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13-Billion-Year-Old Alien Worlds Discovered

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-was-orbiting-when-your-sun-was-in-diapers dept.

Space 302

astroengine writes "Two exoplanets have been discovered by scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy orbiting the star HIP 11952. But according to conventional thinking, these worlds shouldn't exist. You see, HIP 11952 is a 'metal-poor star and planetary formation is hindered around stars with low metallicity (PDF). This isn't the only thing; as metal-poor stars were the first stars to form when the Universe was very young, these two worlds also formed around the same time. They are therefore the most ancient exoplanets discovered to date."

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Astronomers are so funny (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491643)

In fifty years everyone will look back and laugh at us for putting an age on an ageless thing.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491743)

Nothing is "ageless".

Re:Astronomers are so funny (4, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491799)

Except when the ladies ask you that, you say "My love for you".
You are welcome.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491801)

yes it is. You can't measure the age of something that has always existed. time is an illusion we use to make sense of the pattern that is our existence.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491875)

space is an illusion we use to make sense of the pattern

FTFY

By this logic, you also can't measure distances because space could be infinite.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492001)

Could be?

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492071)

Personally, I like (as in, I think it would be cool, not I believe the evidence implies it's true) the idea that space is finite, but unbounded. If that were the case (and you could travel faster than light) you could travel in a straight line (correcting for local [and non-local?] curvature of space) and end back up where you started.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (4, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491889)

time is not an illusion at all, it is the increase in entropy of the structures of the visible universe, it is a non-conserved state function

Re:Astronomers are so funny (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492271)

No, it's an illusion. The past, present and future simply are. "Time" is a word we created to make sense of the universe since we only have true clarity of the present and are unable to firmly grasp both the past and future in the same context. It's understandable because few people can grasp what the universe is, was and shall be. There is no "time", it's just your mind being unable to grasp anything more complex than the here and now. Everything that was, still is and everything that shall be will be. Think flatland from one level up.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (4, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492303)

time has a very concise and hard definition, much more so than this word "mind" you invoke with your vague and nebulous words. Reality is not an illusion; jump from the roof of a skyscraper to the street, and even though you convince yourself some other event is happening, you will die when from the sudden stop regardless. Reality trumps all, and time is a very real component of reality.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492361)

time is not an illusion at all, it is the increase in entropy of the structures of the visible universe, it is a non-conserved state function

So, does time run backward in your freezer, and faster than normal around it?

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491927)

Hey! That was on my last birthday card. Stop reading my mail - and get off my lawn, you damn kids!

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491929)

Dude, you've had enough acid. Try the coffee.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (2)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492015)

Anonymous cowards are an illusion we use to make nonsense out of slashdot.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (3, Insightful)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492279)

Is position an illusion? No. Time is just position on an axis you can't understand.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492317)

Your the illusion man! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kqb0y2nVCgA

Re:Astronomers are so funny (2)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492111)

Depends - if the planet is female I'll bet her birthdays stopped at 29. :D

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492141)

Nothing is "ageless".

How old is time itself?

Re:Astronomers are so funny (2)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492255)

Time has an age, it is approx 13 billion years old.

Time and space were created at the moment of the Big Bang. Time didnt exist before that, so therefore it has an age.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (4, Informative)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492277)

13.75 +/- 0.11 billion years

(The same age [wikipedia.org] as the universe)

Re:Astronomers are so funny (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492283)

How old is time itself?

No older than the universe. In some cases much younger.

Without the geography of space, time doesn't exist.

We like to think of time as a constant linear, but it really isn't - it's a local phenomenon with large variations. We can say it takes billions of years for the light from the farthest distant galaxies to reach us, but if we were to ride that beam of light, it would only take an instant. If we consider the photons particles, they are very young, and yet as old as the universe.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491855)

When astronomers talk about the age of the universe, it refers to time duration between now and the big bang. Anything that happened before the big-bang is irrelevant since 'time' and the very laws of physics came into existence after the bang

Re:Astronomers are so funny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491941)

Actually, it's unknown what it was like before the big bang.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (4, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492097)

Actually, it's unknown what it was like before the big bang.

Like the parent said, time itself did not exist until the big bang, therefor, there is no "before" the big bang. There is no such thing as before time, just as there is no such thing as negative mass or negative distance.

Can a star really last for 13 billion years ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491939)

I have read TFA on Slashdot and also the TFA on discovery

On both the title of TFA on Slashdot and on TFA at discovery, we are told that the star was formed 13-billion years ago

On TFA at discovery it was also mentioned that the star, HIP 11952, is 375 light years away

If the star is located in a very distant galaxy some 13-billion-light-years away, the star is already 13-billion-year old, or the star may be no more - but we still see the light from that star since the star light took 13-billion-years travelling time to reach planet Earth

But that star is located merely 375 light-years away - which means, the star, if the astronomers are correct, the star is 13-billion-year old !

As I am not an astronomer, nor very good in astrophysics, can someone help explain to me the following question:

Can a star really last for 13-billion year and not running out of fuel?

Re:Can a star really last for 13 billion years ? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492023)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dwarf#Description_and_characteristics

It's possible to have stars that can fuse material for as long as 10 trillion years. Yes, T-T-T-Trillion.

The articles I looked at regarding this planet though make no mention to what class of star they're orbiting, so YMMV.

Re:Can a star really last for 13 billion years ? (3, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492353)

It's possible to have stars that can fuse material for as long as 10 trillion years. Yes, T-T-T-Trillion.

10-100 short scale (U.S.) trillion, or 10-100 long scale (Euro) billion. A pretty long time, yes, considering that the universe is considered[*] to be less than 14 billion (short scale) / 14 milliard (long scale) / 14 thousand million (UK) years old.

[*]: It's hard to say with any certainty, because once you get really close to the Big Bang, time will have acted very strange from our perceptive, and what might have been a millisecond in one part of the small budding universe might have been a millions of years in another part.

Re:Can a star really last for 13 billion years ? (1)

Longjmp (632577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492043)

Our sun has an expected lifetime of 11 billion years. So, maybe.
And I'm not an astronomer either, just an interested layman.

Re:Can a star really last for 13 billion years ? (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492065)

Can a star really last for 13-billion year and not running out of fuel?

Yes. Our own star is about 5 billion years, and probably only halfway through its life cycle.

Just like with dogs, the smaller ones live longer. Red dwarfs are expected to live for thousands of times the current age of the universe, and simply peter out as they exhaust their fuel, burning it slower and slower, but never having the gravity to cause helium fusion.

Re:Can a star really last for 13 billion years ? (2)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492267)

It is a false dichotomy. They are assuming a metal poor star can not form in the current Epoch. I would have said that we discovered that metal poor stars can form in the "modern" universe.

Re:Can a star really last for 13 billion years ? (3, Informative)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492351)

I was curious about this as well, since this star is an F dwarf not terribly dissimilar from our G type Sun, and the lifespan of the Sun is usually estimated at 10 billion years. I found this presentation [uwgb.edu] (Powerpoint format) about the life cycles of stars that includes a rule-of-thumb formula for the main sequence lifespan of a star with respect to its mass:

Lifetime=1/Mass^2.5.

Note that lifetime here is as a ratio of solar lifetime (so a Lifetime of 1=10 billion years) and mass is in solar masses. The paper gives the mass of HIP 11952 as about 0.83 solar masses, so an estimated main sequence lifetime would be 1/0.83^2.5= 15.9 billion years, after which it would become a red giant. Not liking the odds for its planets at that time, especially the one with a 7 day orbital period. So, it probably has a long while left, though there are wide bounds listed for mass and age, so if it is actually older and heavier, it might be living on borrowed time.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491953)

In fifty years everyone will look back and laugh at us for putting an age on an ageless thing.

All you have to do is find something 14 billion or more years old and you can do that right now. And pick up a Nobel Prize in Physics while you're at it.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

slartibartfastatp (613727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492037)

Didn't get one thing: the article says the star is 13 billions yo, but it's 375 ly from our solar system.

I always have thought that distance meant age. Which other technique there is to tell a star's age?

Re:Astronomers are so funny (3, Interesting)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492131)

Not to snark at you, but Sol is estimated to be 4-5 billion years old and it's only 8 light-minutes away.
But you've raised a really good question...
Off to read up on it.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492149)

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

They can guesstimate the age of a star based on its light characteristics. Our current understanding is that stars tend to follow a set progression through their evolution, and by looking at the current characteristics of a star (mass, heat, spectral composition), they can guess roughly how old it is.

It's all guesswork, mind you, and it doesn't necessarily tell us that the planets themselves are as old as the star. They could be trapped planets from other solar systems that the stars came into contact with over the years, or even trapped proto-stars that never had enough mass to start fusion... current thinking is that the interstellar medium may have a lot of this type of planet.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492175)

Didn't get one thing: the article says the star is 13 billions yo, but it's 375 ly from our solar system.

I always have thought that distance meant age. Which other technique there is to tell a star's age?

Distance does mean age. However, the Earth has not been the reference point since the 16th century or so.

Re:Astronomers are so funny (5, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492239)

Didn't get one thing: the article says the star is 13 billions yo, but it's 375 ly from our solar system.

I always have thought that distance meant age. Which other technique there is to tell a star's age?

Distance is... well, distance. The number of light years something is away means that we are looking at what happened that many years ago. In this case, what we see happened 375 years ago. It has nothing to do with the age of the object. However, if we see a galaxy 13 billion light years away, we know that the galaxy is 13 billion years old since nothing is that much older, provided it still exists. We don't really know as we would be seeing it as it existed 13 billion years ago. To see how it looks today, we'll have to wait another 13+ billion years and look at it again.

As for judging the age of a star, I'll take a stab at it, although IANAA. If I recall correctly, there are several methods used to judge the age of a star. We know by looking at what the star is composed of which developmental stage it is currently at. We know by its size and energy output how fast it is burning its fuel. So, if we see a large, bright, hydrogen star, we know that it is fairly young since large hydrogen stars don't last long. We can be more accurate by figuring out how fast it burns its fuel and how much it has left (helium to hydrogen ratio). If we see that it is composed mostly of helium, we know that it is in its second stage. We can judge by its size how long it was in its hydrogen stage before it fused it all to helium.

I have not RTFA, but I believe they are judging that this star was one of the first out of gate judging by how much metal it has in its core, meaning that it is very, very old.

Take with salt. Like I said, I'm no astrophysicist.

What I don't understand is how do the scientist know that these were not rogue planets, formed much later and then became trapped by the star's gravity. Just because a star has planets orbiting it, doesn't mean that those planets formed along with the star.
 

Re:Astronomers are so funny (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492213)

But they discovered 13,000,000,000 year-old worlds. That's note worthy, right?

I'm confused (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491705)

How is this news? Sure its uncommon for these stars to have planets but its not impossible. HIP 13044 is a low Fe/H star (even lower than HIP 11952) with planets.

Re:I'm confused (5, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491777)

"Planets form around sun" certainly was news 13 billion years ago, it just took this long to reach Slashdot's front page.

Re:I'm confused (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491975)

Mod parent up.

Re:I'm confused (0)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491827)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_the_universe [wikipedia.org] Age of the universe is thought to be about 13B years. I think even "unlikely" is newsworthy. Kinda cool to think of planets that old.

Also one apparently has fields of red grass and is named "Gallifrey".

Re:I'm confused (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491877)

it should be impossible as previously thinking was that the only way the elements for planetary formation are created is via prior supernovas. these stars shouldnt have had access to the materials needed to create planets. either there were more -very- early supernovae than thought, or these planets are interstellar captures.

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492147)

it should be impossible as previously thinking was that the only way the elements for planetary formation are created is via prior supernovas. these stars shouldnt have had access to the materials needed to create planets. either there were more -very- early supernovae than thought, or these planets are interstellar captures.

If it formed as a result of an extragalactic collision ~13Gy ago, it's not implausible that there would have been a wave of supernovae during the consumption of the host galaxy by the one that became our own. After the first few million years, there'd be plenty of nucleosynthetic debris locally to form planets around any red dwarfs that managed to find enough gas to coalesce in the aftermath.

Re:I'm confused (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492177)

well, the life of a star is inversely proportional to its size... the bigger the star, the faster it blows up. it *is* plausible that during the early days of the universe when things were much more densely packed than they are now, bigger stars could have formed early on.

but I still think they're most likely trapped planets.

Re:I'm confused (2)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492233)

They're gas giants. They could be 100% hydrogen, thus not needing elements from supernovas.

Re:I'm confused (5, Interesting)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492305)

Early supernovae wouldn't help - the star is formed from the same material as the planets would, and the star demonstrably has almost no metals. Early supernovae would just mean that this star didn't exist (in its current chemistry), or that it is even younger than currently estimated, so as to form before the supernovae.

Interstellar captures are very difficult. Generally speaking, you need three gravitationally interacting bodies to allow a capture, as you need one to carry away some energy. Basically this requires the wanderer planet to turn up just when the star is passing close to another one, and even then to get really lucky. (Most often it is the lowest mass object of the three which gains energy, but we need the planet to lose energy.) Another possibility is you could lose that energy through tidal losses, but this requires the wanderer has very small positive energy initially, and passes very close to the star. Either way, the odds of such a capture are very low.

In addition, we have the fact that this star has two planets, which makes the odds against capture polynomially* smaller. Finally, if two planets were captured, we'd expect them to have different orbital planes. Given that they were detected by the 'wobble' method, I'd expect this could be measured, and would be mentioned if it had been so. However I can't promise that there aren't gravitational interactions which would bring the orbital planes into alignment over 13Gyr. Captures would also initially have highly elliptical orbits, which again the wobble method should notice, and again I don't know if 13Gyr is long enough to circularize the orbits by tidal effects or planet-planet interactions.

* This word brought to you by the Committee Against The Misuse Of The Word 'Exponentially'

The Heff (1)

DoomHamster (1918204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491717)

They are going to call one of the planets The Heff.

Re:The Heff (1)

DoomHamster (1918204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491739)

And the other one Dick Clark.

Re:The Heff (2)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491881)

I dunno. I'd vote Keith Richards.

Re:The Heff (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492295)

George Burns?

send the transhumanists (1)

alex4point0 (179152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491723)

Can we send the Walt-Disney-brained branch robot Patrick Farley wrote about ten years ago pls

verb tense (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491731)

So do we say that these planets "are" orbiting HIP 11952, or that they "were" orbiting HIP 11952?

Re:verb tense (4, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491861)

Well, they're only 375 light-years away, so I'd say that if they had managed to exist for 13 000 000 000 years, they likelihood of them disappearing in the last 375 is pretty low. My bet is on "are".

Re:verb tense (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491885)

Were, and may still be.

Re:verb tense (3, Insightful)

Longjmp (632577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491897)

It doesn't matter.

Point is that we now know that planets were formed at a very early stage of the universe.
As for the planets being metal poor, it isn't a surprise really, considering the age of the planets.
Let's put aside that for astronomers everything beyond helium is a "metal", we are talking about iron (Fe) and heavier elements.
Suns can only create elements up to iron in a fusion process, everything else is created in a (super) nova, and those were only starting at the beginning of the universe.
The real surprise here is that planets were formed without (or with few) heavy elements.

Iron poor (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491753)

These planets are iron poor, but when they invade us, it's always the water they come to steal.

Re:Iron poor -- yet still able to build starships. (1)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491845)

not going to make a starship out of water or gases... so to even invade with starships, they have to already have found sources of metal...

Re:Iron poor -- yet still able to build starships. (2)

lpp (115405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491869)

All they have to do is make one. One really good one.

Re:Iron poor -- yet still able to build starships. (2)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492219)

not going to make a starship out of water

Why not? I'd welcome them ice-spaceship-travelling overlords. Extra points if it's ice-9.

Re:Iron poor -- yet still able to build starships. (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492251)

not going to make a starship out of water or gases... so to even invade with starships, they have to already have found sources of metal...

Well, if they do make a starship out of gas, the fan suddenly becomes our ultimate weapon.

Re:Iron poor (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491937)

Actually I think water is pretty common out there compared to magnesium, iron, titanium and aluminum, not to mention the actinides and lanthanides, which are presumably important for space travel regardless of ones' proclivity for thirst.

Re:Iron poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492289)

Metals in astrophysics referes to everything other than Hydrogen and helium, so they would not have oxygen to make water.

Captured rogue planets? (2, Insightful)

solferino (100959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491781)

Possibly they are captured rogue planets [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Captured rogue planets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491977)

I was wondering if they would be "built" planets instead. Would there be an advantage to building around a metal-poor star, if you possessed the technology to do it? Is the kind of radiation emitting from such a star of better quality, or more conducive to life-expectancy, or something?

Re:Captured rogue planets? (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492173)

That's what I was thinking too. A recent study [stanford.edu] estimates that there may be 100,000 times (!) as many nomad planets in our galaxy as there are stars (est. 100 billion). Considering this huge number and given a time span not far short of the age of the universe, I would think that the likelihood of a long-lived star, such as HIP 11952 (est. 0.83 solar masses), to eventually capture a few of these highly numerous interstellar orphans to be not insignificant.

dude tottaly (0)

laserdog (2500192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491787)

wtf man dude theres planets for 13 billon years so old omg do they support like that would be tottaly cool what if they had super iq ailens on it

Re:dude tottaly (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491945)

How high...

Re:dude tottaly (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491959)

Wrong kind of metal [wikipedia.org] , dude.

Re:dude tottaly (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491971)

Here at Slashdot, we take our comments seriously. At the very least, you are expected to keep a couple of dozen brain cells functioning if you intend to post. Proper spelling and grammar are optional, but highly recommended.

Slow down on the bong hits next time.

Re:dude tottaly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492207)

I dunno about you guys. I take a lot of bong hits, and I post on Slashdot a lot. I've never had the impulse to combine the two. Seems kinda antisocial -- bong hits are usually not a solo activity in my book.

Re:dude tottaly (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492243)

Here at Slashdot, we take our comments seriously. At the very least, you are expected to keep a couple of dozen brain cells functioning if you intend to post. Proper spelling and grammar are optional, but highly recommended.

You act like you're new here.

Re:dude tottaly (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492349)

You act like you're new here.

They are... :p

Have we... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491817)

... discovered Z'Ha'Dum?

Oblig. Foundation reference (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491831)

"Metal poor worlds" - so one of those could be Terminus?

Re:Oblig. Foundation reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491933)

So we've found Star's End?

Re:Oblig. Foundation reference (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492045)

No, Star's End was at the opposite end of the Galaxy from Terminus.

It's all a matter of how you define that.

Re:Oblig. Foundation reference (1)

gratuitous_arp (1650741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492075)

Ah, but the whole Asimov universe was rich in the metal that mattered.

"Dors!"

L. Ron Hubbard says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491863)

this universe is 70 trillion years old, so 13 billion is pretty young

Endless Hide & Seek (2)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491873)

I think there are simply too many things for us to be 100% on. That, to me, is exciting--it allows us to never run out of things to learn about. If we're wrong, we get to keep trying to find out why.

Alien mystery worlds... (0)

Rent A Ham (865093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491903)

...or simply captured rogue planets.

Occams razor agrees with the latter.

maybe they dont exist (0)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491923)

not anymore, all they are seeing is the light that was emitted by them billions of years ago, the more you learn about the universe the more you realize how little you really know

Re:maybe they dont exist (3, Informative)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492129)

They're only 375 light years away.

Re:maybe they dont exist (0)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492249)

not anymore, all they are seeing is the light that was emitted by them billions of years ago

375 years ago, more like.

Re:maybe they dont exist (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492265)

not anymore, all they are seeing is the light that was emitted by them billions of years ago, the more you learn about the universe the more you realize how little you really know

This particular star is only 375 light years away. I'm pretty sure it's still there.

New Universe (5, Insightful)

bdabautcb (1040566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39491951)

I am astounded by the amount of rhetoric and vitriol that surrounds astronomical discoveries. Whether or not they are correct, the truth boils down to: we don't have shit for current time observations of anything in the universe. I truly believe that we are on the right path, and models fit observation, but why get so skeptical about everything? By the time we all die, the universe will basically be in the same state. Let's enjoy the limits of our observation, explore and expand them, and then maybe one of our lineage will be able to explore it.

Oa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491957)

Yes, the homeworld of the Guardians!

balls of gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491981)

Being metal-poor these would be just balls of hydrogen and helium. If funny that we can put these in the same category as planets like earth. When in reality they are more like stars and earth has more uncommon with moons and asteroids. All a consequence of how the word planet has evolve from its original definition, those stars that move.

Whats this mean for other stars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39491999)

So If "metal poor" stars have already been found to have planets... the odds for many of the other star types might be even higher?

"Comparatively 'metal-rich'"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492049)

From TFA:

So when HIP 11952's planets started to form, they were actually forming around a comparatively "metal-rich" star for the time, and although formation processes may have taken longer, HIP 11952 was actually the "richest kid on the block."

Surely the amount of metallic elements required to form a planet is an absolute value and not simply relative to other stars at that point in time?

Everyone Missed The Point (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492109)

These planets are Metal-Poor because the local sentient-life-form mined all the metals and uploaded their consciousness into machines.

And after 13Bil.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492119)

And after 13Billion years, 5 civilizations came and went on those planets before man was even considered man.

We are but specs of dust blow around by time.

That's not a planet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492165)

...it's a space station!

Time Enough For Lithium (1)

cmholm (69081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492209)

Y'know, looking at our own gas giants, it seems you don't need a whole lot of heavier elements to create a non-fusioning sphere around a star. Granted, Jupiter, Saturn, et al seem to have a lot of goodies further down the periodic table. But, I'd guess that planetary formation will work with whatever is in the buffet, even if it's just H and He with a salting of impurities.

Death Star (1)

oliverk (82803) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492241)

Don't worry, it'll leave once Alderaan gives up...

Sigh (2)

rush,overlord,rush! (1995452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492291)

Thought I just found a fellow creature, then I realized it was not saying "13-Billion-Year-Old Alien Discovered". Sigh.

Sorry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39492299)

I believe John McCain is older yet.

Av shown this page to a non-geeky friend... (2, Interesting)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492311)

... And she was delighted. It's really natural for us to think that the universe is that old, and that our vision of it is like lag in an online game. But there is something utterly satisfying when you show this to someone who isn't that much into cosmic timetables and when you watch their reactions as they try to imagine the scale, and their faces when they realise just how meaningless this planet is.
News like this should really become mainstream. This kind of humbling, nihilistic conceptualisation of our lives and surroundings could, ironically, save mankind from whatever foolish suicide we'r preparing to ourselves.

Old planets (1)

oracleofbargth (16602) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492329)

The system is metal poor, so it can't be Cybertron. I would guess Gallifrey if one of them had been terrestrial.

There is no conventional thinking, it's (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 2 years ago | (#39492345)

these planets shouldn't exist according to our current understanding, or challenged what we think we know.
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