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Strange New 'Twin' Worlds Found

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the galactic-misfits dept.

239

toomanyairmiles writes "The BBC reports on the the discovery of 'twin worlds' which orbit each other, successfully blurring the line between planets and stars. 'Their existence challenges current theories about the formation of planets and stars.' according to the Journal of Science article which reports their existence. 'The pair belongs to what some astronomers believe is a new class of planet-like objects floating through space; so-called planetary mass objects, or "planemos", which are not bound to stars.'"

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Just goes to show... (3, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847532)

However insular we want to be, the universe has all sorts of stuff in it that we would never expect. Sure with CGI, we can 'visit' anything we can imagine.
It's just great that there is more than that out there. Gives me hope for the future.

Re:Just goes to show... (2, Funny)

diersing (679767) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847683)

It also shows that no scientific theory can be trusted to be valid past lunch, we just never know when we'll find something new that blows the standing knowledge out of the water.

Can it all really be random?

http://www.venganza.org/

Re:Just goes to show... (-1, Troll)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847729)

"It also shows that no scientific theory can be trusted to be valid past lunch, we just never know when we'll find something new that blows the standing knowledge out of the water." (Emphesis mine.)

Dare I start an evolution debate?


Anyway, this does change our perceptions. Back in the day people thought that a planet could only be X, Y, and Z. With the discovery of strange pseudo planets, we have been forced to re-evaluate that belief.

Re:Just goes to show... (3, Insightful)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847784)

No, you may not start a debate. The fact is that science is supposed to change with observation and understanding. Religious belief is usually "concrete" and a matter of faith. Sure, you can mix the two, but be aware of the conflicts that arise.

Should religion be taught in schools? I don't mind. Just don't teach it in a science class. It's bad enough that science is treated like religion in most US classrooms.

I personally would have enjoyed a philosophy class in high school, btw.

Re:Just goes to show... (1)

mattcasters (67972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847749)

I strongly believe (pun intended) that the randomness is vital to the development and existance of life.
Imagine if everything would be strictly ordered, what a boring place would the universe be.
Even in society, I think that diversity is good. Different opinions make us stronger, not weaker.

Then again, maybe I'm wrong : if you think you found something, you didn't look hard enough.

Matt

Re:Just goes to show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847787)

Nah, you don't need randomness, just a good update algorithm which produces a universe on the edge of chaos. In other words, random enough to try a bunch of different configurations, yet stable enough that if that configuration should be 'alive', it won't immediatly be obliterated.

It has been shown that you can produce such environments with simple substitution rules and a single point as a beginning. No real randomness at all.

But you need warp drive first ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847699)

The current news article and the prior news article (about the new Japanese moon base) are just wishful thinking until we develop warp drive. As the prior article (about the moon base) suggests, due to the very slow means of space travel, there is basically no way to deal with a debilitating injury. On Mars, you would die right away because sending a space ship to the planet takes months. The article is more optimistic about the moon since it is only 3 days away. However, the rescue mission must be perfect: there is no backup if the rescue rocket malfunctions.

The only way to make space travel and colonization viable is to develop warp drive. Indeed, an obscure Germany scientist has already developed the basic theory supporting warp drive [wikipedia.org] . Slashdot reported on a heavily funded air-force project to build a warp-drive engine based on that theory. Unfortunately, I cannot locate the Slashdot article at the moment.

Pizza Pizza (2, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847761)

No need to get all excited because Galactus phoned in to Magrathea for the two-for-one special. Different toppings on each planemo, no less.

Re:Just goes to show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847857)

Why does this give you hope for the future? What significance does this have for our future?

Re:Just goes to show... (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847863)

The idea of planets orbiting each other doesn't seem so surprising. Even to say that the earth orbits the sun, and not vice-versa, is slightly ill-defined. The earth and sun exert equal but opposite forces on each other, so they both accelerate, but the sun is much heavier so it accelerates the earth much more. The sun's orbit of the earth is so small, it's just a wobble. But what is the precise ratio of mass where we say one body "orbits" the other?

Re:Just goes to show... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847894)

It is more fair to say that the two bodies orbit their collective center of gravity.

Re:Just goes to show... (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847986)

And the moon orbits the earth, etc - it makes sense that a larger body orbits a smaller body, and as the difference in size approaches zero, the two bodies will orbit a virtual "center" of gravity between them (assuming their mass and density is close as well).

With the universe being stupidly big, it's quite possible that both planets were thrown off of their orbits around larger bodies, and wandered the universe until coming into proximity with eachother getting stuck in a shared gravitational pull.

The idea at least is old (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847957)

The idea of wandering sunless planets is old enough at least in fiction. The book "When Worlds Collide" is about a pair of rogue sunless planets which orbit each other entering the solar system and colliding with Earth. It was written in 1932. The movie [imdb.com] made in 1951 is not half bad either.

What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847533)

Orbit each what?! The suspense is killing me!

That's no planemos. (4, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847534)

It's a space station!

Re:That's no planemos. (0, Offtopic)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847637)

'A slashdotter who did not build his own computer is like a jedi who did not build his own lightsaber.' Does that make the Linux / MS debate the lightside vs. darkside thing?

Re:That's no planemos. (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847704)

Even then, did you actually build it? Maybe not you specifically, but I would bet that *most* of the linux users haven't actually "built" their system any more than a windows user. Popping in a Ubuntu or Red Hat install cd and following the prompts doesn't mean you "built" it.

The whole "we" built it thing to...what do you think actually happens behind the closed doors in Redmond? There is a whole other culture of "we" on the inside that probably thinks the same as you about Linux and its surrounding products/projects.

Re:That's no planemos. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847867)

You jackass... "built" does not mean "installed software." "Built" means "constructed from constituent pieces." You wouldn't say you built a lightsaber just because you flashed the firmware.

In any event, the gp is a bigger jackass than you. It's like saying a Nascar fan that didn't build his own jalopy is like a blah blah blah. A construction worker that didn't build his own house, a seamstress that didn't sew her own dress. He's a grade-A fucktard.

Re:That's no planemos. (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847900)

I think he was referring to building your computer in the sense of assembling the hardware over buying a dell - even if 'building' a computer is about as hard as putting together legos now a days.

I think you were talking about building an operating system, which is an entirely different ball of wax. You can build a computer and never put an OS on it... even though it would be silly.

Plus, it was in his sig, and I was trying to make a somewhat lame joke.

Re:That's no planemos. (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847987)

Ok, wasn't trying to flame. But since it would be "just silly" to build a computer and not put an OS on it, I inferred the building of the entire thing, OS included. Hey, and don't be joking on legos. Have you tried some of the Technix(?) models? It was a lot harder than I expected.

Dahak, is that you? (0, Offtopic)

kunakida (886654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847641)

Maybe they're a couple of Fourth Imperium battle planetoids in parking orbit.
Now we just need to figure out how to get over there and hotwire those babies.

Re:That's no planemos. (4, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847642)

Well, considering the definition of planemo as anything with planetary mass not orbiting a star... A sufficiently large space station / space ship would qualify as a planemo. So, unfortunately, that joke doesn't really apply here. It is, however, still "no moon." :)

Re:That's no planemos. (1, Offtopic)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847707)

Actually it's just a small colony of Pierson's Puppeteers fleeing the explosion at the center of the galaxy.

Re:That's no planemos. (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847919)

Are you saying that they form a Kepler's Rosette?

Re:That's no planemos. (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847956)

Of course not. Then it would be obvious it was a colony of Puppeteers. Unless of course they are trying to disguise the fact it's their homeworld by ejecting the other worlds from the Rosette. Puppeteers are sneaky!

Re:That's no planemos. (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847861)

Nobody builds their own computer.

Some people assemble the pre-manufactured parts.

Re:That's no planemos. (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847963)

Very few. Dale, the alpha-geek of my office, definitely took a blank pci board and made an interface so his computer could control the thermostat in his house.

I'm pretty sure he could beat my Kung Fu with just his Feng Shui.

Stars... (4, Interesting)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847544)

Stars can only 'ignite' when enough mass accumulates. It would make sense that often there would be chunks of smaller mass just floating around until they scoop up enough matter into their gravity well to start fusion.

Re:Stars... (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847686)

I know almost nothing of astrophysics but that's exactly what I was thinking. We generally only aim our telescopes at stars since it helps to have a set of targets. But out there in between the bright lights I imagine there's plenty we simply don't see, either from lack of light or lack of looking. I'm probably being overly simplistic, but...

Re:Stars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847794)

These planemos are probably Brown Dwarfs, which means that they are powered by the poor-efficiency fusion of heavier elements. They shine a little bit.

Just a hop, skip and a jump.... (3, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847557)

FTFA:
They go under the official name Oph 162225-240515, or Oph 1622 for short.


I think we can just stick to "The twins"...

Re:Just a hop, skip and a jump.... (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847595)

I think we can just stick to "The twins"...
AKA "Mary Kate" and "Ashley"?

Re:Just a hop, skip and a jump.... (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847628)

Swedish, or mammary?

Re:Just a hop, skip and a jump.... (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847654)

I think we can just stick to "The twins"...

I like Planemo and Planelarry, implying, of course, the future discovery of Planecurly and a receding Planeshemp.

KFG

Re:Just a hop, skip and a jump.... (1)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847687)

Okay, come on mods... how often can we work a 3 stooges joke into a planemo discussion? (and how often do we have planemo discussions, anyway?). Mod KFG through the roof! That was funny!

poor name (2, Interesting)

Burlap (615181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847711)

I dont like the name one bit... they have NOTHING to do with planets... they are stelar objects whos mass is simply to low to get their internal temperature high enough for hydrogen fusion.

IMHO better names would be: stellar dwarfs, non-fusion stars or something along those lines... they arnt planets.

Re:poor name (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847736)

How about starlet?

Then we could name heavely bodies after heavenly bodies.

KFG

Re:poor name (1)

Burlap (615181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847821)

i like it :)

Re:poor name (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847899)

Associated pairs would, of course, then simply be named with the convention: Jessica "Left" and Jessica "Right."

KFG

Re:Just a hop, skip and a jump.... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847730)

Unfortunately, Planemo has been going through a series of upheavels and started cutting itself as a result of Planecurly and Planeshemp abandoning him.

Challenging views? (2, Insightful)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847577)

I'm sorry, but what exactly does this challenge? A planet doesn't need a star to form.

If a nebula is the right size, it may form a planet--and it doesn't care if there's any stars nearby. It is then affected by something's gravity, and goes careening off into space.

Additionally, to make twin planets, you'd need only a nebula that's peanut-shaped, so it collapses into two bodies.

Re:Challenging views? (4, Informative)

Burlap (615181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847733)

technically they do... a planetary object by definition needs something to orbit.

What i think you meen is that a nebula of the right size can form a stelar object that doesnt have the mass for fusion.

Re:Challenging views? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847875)

The problem is collapsing the nebula to form the planemo. The prevailing logic is that this collapse mainly occurs in large gas clouds (like the Orion Nebula) and produces loose clusters of stars (like the Pleiades). The paradigm is that clumps of gas collapse under self-gravity, but these planemos would not have been sufficiently massive to have formed in this manner.

btw, kudos to RayJay.

Re:Challenging views? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847781)


successfully blurring the line between planets and stars

Obviously the enemy has challenged us to clearly define, nay, defend forcefully, that sharp line.

Re:Challenging views? (1)

gral (697468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847874)

I agree. It's possible that in the vast amounts of space, variations on themes we already know to take place, occured on a larger scale.

Everytime I hear about new scentific discovery I am reminded of Bill Engval, the comedian. He had probably the best scientific theory, that is best applied FIRST. What if it's a Dork Fish? You know just a very very warped specimen of the species and not a good representation of the whole. Yet, we base or WHOLE of knowledge off this one FREAK. Definately something to think about... ;-)

Two planets that are great together! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847961)

>[...]to make twin planets, you'd need only a nebula that's peanut-shaped, so it collapses into two bodies.

You got a planet in my peanut-shaped nebula!
Hey - YOU got a planet in my peanut-shaped nebula!

How did they discover them? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847587)

Other extra-solar planets were dicovered when the astronomers saw the doppler shift in their stars. These planets do not orbit stars (as far as I can tell from the article) so there's no light to see them and there isn't a star to see any "shifts". So how were these stars discovered? X-Rays? What?

Re:How did they discover them? (2, Informative)

MMatessa (673870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847829)

From http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2006/pr-2 9-06.html [eso.org] :

The researchers discovered the companion candidate in an optical image taken with ESO's 3.5-m New Technology Telescope at La Silla, Chile. They decided to take optical spectra and infrared images of the pair with ESO's 8.2-m Very Large Telescope to make sure that it is a true companion, instead of a foreground or background star that happens to be in the same line of sight. These follow up observations indeed confirmed that both objects are young, at the same distance, and much too cool to be stars. This suggests the two are physically associated.

Re:How did they discover them? (2, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847836)

While they are not sufficiently massive to spark fusion, they do, in fact radiate in the infrared range, due to gravitational contraction heating.

KFG

Not dark matter (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847588)

Anticipating a possible question: no, a previously-unknown population of "planemos" can't be the dark matter astronomers are searching for. First, there were enough of them to account for the huge mass of dark matter (some 95 percent of the mass of the universe), we would have seen a lot more of them by now. "Massive compact halo objects", or basically planetoids, brown dwarfs, neutron stars, etc. have been detected (via gravitational lensing), but they are known not to comprise the majority of dark matter due to such bounds on their total mass. Furthermore, from the effects of dark matter on structure formation in the early universe, the cosmic background radiation, and other factors, it is known that "normal" matter can't account for most of the mass of dark matter, either: most of it needs to be in the form of "weakly interactive massive particles" (sort of analogous to neutrinos, except much heavier).

Re:Not dark matter (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847651)

"Massive compact Halo objects"
Must... resist... urge...

Re:Not dark matter (2, Interesting)

jtwronski (465067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847669)

On the somewhat off-topic of dark matter, what is the big deal with scientists searching for all this matter that we can't see? Perhaps I'm missing something really important here, but why is it so important that there might be all this matter in the universe that we can't currently detect? So what if it doesn't glow, or emit x-rays, etc. Aren't we dark matter? It stands to reason to me that the majority of mass in the universe probably isn't glowing or burning, or emitting some cosmic ray that we can detect here on earth. Can somebody with a real clue on this subject chime in, tell me i'm an idiot, and why?

Re:Not dark matter (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847783)

Aren't we dark matter? Nope. From Wikipedia:

In cosmology, dark matter refers to matter particles, of unknown composition, that do not emit or reflect enough electromagnetic radiation (light) to be detected directly, but whose presence may be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter such as stars and galaxies. Dark matter explains several anomalous astronomical observations, such as anomalies in the rotational speed of galaxies (the galaxy rotation problem). Estimates of the amount of matter present in galaxies, based on gravitational effects, consistently suggest that there is far more matter than is directly observable. The existence of dark matter also resolves a number of seeming inconsistencies in the Big Bang theory, and is crucial for structure formation.

We as people are pretty easy to detect directly, and are great reflectors of light. While alive we even manage to produce alot (infrared, that is).

The search for dark matter stems from the uncomfortable facts that:
1. Observationaly the universe appears to be expanding at an increasing rate. This leads to an open universe in which everything keeps expanding for ever. Closed loops seem more in line with the law of thermodynamics, simply because the net energy/mass/matter of the universe would be 0 over the (very) long run, and all the energy of the universe could be treated as a vaccum flucuation.
2. The bits of the observable universe dont' move anything like they should given what we can see.
3. It really requires a significant rehash of the creation and evolution of the universe to abandon it.
4. It works out soooo well on paper.
5. No one to my knowledge has simply tweaked with extra-dimensional strings to create energy/matter/mass that exists out side of the observable dimensions, but still affecting them indirectly. Then again, stings are a conveniant mathamatical method with no direct method of detection yet.

Re:Not dark matter (1)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847975)

Well of course - we all know that the dark matter in the universe is actually the styrofoam from packing crates!

Pic (2, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847592)

Isn't it amazing how well the artist's impression clearly and realisticly show that the these objects are separated by "six times the distance between the Sun and Pluto"?

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41960000/jpg /_41960898_planemos_203_eso.jpg [slashdot.org]

Re:Pic (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847612)

Wow I really hosed that link.

Let's try again. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Pic (0)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847652)

So you'd prefer a black image with two dots so small that they are smaller than a single pixel? Come on.

Re:Pic (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847851)

I'd rather have no picture than a stupid one. Ignorance is easier to cure than wrongness.

Once Again Proving... (5, Funny)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847605)

"The pair belongs to what some astronomers believe is a new class of planet-like objects floating through space; so-called planetary mass objects, or "planemos", which are not bound to stars.'"

Once again proving that astronomers should not be naming things while drunk. Here's a handy reminder: "Remember the Planemos!"

Re:Once Again Proving... (1)

TragicHeroBC (993269) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847643)

It just makes me think of going to a Mexican restaurant and saying, "I would like a number three. Yes, the two planemos, tacos, and rice. Oh, oh! And an empinada." Mmm... Planetary body... Tragic

Re:Once Again Proving... (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847648)

Once again proving that astronomers should not be naming things while drunk. Here's a handy reminder: "Remember the Planemos!"
The only question unanswered is: Is it pronounced "plane-mos" or "plan-e-mos"?

Blurring what? (-1, Troll)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847649)

... successfully blurring the line between planets and stars.

Yes, it's really easy to confuse a ball of rock with a star. I mean, the similarities are so obvious.

Ben Affleck again (4, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847684)

"Yes, it's really easy to confuse a ball of rock with a star. I mean, the similarities are so obvious."

In terms of such stars as Ben Affleck, the similarities do start to build up.

Re:Blurring what? (2, Funny)

Potor (658520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847708)

Yes, it's really easy to confuse a ball of rock ...
... like jupiter?

Re:Blurring what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847891)

Excuse me. Jupiter is a gas giant planet, not a rocky one. The planemos referred to in the article seem to be similar composition. Not quite brown drawf stars..bigger than planets we are familiar with.

Makes me wonder about some things. (3, Interesting)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847653)

Ok so our Solar System is mostly flat. I mean, the orbits of the planets tend to follow the same orbital plane, with a notable exception of course.

The reason the planets orbit in the same plane is the same reason rings around celestial bodies like Saturn eventually fall into a common orbital plane: gravity. As the mass collects there is something like a gyroscopic effect, causing a general influence towards the common plane.

But.. if that's the case, why do we have a planet that doesn't follow the plane? And, also, is it slowly falling into line with the rest? (I think the answer is yes, it is, but I don't know for sure.. at least I think it should be).

Which leads me to ask.. Was Pluto originally extra-solar? Could it have developed in this eccentric orbit if it were originally part of the solar system when it formed? Is it possible that Pluto somehow, amongst the billions of years our system has been around, floated into orbit here for good, from Out There?

And if so, if there are enough of these free-floating masses out there, what kind of percentage of the unobservable 'dark matter' might this account for?

Just a few of my questions,

TLF

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847718)

Which leads me to ask.. Was Pluto originally extra-solar?

In school I was always taught that that was the case. It explains the fact that the orbit is in the wrong plane and the fact that it effectively "switches" places with Neptune as the orbit swings closer to the sun.

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847757)

. . .pair belongs to what some astronomers believe is a new class of planet-like objects floating through space; so-called planetary mass objects, or "planemos", which are not bound to stars.

So I guess the only new thing about this is that someone is calling them planemos now?

But about their abundance, any ideas on the dark matter question? And if they were really abundant that might pose a problem for interstellar travel. Could suck to slowly accelerate up to 90% of c and then collide with Pluto or something similar... ok, no, it would suck real bad. At least you'd never know what happened I guess.

TLF

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847838)

First of all, these planemos are large, gaseous bodies. They aren't solid bodies of rock and ice as is the case with Pluto. Instead, Pluto is more likely a low-orbit comet.

And, planets form in planes because nebuli are also planar.

As for the dark matter question, it was already answered above. There is absolutely no way that gaseous bodies can account for 95% of the universe--else we'd live inside of one (not exactly live but you get the point).

It's more efficient to bend space-time and travel in that form than "accelerate up to 90% of c"

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847994)

Anticipating a possible question: no, a previously-unknown population of "planemos" can't be the dark matter astronomers are searching for.
From This comment [slashdot.org]

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (5, Informative)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847744)

pluto is thought to be a captured kuiper belt object,, meaning that some collision or gravitational interaction with a massive body brought it in towards the inner solar system, which explains its eccentric orbit which is also at a very high inclination to the plane of the ecliptic.

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (1)

diogenesx (580716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847756)

The reason the planets orbit in the same plane is the same reason rings around celestial bodies like Saturn eventually fall into a common orbital plane: gravity. As the mass collects there is something like a gyroscopic effect, causing a general influence towards the common plane. The reason the planets orbit in the same plane is the same reason rings around celestial bodies like Saturn eventually fall into a common orbital plane: gravity. As the mass collects there is something like a gyroscopic effect, causing a general influence towards the common plane. But.. if that's the case, why do we have a planet that doesn't follow the plane? And, also, is it slowly falling into line with the rest? (I think the answer is yes, it is, but I don't know for sure.. at least I think it should be).
The reason that the planets generally roate on a single plane is because all the planets and the sun formed out of a spiraling mass of dust. Think of the milky way on a much smaller scale. The dust formed clumps which became planets. that's why, not some magical gyroscopic effect.
Which leads me to ask.. Was Pluto originally extra-solar? Could it have developed in this eccentric orbit if it were originally part of the solar system when it formed? Is it possible that Pluto somehow, amongst the billions of years our system has been around, floated into orbit here for good, from Out There?
Didn't you take science in High School. I was taught the prevalent theory is that Pluto *is* and extra-solar mass caught by the graviational pull of the sun. That's why it has such an erratic orbit.
And if so, if there are enough of these free-floating masses out there, what kind of percentage of the unobservable 'dark matter' might this account for?
No. If these are you're "intelligent" questions, go read a high school science book.

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847796)

No. If these are you're "intelligent" questions, go read a high school science book.

Hey, I never said they were intelligent questions. Step back a minute would ya?

The reason that the planets generally roate on a single plane is because all the planets and the sun formed out of a spiraling mass of dust. Think of the milky way on a much smaller scale. The dust formed clumps which became planets. that's why, not some magical gyroscopic effect.

First, why would this 'spiraling mass of dust' form as a flat plane? I think the answer is gravity. As the accretion disk forms the mass falls towards a common center of gravity. While orbiting around that common center the mass falls into another common, a shape that eventually forms a ring. I think of it like this: If there's a common center spinning around another common center, eventually a ring will form as the most natural state. And I never claimed it WAS gyroscopic, I said it was LIKE gyroscopics. What causes a gyroscope effect? Intertia, I believe. And there's no reason to not relate that to gravitation and orbits IMHO.

But sorry if my not "intelligent" questions were so hard for you to read.

TLF

Your answer is a non-answer (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847940)

the "magical gyroscopic effect" the GP suggested is no more nonsensical than your "magical spiraling mass of dust"

An actual answer involves the fact that the pre-solar mass was likely spinning (not "spiraling") on the same plane the elliptic. The formation of planets occurred on this same plane for obvious reasons, leaving our current system (minus Pluto) of planets with similar planes.

As for the dark matter question, my understanding is that the theory claims that most dark matter is comprised of WIMPs, particles which don't interact in the same way as the "normal" matter which makes up stars and planets.

How about climbing off your high horse and answering the questions, if you can... or don't you get enough of an ego boost giving an answer as opposed to a put-down?

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (3, Funny)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847775)

You've got questions...I've got answers

why do we have a planet that doesn't follow the plane?
It marches to the beat of a different drummer. Its the "alternative" planet.

is it slowly falling into line with the rest?
Yes, they always do.

Was Pluto originally extra-solar?
We were all "extra-solar" at one point or another...know what I mean.

Could it have developed in this eccentric orbit if it were originally part of the solar system when it formed?
If it were originally a part of the "system" then it wouldn't seem so eccentic now would it?

Is it possible that Pluto somehow, amongst the billions of years our system has been around, floated into orbit here for good, from Out There?
Yeah, it got bored and had nothing better to do the next few billion years or so.

And if so, if there are enough of these free-floating masses out there, what kind of percentage of the unobservable 'dark matter' might this account for?
Obviouslly, 42

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all day.

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (5, Informative)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847802)

You are incorrect as to why the planets are on the same elliptical plane.

http://www.nineplanets.org/origin.html [nineplanets.org]
#3 on that page is the step which explains why the solar system is on the same plane. Pluto being outside that plane is most likely it is actually a kupier belt object and was far enough out from the formation of our sun to not have fully fallen into the accretion disc.

More information is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accretion_disc [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protoplanetary_disc [wikipedia.org]

The reason your explanation doesn't work for why the planetary bodies are on the same plane is because they are all in stable orbits. To plane out into a disc they would need to still be falling towards the sun.

Planetary rings are in the ring pattern because they follow the orbit of the object from which they were created, they are not collected and built up from smaller particles but probably the result of the destruction of a large object.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_rings [wikipedia.org]

Re:Makes me wonder about some things. (2, Informative)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847864)

Ahh hmm. It was my understanding that the accretion disk of our solar system (the planets) formed due to the combination of gravity and inertia/velocity. I.E. that's why they're all in the same orbital plane.

The reason your explanation doesn't work for why the planetary bodies are on the same plane is because they are all in stable orbits. To plane out into a disc they would need to still be falling towards the sun.

But aren't they getting close to the sun all the time? In effect still falling towards it? Seems like it would be perpetual motion were they not?

TLF

Visible? (1)

escay (923320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847668)

if the 'planemos' are not part of any stellar system, how are they visible in an optical telescope? they can't generate light of their own, they can only reflect...

it's pretty easy. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847694)

"if the 'planemos' are not part of any stellar system, how are they visible in an optical telescope? they can't generate light of their own, they can only reflect..."

It's pretty easy if you duct-tape a Maglite to the side of the telescope, with the light end aimed in the same direction as the telescope sight.

blurred? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847672)

'twin worlds' which orbit each other, successfully blurring the line between planets and stars.

Let me unblur that for you. If it's on fire, it's not a planet.

news? (1)

Burlap (615181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847678)

how exactly does this streach the ideas of how objects are formed in space? These "planemos" were therorized in my highschool astronomy book (and no, im not going to tell you how many years ago that was).

To form a star: Take a whole LOT of hydrogen gas in open space... maybe add a little helium for good measure. Wait for a few million years untill the gravatational pull of the gas concentrates in in the center of the cloud. As the gas condences it gets hotter due to the collisions of the gas molicuels/atoms. If there is enough presure then the temperature will reach the point needed for hydrogen fusion, at which point the new solar wind will stop any more gas from condencing into the new star.

now, if you DONT have enough gas to get the presure high enough to get the temperature high enough, then fusion WONT occur, the gas will all condence into the failed star and.... thats it. The condenced gasses will simply float away from the star forming reagon and voila.... planemos.

not exactly a streach.

Emeril Stellar Engineer (1)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847745)

" Take a whole LOT of hydrogen gas in open space... maybe add a little helium for good measure"

And then you add this bowl of chopped onions. BAM!!!

Important question relevant to the issue (4, Funny)

JamesP (688957) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847690)

Which one is the evil twin?

Thank you , I'll be here all evening!

Re:Important question relevant to the issue (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847720)

More importantly, in which brand of chewing gum's TV ads will they appear?

Re:Important question relevant to the issue (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847728)

Which one is the evil twin?
 
"Skippy." The evil twin is always named "Skippy."

Re:Important question relevant to the issue (1)

bwcarty (660606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847799)

It's the one with the goatee.

Just like "Old Maids" in the popcorn (1)

enjar (249223) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847726)

one would expect to find things that didn't quite make it in the universe.

You are really scaring me, dude. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847773)

"Just like "Old Maids" in the popcorn one would expect to find things that didn't quite make it in the universe."

Now THIS is getting me to take the global warming threat the the earth REAL seriously!

Snakes???? (5, Funny)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847731)

Snakes, on a PLANEMO????

planemos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15847741)

Did they name the Planet Mass System "planemos" because they didn't want to call it PMS?

Hey I saw this movie! (2, Funny)

XJHardware (809439) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847779)

The first planemo will make a very close approach to Earth. The second will smack right into earth. But by then the spaceships we cobble together with nifty 50's retro-tech will have blasted off with the lucky few colonists to build a new civilization. Too bad with such a small gene pool they'll devolve into slack jawed mouth breathers in a few generations. Looks like the future of reality TV is assured.

Psh... (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847808)

Any Star Wars CCG fan can tell you that Kiffex [decipher.com] did this long, long ago.

They have it all wrong... (2, Funny)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847822)

PlanemO's are actually God's cereal.

hurry! (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847834)

someone grab www.planemos.org quick!

dont they already have a name for those.. rogues? (2, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847835)

so they found a binary rogue planet system... now theyre just trying to create a new jargonistic name for them so they can be in the history books.. just call a spade a spade already.. "binary rogues"... that's it..

Well (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847889)

If there were a ridiculous number of these 'unexpected' objects, that could explain the 'dark matter' problem, right? I mean, we can't see a bunch of rocks out in space, only stars. Perhaps there are way more rocks than burning stars.

How do they detect them? (1)

Vadim Makarov (529622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847929)

I wonder what sort of light this twin object radiates that is visible through the ground telescopes.

And, how do they know it is a twin? We can't resolve two separate points at such a distance, can't we?

RTFA? (3, Informative)

Dieppe (668614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847938)

For people who didn't RTFA, the two planets are about 6x the distance from the Sun to Pluto. The image in the article shows two large happy planets practically next to each other.

Six times the distance from the Sun to Pluto. If you're on one planet you might be lucky to see the tiny dot of the other planet in the night's sky... I don't recall if it said they were orbiting a star (for light) or not. So even the picture is misleading.

Beards? (0)

tashanna (409911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15847990)

Quick, check and see if Spock has a beard.

- Tash
Yippie! Hybrids! [tashcorp.net]
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