [slashdot.org] , and flurp [slashdot.org] .

That's not the problem. The problem is that moderators gave him +5 Informative and are now modding down the accused, even for legitimate posts. Metamoderation is supposed to address this by filtering out the bad moderators, but clearly it's not working.

This "shill" crap that has been flying around lately has to stop. It's restricting a variety of viewpoints from participating on the site and creating an echo chamber.

You are bitching about someone trying to out shills/sockpuppets who have a slant and even complain that they are offtopic when they do so... Oh the ironing.

Re:Sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751266)

Eh, the Stargate should hold. It took on a blackhole.

Plus, who doesn't like a hot person in uniform?

Cool (1)

Tsingi (870990) | about 2 years ago | (#38750896)

Seems like a good place to send all those Lawyer wannabe Astronauts.
Hey, it would be a good start.

Uh oh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38750904)

I already purchased a lot there to build a vacation bungalow. How can I sue my space real estate agent?

Re:Uh oh (5, Funny)

Merk42 (1906718) | about 2 years ago | (#38750942)

Since there is less and less land, wouldn't that make it more and more valuable?
You could say you bought a hot commodity.

Re:Uh oh (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#38751120)

Built-in sauna with every tract.

Re:Uh oh (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#38751424)

Free garbage disposal.

Re:Uh oh (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#38751762)

Free garbage disposal.

For indiscriminate values of garbage.

Re:Uh oh (1)

jamvger (2526832) | about 2 years ago | (#38751044)

Too late. The bungalow you purchased here has the same fate [wikipedia.org] .

100,000 tons (1, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#38750956)

"but losing 100,000 tons of matter every second it'll only be around another few hundred million years."

Is that 100,000 tons at Earth-normal gravity or at this much smaller planet's (although possibly denser?) gravity?

Re:100,000 tons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751076)

It's the same. 100,000 tons is a measure of mass.
What you're thinking of is weight, which varies according to local gravitational field.

Re:100,000 tons (5, Informative)

AtariEric (571910) | about 2 years ago | (#38751106)

Hopefully, that's metric tons; and therefore mass, not weight.

Re:100,000 tons (4, Informative)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 2 years ago | (#38751148)

A ton is a unit of mass and thus independent of gravity. I also dare say that we're talking about metric tons here, i.e. 1 ton = 10E3 Kg.

Re:100,000 tons (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#38751486)

A ton is a unit of mass and thus independent of gravity.

Actually, shouldn't an object have a little bit less mass when bound to a gravity well than in deep space since it has lost some of its potential energy (the binding energy of the system)?

Re:100,000 tons (2)

dougisfunny (1200171) | about 2 years ago | (#38752190)

It certainly weighs less. The mass is the same.

Re:100,000 tons (3, Insightful)

david.given (6740) | about 2 years ago | (#38751930)

I'd actually written up a long pedanttastic post on how a ton is defined in terms of pounds and is therefore a unit of weight, while a tonne is defined in terms of kilograms and is therefore a unit of mass; but it looks like they've sneakily redefined the pound (in both the UK and the US) to be a unit of mass. The cads!

But as ton can be either 1000kg, 907kg, 1016kg, or even one of about five volumes, depending who you ask, I'd strongly recommend the metric spelling for clarity...

(It is not true I'm a card-carrying member of the Pedant's Society. It's actually made out of plastic.)

Re:100,000 tons (1, Offtopic)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#38752166)

I recommend abandoning this imperial crap and sticking to something a little more universal, say SI units. Then noone has to worry about miss spelling a unit giving it a different value, which is only amplified by the two words sounding the same when spoken.

Re:100,000 tons (1)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | about 2 years ago | (#38752422)

they've sneakily redefined the pound (in both the UK and the US) to be a unit of mass. The cads!

That just means it's meeting the same fate as the original kilogram.

In the traditional metric system, now referred to as the Gravitational Metric System [wikipedia.org] , kilograms were used to measure force (and the French root for the word even means "weight"). If you wanted to measure mass, then the "hyl" or "metric slug" was used. It was the amount of mass that would accelerate 1 m/s^2 under the force of 1 kilogram!

The CGPM changed things in 1889 when they chose that mass would now be measured by grams and kilograms, and weight would be measured in Kilogram-force [wikipedia.org] and gram-force.

The origin of the Newton (as a measure of force/weight) was is 1948, and officially adopted in 1960 by the new SI system.

Re:100,000 tons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38752036)

That's not exactly true. Ton is both a unit of weight and a unit of measure, depending on which you're using for your application.

When used as a unit of weight, it's 2000 lbs
When used as a unit of volume, it's 60 cubic feet.

So, what is heavier - a ton (weight or long-ton) of feathers, or a ton (volume or short-ton) of feathers? So, a ton isn't just a ton - it depends on how you're using it.

I suspect that you're right about it being a reference to a unit of measure though. As the planet loses mass (and with it, gravity), a ton (weight) would require more matter - while a ton (volume) would remain constant.

Re:100,000 tons (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#38752380)

1 ton = 1E3 Kg.

FTFY

Re:100,000 tons (2)

adamchou (993073) | about 2 years ago | (#38751280)

i believe you're confusing mass vs. weight. weight is the force being exerted due to gravity. mass is the amount of matter.

Re:100,000 tons (1)

fritsd (924429) | about 2 years ago | (#38751728)

i believe you're confusing mass vs. weight. weight is the force being exerted due to gravity. mole [wikipedia.org] is the amount of matter.

FTFY.

Re:100,000 tons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38752226)

mole is the amount of matter.

Mole isn't even a proper unit, it's really only a number of atoms, molecules or elephants. It's fuck all use when describing a mixture.

Re:100,000 tons (1)

adamchou (993073) | about 2 years ago | (#38752404)

Mole is a unit of measurement and can be used to measure the amount of matter. But mass is also the amount of matter...

Mass is a measurement of the amount of matter something contains, while Weight is the measurement of the pull of gravity on an object

http://www.nyu.edu/pages/mathmol/textbook/weightvmass.html [nyu.edu]

a fundamental measure of the amount of matter in the object.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mass.html [gsu.edu]

In scientific contexts, mass refers loosely to the amount of "matter" in an object

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

Re:100,000 tons (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#38751320)

Yes.

Now, with that answered, the question still remains if the "years" are Pan Universal Terran Years [codelobe.com] , or local orbit cycles. One has to wonder if they even know what our local Universal Timing Coefficient is.

Re:100,000 tons (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#38751402)

Is that 100,000 tons at Earth-normal gravity or at this much smaller planet's (although possibly denser?) gravity?

Is this anything worth worrying about when no matter how you calculate the loss the planet will still be around for at least another two or three hundred million years?

Re:100,000 tons (0)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#38751996)

Yes - the inhabitants of that planet need to know how much longer they have to stop manbearpig.

Re:100,000 tons (1)

chronoglass (1353185) | about 2 years ago | (#38752326)

or global warming...

Re:100,000 tons (1)

neonKow (1239288) | about 2 years ago | (#38752262)

I don't think you can measure the weight of a planet by its own gravity. Obviously you can't use surface gravity.

This Doesn't Make Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751010)

If the mass is boiling away then it has to be in a spiral orbit and will intersect with the star soon. It is not plausible that it will be in orbit until its mass is gone. This entire "justification" (not science) of the observation is not likely as the star *has* to be falling out of orbit if its mass is decreasing...which implies many things left unanswered.

Re:This Doesn't Make Sense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751922)

Losing mass does not change the orbit unless the process of losing mass applies a net force on the planet. And it would only cause it to spiral inward if that net force was in the correct direction.

Re:This Doesn't Make Sense (3, Informative)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#38752022)

I'm no rocket scientist so maybe I'm missing something here, but if a planet loses mass in this way it should not affect its orbit. Take as an example, lets say some supergiant transformer takes out his sword and slices the moon in half. Each half has 50% of the mass of the moon. That doesn't cause both pieces of the moon to plummet toward the sun.

(circular) orbit is the equilibrium reached when the gravitational pull toward an attractor is balanced by the inertial energy of the mass which is trying to move the object away from the attractor. Both have a linear relation to change of mass of the object in orbit, and the two contribute an opposite force, so if you change the mass, the object should remain in the same orbit. (if you lower the mass, you lower the gravitational attraction and lower the inertial energy)

This is the same reason astronauts don't get hurled off into space when they step out of their spacecraft. And the spacecraft also remains in the same orbit when the astronaut leaves it.

If you want to make something fall toward its attractor, you need to slow it down. That lowers its inertial energy without affecting the gravitational attraction. Or let it collide with a mass that does not have the same inertial vector. (increasing the mass attraction, without an equal increase in overall inertial energy)

I suppose another basic way to view an object in orbit is to view all the particles of the object as independently in the same orbit. Group them any way you want, they are still in the same orbit. Even if some of it turns from rock to gas. The gas remains in the same orbit along with the rock.

Re:This Doesn't Make Sense (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#38752270)

If the mass is boiling away then it has to be in a spiral orbit and will intersect with the star soon.

I can't think of a polite way of saying this, so I'll just say "bollocks".

Re:This Doesn't Make Sense (2)

chronoglass (1353185) | about 2 years ago | (#38752340)

i prefer to think it's being strip mined

AC got his science from Star Trek (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#38752442)

Anything going wrong will cause the ship to 'spiral in'.

I say GTF out AC. Don't you have a farmville crop to wank over?

Holy cow ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#38751038)

but losing 100,000 tons of matter every second it'll only be around another few hundred million years

It's numbers like this that really make my head spin.

Yes, I get that planets are big items, and space is big and vast ... but I can't even begin to imagine the sheer amount of material we're talking about in even just a few hours, let alone the next "few hundred million years".

Anybody got a car analogy or something which might put these numbers into a little better perspective for those of us who don't work on scales like this?

I can't even begin to wrap my head around it ... a google search for one of the biggest things I could think of says that a Nimitz [wikipedia.org] class aircraft carrier is about 101,000 tons. I saw one once, and it was utterly huge.

The idea of something that big boiling off every second for a few hundred million years makes my head hurt.

Re:Holy cow ... (3, Funny)

omganton (2554342) | about 2 years ago | (#38751250)

This would equate to losing 20 Hummer H3s worth of mass every second. Now, if only that would happen here on Earth we would have a lot less pricks on the road.

Re:Holy cow ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#38751346)

This would equate to losing 20 Hummer H3s worth of mass every second.

I think you're off by a couple of orders of magnitude on that one ... unless an H3 weighs 5000 tons

I'd say it would be closer to 50,000 H3s per second based on a little quick math and assumption of 2 tons each.

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

omganton (2554342) | about 2 years ago | (#38751444)

That's what I get for trying to math in the morning...

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

ApharmdB (572578) | about 2 years ago | (#38751566)

unless an H3 weighs 5000 tons

Ah ha! So that's why they get such bad mileage!

H3s are lame little pieces of shit. Get a Unimog! (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#38752474)

I also hate 'mall utility vehicle' drivers. They are almost as lame as hybrid drivers.

Re:Holy cow ... (4, Interesting)

meekg (30651) | about 2 years ago | (#38751272)

well, think about (hypothetically) zooming out from the Nimitz on Google Earth - how much you have to zoom out even after the Nimitz (all 300 m of it) before you see the full Earth.

Each 1 km x 1km area would pack about 30 Nimitzes. Each 1000 km x 1000 km area would pack about 30,000,000 Nimitzes. And that's just the surface... The Earth is (gasp!) as thick as it is wide, and denser at the center... So yeah. BIG.

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

gauntletguy (923413) | about 2 years ago | (#38751294)

ok, think of it this way, if a library of congress weighs 100 tons, the planet loses 1000 of them per second.

Re:Holy cow ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751572)

so it is losing roughly 10 petabytes per second?

assuming a library of congress is 10 terabytes, from a random google search

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#38752276)

But how much of that 80Pbps is porn?

Re:Holy cow ... (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#38751308)

For context, thats about 1 large oil tanker every 5 seconds. Its a lot, but think how puny an oil tanker is compared to the size of the ocean, and then factor in that thats only surface area.

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#38751482)

For context, thats about 1 large oil tanker every 5 seconds. Its a lot, but think how puny an oil tanker is compared to the size of the ocean, and then factor in that thats only surface area.

Yeah, and I think that's the part where the ability to actually envision this breaks down for me ... intellectually I get what you're telling me. But my brain just sorta wobbles in trying to reconcile that.

I think you need to work with numbers like that a lot before you can internalize it and not get swamped by them ... otherwise it sounds like "eleventy cagillion", it sounds cool, but doesn't really mean anything to me. :-P

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751822)

Imagine a sugar cube, 1cm x 1cm x 1cm. Now imagine a line of ten of them. About the length of your hand, maybe. Now imagine ten lines of ten, on a table, next to eachother, forming a square. That's 100. Like a small square plate. Now stack ten of those squares. That's a cube of 1000 sugar cubes. Smaller than your head. Now imagine a line of ten of those larger cubes. If you spread your arms out a little, you can touch both ends, it's just a metre long. Now imagine ten of those larger lines next to eachother on a big table, in a larger square. Now stack ten of those those large squares into a really big cube on a plinth. That's 1000000 - one million - sugar cubes. It's a fair bit smaller than a car. Maybe a bit bigger than a washing machine, though more cubical.

You could still hug the really big cube, sortof, at least touch both sides. It's shorter than you, assuming you're a normal sized adult. That's why it's on a plinth, so you can appreciate it at eye level. And hug it. You could take a single sugar cube from the corner, and eat it. Sweeeet. But the cube clearly now has a piece missing from the corner - each edge of the really big cube is - or was - one hundred cubes long (100x100x100=1000000), and you can easily see the corner is missing. You cube vandal.

(Note: in practice sugar cubes may start to crumble under weight (though they're surprisingly strong when dry), so you may find ut hard to build an actual 1000000-cube.)

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751414)

Wikipedia says the displacement of the Nimitz is 100,000 long tons, which is equivalent to 3.5*10^7 cubic feet. The surface area of the earth, by my calculations, is 5.5*10^16 square feet. If the entire earth were made of Nimitz carriers and the material loss of 1 Nimitz carrier was evenly distributed across the entire globe, we would be losing on average (3.5*10^7 / 5.5*10^16 = ) 6.2x10^-10 feet of material off the top of each one of them every second. Over a year the loss is approximately 1/5th of an inch.

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

dcollins (135727) | about 2 years ago | (#38751456)

My rough calculation is that it's analogous to about one-millionth of a square millimeter of a flake of paint being blown off your car every second. (About the same scale as the Nimitz compared to the surface of the Earth.) It's going to take some time.

What I'm a little wierded out by is that this difference is noticeable by the transit light-detection.

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#38751664)

What I'm a little wierded out by is that this difference is noticeable by the transit light-detection.

I'm a little weirded out by the fact that you have a starting point to come up with a rough calculation for that. :-P

I think the visibility in the transit light-detection I get a little more ... it's an ever expanding ball of gas, no? So it's going to be blocking a lot more light on every pass. At least, I think.

I find this with astronomy ... I can understand the concept, but when we get down to the numbers I just find myself drooling and unable to really grasp the scale. And, to be honest, I suspect the astronomers are no better at that, they're just more used to it and have worked out their own set of things to relate it to.

Re:Holy cow ... (0)

operagost (62405) | about 2 years ago | (#38751476)

All I know is that Paula Deen might be interested in this weight loss plan. BUTTER!

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751490)

The Sun converts 4.3 million tons of matter PER SECOND into energy!

As Douglas Adams put it (4, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | about 2 years ago | (#38751582)

"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space." -- Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

And really, it applies not just to distances, but masses, speeds, etc. As a rule of thumb, if it even deserves being mentioned in astronomy, it's frikken mind-bogglingly big.

The Earth, for example, is 6x10^24 kg, so basically 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons. Or about 600,000,000,000,000,000 Nimitzes.

Or more to the point of the planet being discussed here, they say it's a little bigger than Mercury, which in turn is 3.3x10^23 kg. I.e., 330,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons.

Yeah, that's the kind of numbers that astronomy is about. Well, not really. These are small planets. Now stars and black holes and galaxies, that's the real bread and butter. And you can pretty much stick the zero key down and go brew some coffee, if you want to write the weights for that.

And then come the distances, yes. Douglas Adams was certainly up to something there.

You know where in Men In Black, agent K says, "You want to stay away from that guy. He's, uh, he's grouchy. A three hour delay in customs after a trip for 17 trillion miles is gonna make anybody cranky." You'd think 17 trillion miles is half-way across the galaxy, right? Actually the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is 25 trillion miles away. So that alien would have had to make a stop at some cosmic gas station in between, if he only had a 17 trillion miles trip.

It's things like these that... well, let's just say they seriously put the kibosh on most nerds "we should totally do some SF thing right now" scenarios. E.g., since we talk mass, there are all the "oh, let's terraform [insert planet]" stupidities. Yeah, I don't think any of those actually calculated how many trillions of tons of ice comets they'd have to divert into Mars to make oceans and whatever their fantasy scenario involves. (There are 1.4x10^18 tons of water on Earth for example.) Nor where they'd come from, nor what the energy budget for that would be.

Re:As Douglas Adams put it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751876)

Bah, facts and logic have never, ever stopped Space Nutters from their utterly retarded and delusional fantasies. "But but but space elevators and Virgin Galactic!" Childish idiots with no grasp of reality.

Re:As Douglas Adams put it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38752368)

Modding me -1 doesn't change reality, Nutter. It doesn't change the strength of materials, it doesn't change our energy sources, it doesn't change our technology. You can cry and pound your keyboard as hard as you want, the Space Age is *dead*.

Re:As Douglas Adams put it (2)

Scutter (18425) | about 2 years ago | (#38752050)

"Yeah, I don't think any of those actually calculated how many trillions of tons of ice comets they'd have to divert into Mars to make oceans and whatever their fantasy scenario involves. (There are 1.4x10^18 tons of water on Earth for example.) Nor where they'd come from, nor what the energy budget for that would be.

Just change the gravitational constant of the universe. Duh.

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | about 2 years ago | (#38751622)

I keep hearing about these wild planets and I can't help but desire to see what it would look like (safely) from the surface. The one panoramic picture I have of Mars is absolutely stunning - but relatively speaking, its a somewhat boring landscape. I would love to see Titan for example.

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | about 2 years ago | (#38751990)

I can imagine it's something like that hot planet from The Chronicles of Riddick.

Re:Holy cow ... (1, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#38751880)

Anybody got a car analogy or something which might put these numbers into a little better perspective for those of us who don't work on scales like this?

The planet loses mass at a somewhat lesser pace than humanity burns through oil (100,000 vs. 133,000 tons per second). Take that, alien sun!

Re:Holy cow ... (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#38752302)

Anybody got a car analogy or something which might put these numbers into a little better perspective for those of us who don't work on scales like this?

The planet loses mass at a somewhat lesser pace than humanity burns through oil (100,000 vs. 133,000 tons per second). Take that, alien sun!

We use about 4.9 km^3 per year. Oil has a density of about 0.9kg/L, so that gives us 4.41 x 10^12 kg per year.

Or, about 140,000 kg/second.

So you are correct, although I did doubt your figures at first.

(Also, could the USA please stop measuring oil in volume, which changes density depending on composition, pressure and temperature. Also, please stop using archaic units like "bbl".)

Re:Holy cow ... (3, Funny)

archen (447353) | about 2 years ago | (#38751916)

Anybody got a car analogy or something which might put these numbers into a little better perspective for those of us who don't work on scales like this?

Space is like a car so big that you can't comprehend it.

Re:Holy cow ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38752118)

Space is like a car so big that you can't comprehend it.

Ahhh. A Canyonero!

Car analogy (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 2 years ago | (#38752004)

If this planet were a hot car driving down the highway, the boiling mass would be about a 100 bacteria falling off it every second. And each and every one of them is of the very finest British manufacture.

Re:Holy cow ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38752364)

What about the Costa Concordia cruise-liner, it's about the same 100,000 or so tons.

Nomenclature? (1)

Snirt (1908938) | about 2 years ago | (#38751050)

How do they come up with star names? Are they named after some Microsoft OS update.

Re:Nomenclature? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751432)

KIC refers to the "Kepler Input Catalog", and then the number of this star system in that list. The 'b' at the end of the planet name means that it's the first planet discovered in this system. (Subsequent planets would be 'c', 'd', etc. Not sure why they don't start with 'a'.) If it's a multiple star system, they append the capital letters A, B, etc to the number to refer to each star of the system. It's not very fun to pronounce, but it's easier than coming up with a milllion unique proper nouns.

Unintelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751152)

The universe seems too incredibly wasteful to be designed by a God.

beta version (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 2 years ago | (#38751592)

This universe is the beta version; God had to rush it out because the PHB promised the customer a bunch of features that weren't in the original design. He'll work these bugs out when he has time, right after he finishes commenting all the code for the benefit of the next guy who works on the universe.

Re:Unintelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751818)

Really? What would YOU have done with the Universe? Serious question.

Re:Unintelligent Design (1)

FranktehReaver (2441748) | about 2 years ago | (#38751972)

I would put all the planets in a egg carton like container and have a heating lamp on them at just the right temperature. I would have to remember to rotate them every 12 hours so people can get some sleep :3

How'd it get there in the first place? (2)

AtariEric (571910) | about 2 years ago | (#38751178)

If it was that close to begin with, how'd it coalesce into a planet in the first place? Either this planet has been spiraling in for eons, it's a victim of a collision, or the star has been getting warmer since planet formation.

Re:How'd it get there in the first place? (1)

el3mentary (1349033) | about 2 years ago | (#38751334)

Could have fallen into a lower orbit? Or maybe it was originally n orphan planet which got captured by the newly formed star's gravitational pull.

Re:How'd it get there in the first place? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | about 2 years ago | (#38751496)

Well, similar fate waits for Earth (Sun will turn into a red giant), so my bet is the star is getting hotter. When stars run out of hydrogen and helium, and start fusing heavier elements, they get hotter. When the fusion stops, it becomes a dwarf. Of course the lifecycle of a star heavily depends on the initial size, so this only applies to Sun type stars.

Orbits chance? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#38752360)

You are aware that once our planet spun far faster and that far away moon practically skimmed the tree tops? Things change, the world we know as earth would have been unregonizable a few hundred million years ago, which for astronomy is yesterday.

Riddick (3)

SebaSOFT (859957) | about 2 years ago | (#38751366)

Anyone else got the planet Crematoria in it's mind?

Title.. (1)

Kadagan AU (638260) | about 2 years ago | (#38751378)

The title of this article currently is "A Planet Literally Boils Under the Heat of Its Star".. It should probably say "A Planet that Literally Boils Under the Heat of Its Star".. To clarify that not every planet boils under the heat of it's star..

Re:Title.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751492)

Pretty sure we understand that all planets do not boil as we would not be here, however I get your point.

Re:Title.. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#38751776)

I was waas pleased the used literally correctly. I mean, my brain literally exploded out of my head with pleasure~

Solar power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751382)

It's a good place to place solar panels.

All Planets Must Go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751384)

> but losing 100,000 tons of matter every second it'll only be around another few hundred million years."

Better get it while it's hot!

Quick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751466)

Get it while it's hot.

Excellent article! (1)

Hazelfield (1557317) | about 2 years ago | (#38751608)

I strongly recommend reading the abstract, it's very descriptive and easy to understand I wish more abstracts were like that.

By the way, what's the deal with describing them simply as "astronomers"? Better than the all-too-often-used "scientists" I suppose, but wouldn't it be even nicer to write "a team of astronomers led by Saul Rappaport from M.I.T."? Scientists are people with names, and the more we use them the more we raise the status of pursuing a scientific career. Science needs more superstars!

Re:Excellent article! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38751820)

Science needs more superstars!

To boil more superplanets?

Re:Excellent article! (1)

Scutter (18425) | about 2 years ago | (#38752092)

By the way, what's the deal with describing them simply as "astronomers"? Better than the all-too-often-used "scientists" I suppose, but wouldn't it be even nicer to write "a team of astronomers led by Saul Rappaport from M.I.T."? Scientists are people with names, and the more we use them the more we raise the status of pursuing a scientific career. Science needs more superstars!

I prefer to call them "scienticians". As in: "Ascuse me, Mr. Scientician, but I ordered this latte with no cinnamon. Can you please re-make it? Thanks."

This must be it! (1)

thexile (1058552) | about 2 years ago | (#38751704)

This is what happening to Earth! Global warming is FUD!

OR (0)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#38751838)

something totally different could be happening.. nice theory tho.. maybe some aliens have occupied that planet for its rock and are just chipping away at it.. maybe there is nuclear warfare going on over there.. who knows

Re:OR (1)

jdkramar (803337) | about 2 years ago | (#38752046)

That is my favorite part about astronomy. "We think there is a planet there because the star is somewhat blocked regularly" Maybe its just an alien in a space ship somewhere in-between Earth and that star, and every so often he sorta blocks out that star and giggles to himself about how crazy the Earthlings must be going thinking that there is a planet there.

Re:OR (0)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#38752080)

hahaha.. i like that theory better.

Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38752066)

Since there is less and less land, wouldn't that make it more and more valuable?
You could say you bought a hot commodity.

Scientists got lucky (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 2 years ago | (#38752182)

Using telescopes to peer at super-hot stars stripping their companions usually gets you arrested.

Re:Scientists got lucky (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#38752462)

Relating from experience?

Release the hounds. >:]

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