Beta
×

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

Thank you!

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

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

Hubble Reinforces Planet Formation Theory

timothy posted more than 7 years ago | from the music-of-the-spheres dept.

79

eldavojohn writes "Physorg is running an interesting article on the most recent of Hubble's accomplishments. It has provided us evidence supporting that which Emmanuel Kant proposed over 200 years ago — that planets do indeed form from disks of gas and dust that surround stars. The trick, apparently, was observing many cases where a star's planet forms on the exact same circumstellar disk as the dust and gas. Hubble also aided the researchers in determining the weight of many extrasolar planets. Some had contended that these were not planets but rather brown dwarf stars — which is determined by measuring their weight." Update: 10/12 23:08 GMT by T : That's not the only theory Hubble's recent observation's have supported: read on below for a bit more.somegeekynick writes "Hubble has spotted a bunch of little galaxies, nicknamed Spiderweb, over 10 billion light-years away in the process of merging. This observation supports the so-called 'bottom-up' theory of galaxy formation, according to which smaller clumps of matter collided and merged with each other to form larger galaxies during early stages of the universe's evolution."

cancel ×

79 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Interesting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409393)

This has enormous implications for Natalie Portman naked and petrified.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409425)

I don't think that she's the brown dwarf star that they are talking abour.

REPOST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409427)

Hi there, welcome to 3 days ago, we hope you enjoy your stay.

Mass != Weight (5, Informative)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409433)

The article means mass, not weight: A star's weight is effetively zero, as it is in a microgravity environment. It's mass is trillions of kilograms.

Sorry, just needed to be pendantic for a moment.

Re:Mass != Weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409497)

We amass many weighty topics on /.

Re:Mass != Weight (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410207)

Yeah, but the comments amount to a load.

Re:Mass != Weight (2, Insightful)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409525)

The article discussed mass measurements, and the word weight appears nowhere in the text. I think the submitter made a classic Physics 101 mistake, not the article.

Re:Mass != Weight (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409561)

I meant Slashdot article, not the article the Slashdot article refers to... (Since, after all, we all know no one reads those, right? ;) )

Anyway, thanks for the correction.

Re:Mass != Weight (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409767)

The submitter seems like a class act all around, as they not only goofed on weight!=mass, but the link goes to the "print this story" version, which prompts the user to print the story.

Re:Mass != Weight (1)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411179)

...the link goes to the "print this story" version, which prompts the user to print the story.

I was about to comment on how the advertising-is-teh-devil crowd would bitch about the number of pages the regular version spanned, but the regular version [physorg.com] is only one page, too.

Re:Mass != Weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16414393)

Turn off Javascript and it won't prompt you.

Re:Mass != Weight (4, Informative)

balsy2001 (941953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409591)

You are many orders of magnitude off on the mass of a star. The mass of the earth is 5^24 kilograms, so use that as a reference point The sun is ~ 1 billion times the mass of the earth.

Re:Mass != Weight (3, Informative)

balsy2001 (941953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409655)

So I should have checked my facts BEFORE submitting. The mass of the sun ~ 333000 times the mass of the earth.

Re:Mass != Weight (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409631)

<PEDANTIC>That's quadrillions of grams, or billions of tons.</PEDANTIC>

Re:Mass != Weight (1)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409951)

<PEDANTIC>That's quadrillions of grams, or billions of tons.</PEDANTIC>

<PEDANTIC>"Tons" is a measure of weight. "Tonnes", is what I believe you were looking for.</PEDANTIC>

Re:Mass != Weight (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410301)

The article means mass, not weight: A star's weight is effetively zero, as it is in a microgravity environment. It's mass is trillions of kilograms.

On the other hand, weight is a measure of one object's gravitational attraction to another. The measured wobble of these stars is induced by said gravitational attraction. Therefore, HST is helping to determine the weight of suspected planets.

Re:Mass != Weight (-1, Offtopic)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410369)

Not to be pedantic, but I think you meant "pedantic". ;-)

Being pendantic would mean that you were small, hard, and usually attached to a necklace. ;-)

Re:Mass != Weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16410923)

It's pedantic, not pendantic. Just had to be pedantic there for a moment.

Not weight! Mass! (-1, Redundant)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409439)

Some had contended that these were not planets but rather brown dwarf stars -- which is determined by measuring their weight.
It helped measure mass, not weight! They are very different concepts.

Re:Not weight! Mass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409609)

Thank god someone else remembered that mass != weight -- I thought I was the only one who stayed awake in middle school science class. Maybe cause I'm just too white and nerdy?

juxtaposition != causation (2, Insightful)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409537)

from TFA:

has at last confirmed what Kant and scientists have long predicted: that planets form from debris disks around stars.

Again, "modern" scientists jumping to unsupported conclusions. Simply observing a dust cloud and a planet in the same orbital plain around the same star doesn't prove the planet formation theory. Until they find a dust cloud containing a proto-planet in the process of condensing, the theory is still unproven.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409569)

of course do you really know that the planet they found wasn't a proto planet, in the process of being formed?

The onyl way to be certian is to go visit the planet.

Now where's my hyperspace drive.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409725)

The article stated that the dust cloud and the gas giant were in different orbits. How precisely we are currently able to measure the boundry of the dust cloud is probably the key question. That, and what's the ratio of gas to dust in the cloud?

There's possibly a Nobel prize waiting for the person who can produce the formula for planet creation that accounts for the mass and rotation speed of the star; the mass, area, composition, rotation speed, and over-all gravimetric effect of the dust cloud; and the gravitational effect of any already-formed planets, comets, and other near-by objects.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (1)

rca66 (818002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410471)

The article stated that the dust cloud and the gas giant were in different orbits.

Where? Can you quote it? I would be intersted to see, where they ascribe an orbit to a disk.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411033)

Now where's my hyperspace drive.

Right next to your improbability drive?

This is pretty silly (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409647)

Theories of very hard to observe things are built up by weight of evidence. Currently study the Kuiper Belt is providing a lot of information, and as telescopes improve we find more and more about small objects in our own solar system. But if we wait till we have evidence of an object orbiting another star accreting mass from a dust cloud, that could take thousands of years.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409817)

Again, "modern" scientists jumping to unsupported conclusions.

Nobody did that, you just have no idea what you're talking about.

The theory had a major loophole in it because nobody had ever before been able to observe a planet formation on the same plane as it's sun's disk of dust and gas. This find goes a long way toward closing that loophole and, when combined with all prior evidence for the theory, also goes a long way to validating it's accuracy to the point of virtual certainty.

I have no idea why you felt the need to take a glib stab at "modern" scientists like that, but maybe in the future you should make sure you have at least a tiny clue what you're talking about before you make yourself look like an idiot in the process of trying to make other people appear that way.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409957)

The new observation does, indeed, go a long way to supporting the current theory of planet formation. However, it is far from a smoking gun. The article doesn't state if there's sufficient observable evidence to support the conclusion that this planet came from this dust cloud. If that's not the case, then we have no "virtual certainty", just more "probably" data points.

As for the "glib stab", presenting conclusions in the face of non-conclusive evidence calls for questioning, and any ethical scientist ought to expect that.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16410231)

I saw a couple articles on this report, and I think it really wasn't the researchers trying to make it sound so conclusive, but the author of this particular article.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411261)

However, it is far from a smoking gun.

Never mind. Anybody who thinks the notion of a "smoking gun" has any relevance to a scientific theory whatsoever is so utterly and inconcievably ill-informed about science that it's really just not worth the time it takes to argue with them.

I wish I'd have known that before I wasted my time making that last post...

Re:juxtaposition != causation (1)

rca66 (818002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410363)

Until they find a dust cloud containing a proto-planet in the process of condensing, the theory is still unproven.

Due to the time scales on which this happens, this is just impossible. How do you want to oberserve a process, which takes longer as our civilization exists? (And btw: how would you tell a proto-planet from a planet?) Similar to the way astrophysicists have confirmed the theory of stellar evolution, you have to find examples of systems in different stages. They have planet systems without debris, just disks with debris but no planets and now they have a planet in a debris disk. This star is quite young, so this also fits the theory. If it would be an older star, it would be difficult to explain. On the other hand, he is not too young, which would make a planet formation unlikely. So, the theory of plantetary formation has found at least a further confirmation.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411987)

How do you want to oberserve a process, which takes longer as our civilization exists?

Obviously we cannot observe the entire process, but an agreed-upon mid-point would certainly do.

And btw: how would you tell a proto-planet from a planet?

I hope there's already a general description for when a group of matter within a dust-cloud would be considered a planet, or planet-like, or at least planet forming. That would be a conclusive smoking gun to justify the theory as now being an observed working method.

and now they have a planet in a debris disk.

That's not what the article stated:
show for the first time that a planet is aligned with its star's circumstellar disk of dust and gas
Which is what changes the conversation.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (1)

rca66 (818002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16412665)

Obviously we cannot observe the entire process, but an agreed-upon mid-point would certainly do.

Ahem, yes something like - a planet inside a disk of dust for instance...

I hope there's already a general description for when a group of matter within a dust-cloud would be considered a planet, or planet-like, or at least planet forming. That would be a conclusive smoking gun to justify the theory as now being an observed working method.

Your notion of a "smoking gun" is a bit too simple. Scientific theories are nearly never proven by a single, and deceisive observation. I doubt, that it is possible with todays technology to tell a protoplanet from a planet in a system lightyears away. But a system in a stage as observed in this case is also a quite good evidence for the theory, as it is still somewhere inbetween just a dust disk and a planet system like ours.

and now they have a planet in a debris disk.

That's not what the article stated:

What to you criticise? The word "debris" as opposed to "dusk". Well, on such a scale it is hard to distinguish and the article uses both words for the disk. Or do you say, the planet is not inside this disk. Well, here is what the article says:

It is still surrounded by a disk of dust that extends 30 billion kilometers from the star. [...] The planet's orbit is inclined 30 degrees to Earth, the same angle at which the star's disk is tilted. [...] The planet is in an elliptical orbit that carries it as close to the star as Earth is from the Sun, and as far from the star as Jupiter is from the Sun. [i.e. between 100 and 500 million miles]

This put together describes a planet moving inside a disk of dust.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (1)

Durandal64 (658649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410473)

Very funny. So I guess it's sheer coincidence that the planet's orbital tilt just happens to be the same as the surrounding dust ring's? Maybe you should actually read the article before presuming that you have the authority to question astronomers on matters which they've spent years studying, while you're lucky to get a few minutes'-worth of exposure to them on a weekly basis on Internet news aggregators.

You have a competing theory? (2, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411279)

And evidence to support your theory? Evidence which negates the currently accepted theory? Evidence which can be readily reproduced by scientists skeptical about your theory?

I thought not.

Not all scientists accept Kant's theories regarding planetary evolution as correct. Even the scientists who do accepts Kant's theories as correct (and they are the overwhelming majority) will be the first to admit that they are theories. That's the nature of science.

Yes, the theory is still unproven - but it is well-supported, and this data from the HST provides even more support. Scientists haven't "jumped to unsupported conclusions" - they've (quite correctly) described this data as supporting an existing theory, not as proof or evidence of a fact.

Yes, TFA describes these things as facts, rather than theory. Blame the journalists, not the scientists.

Re:juxtaposition != causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16412273)

Even in the absence of any other experimental evidence, the fact that computer simulations obeying Newton's laws predict the formation of planets from such discs is nothing to sneer at. The question is not whether planets can form in this way, but in exactly how they form (e.g., what are the roles of friction, hydrodynamics, etc. in accounting for the observed features of solar systems).

Question for the science folks out there (4, Interesting)

WndrBr3d (219963) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409575)

So does this article back up the claim that Pluto isn't a planet, but more a free floating dwarf planet that was captured by our suns gravitational pull? I had read an article that supported the theory because it stated that Pluto was the only "planet" that didn't orbit on the same circumstellar disk as the rest of our solar systems planets.

Re:Question for the science folks out there (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410053)

This claim doesnt need backing up, its entirely obvious when you look at the orbit parameters.

Re:Question for the science folks out there (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410261)

This claim doesnt need backing up, its entirely obvious when you look at the orbit parameters.
Just as the sun orbits the earth, which is entirely obvious if you observe its track through the sky.

I happen to agree that it's most likely that Pluto is a captured object, but another theory out there is that Pluto formed the same as the first eight planets, but then was knocked out of a normal planetary orbit by collision with another object (like its moon).

In science, the term entirely obvious is a very bad one -- it limits the drive to seek alternate explanations, which may end up being the correct ones.

Re:Question for the science folks out there (1)

cbass2 (961466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16417609)

The reason the planets are all in roughly the same plane and have nearly circular orbits is conservation of angular momentum of the protoplanetary disk. All planets, because of collions occuring roughly equally from all sides.

Pluto, being further out in less dense space, probably experienced fewer collisions, so it could not achieve the same equalibrium as the rest of the planets. Hense whey it's orbit is the most oblong and not on the same plane.

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

I'm sure we will all find out more once the probe reaches pluto in 2015:

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

Re:Question for the science folks out there (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410415)

Are you suggesting Pluto was adopted?

-matthew

Re:Question for the science folks out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411003)

Of course he was. Mickey and Minnie are both Mice, and Pluto is a dog. My guess is that he is the love child of Minnie and Goofy.

Re:Question for the science folks out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16412019)

Which is why Mickey sued for divorce.

Re:Question for the science folks out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16410631)

Neil deGrasse says that if pluto were in the inner solar system as earth is, it would form a tail. "no behavior for a planet" as he put it.

Replacement? (3, Insightful)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409585)

In a move all to familiar to environmentalists in Canada [see Conservatives "green approach"], a national government has canceled a scientifically motivated project [Hubble] for which they have no replacement yet. When will governments realize that redundant-capable science projects [Internet] work better than canceling a project and leaving us blind for a measure of years?

I suppose worldly wastes just get a higher priority than figuring out how the Universe is put together, and thus learning to better manage and predict it...

**sigh** (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410095)

there is a repair mission [nasa.gov] in the works to keep Hubble alive till 2013.

the James Webb Space Telescope [nasa.gov] is slated to enter operations in 2013. Some parts are under construction already.

Re:Replacement? (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411345)

Once again, a post suggesting that astrophysics research basically stops without the Hubble.

It is true that the particular wavelengths it images are largely unique among current and proposed space observatories, but those are certainly not the only wavelengths of interest. The justification of the high cost of the James Webb Space Telescope comes from the fact that no other observatory has the deep infrared capability or sensitivity to examine early galaxies in the detail that JWST will. In fact, JWST will actually build on what Hubble revealed with its ultra deep field survey. Basically, Hubble (and Spitzer) showed that infrared is the most interesting part of the spectrum inaccessible from the ground. Of course, there's also the x-ray, microwave, and ELF bands, all useful for astronomy, which the Hubble can not observe, but other projects do.

Furthermore, the Hubble's capabilities aren't really unique. There is significant overlap in the infrared capabilities between it, JWST, and several smaller space observatories, and even ground observatories in the near IR range. Obviously, the Hubble's visible wavelength observations are redundant with the many ground-based observatories, some with better resolution than the Hubble due to adaptive optics. Not to mention data collected by the Hubble will continue to be analyzed and even reused for additional projects long after Hubble is de-orbited.

Don't get me wrong, the Hubble is a great tool, probably the most versatile observatory available. It will be missed, and I personally think it's worth the risk of one extra shuttle mission to get another five years out of it. However, the cost of continuously maintaining it compared to the additional science it can offer versus investing in new observatories is hard to justify when we only give NASA $16 billion a year, and there's a huge political pressure (and plenty of slashdotters) that would have the shuttle grounded as soon as possible.

An "internet" of redundant space telescopes is a marvellous idea. NASA would surely love to have a fleet of Hubbles at their bidding, but the internet and astronomy, both functionally and economically, can't even be compared as apples to oranges. It's more of an apple orchard to Faberge egg comparison.

Re:Replacement? (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16422383)

"a post suggesting that astrophysics research basically stops without the Hubble."

Ah, but an aspect of it does for potentially a measure of years. It's not in effect anyway. No space bourne telescope. Ooops.

Re:Replacement? (2, Informative)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 7 years ago | (#16424737)

FYI (my apologies for the gratuitous use of wikipedia)

Hubble Space Telescope [wikipedia.org]
Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [wikipedia.org]
Chandra X-ray Observatory [wikipedia.org]
Infrared Space Observatory [wikipedia.org]
Corot Space Telescope [wikipedia.org]
MOST Telescope [wikipedia.org]
Astro-F Space Telescope [wikipedia.org]
Swift Gamma Ray Telescope [wikipedia.org]
Kepler Space Telescope [wikipedia.org]
SOHO [wikipedia.org]

These are some of the more interesting ones currently operating or scheduled to come online before 2010. As you see, the different space agencies actually operate quite a few space-based observatories, each with different capabilities and goals. When any one of them is decommissioned, they lose a little bit of their overall capability, but that's life. Nobody made as much fuss, for example, when the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory was deorbited, despite its significant contributions to cosmology.

Also, the astronomers who were upset about the idea of Hubble being abandoned were almost universally agreed that if push comes to shove, they would much rather give up the Hubble than have any more features cut from the JWST.

Re:Replacement? (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16436659)

Pardon me for not reading them all now. Do any of those others work in the visual spectrum, or for how far where Hubble is designed to work?

Re:Replacement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16441497)

I'm afraid I can't answer that fully. Several of them operate in various parts of the infrared range, but I don't know exactly what the overlap is, and I don't believe any of them have quite as much resolution, but Spitzer does have better sensitivity, IIRC. One of them is ultraviolet, which is apparently a rather boring spectrum astronomically, but is also covered by Hubble. I believe one of the smaller ones is visible wavelength, but of course, visible light can be seen from the ground. The only advantage Hubble has over Mauna Kea, for example, is slightly better sensitivity, but much lower resolution.

Hear Here (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409665)

Hubble has taught us much because it's a big eye in the sky. Maybe if we put a big ear in the sky, we'd prove the wisdom of the old Music of the Spheres [wikipedia.org] . We've already got the studio album [tesco.net] ... when will NASA release the live concert?

Re:Hear Here (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409815)

So we've done eyes, and we're talking about ears. Why have we not yet examined the possibilities of sticking a big tongue out into the sky? [princeton.edu]

Re:Hear Here (4, Funny)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16409905)

Yes! And then a big nose! Will we really have to wait 1000 years for somebody to invent a Smelloscope?

Re:Hear Here (2, Informative)

Ruie (30480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410719)

Yes! And then a big nose! Will we really have to wait 1000 years for somebody to invent a Smelloscope?

Actually, this has been done in a number of ways. Nose is just an instrument to analyze chemical composition of substances. An incomplete list of existing techniques:

  • Original Mars landers had chemical tests on board (in particular to test for presence of life)
  • Comet dust gathering probes
  • Radiation-based chemical composition testing (Mossbauer spectrometer)
  • spectrometers: X-ray, radio (hydrogen line, ammonia line, etc - though, afaik these are mostly Earth based), optical
This is just off the top of head, I am sure I am forgetting some - and don't know about many others.

Re:Hear Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411517)

Sniff, sniff... ewww... which planet farted?

Re:Hear Here (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410179)

Some would say the entire Earth is a cosmic raspberry.

ma8e (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16409781)

ofone single puny numbers continue Dpeoplef's faces is

Like (1)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410057)

I like it when Western "philosophers" copy the work of Indians and pass it off as their own.

Real philosophers, like Leibniz and Wolff, gave credit to the Chinese when it was due.

wtf (1)

jaimz22 (932159) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410729)

Isn't weight calculated by the amount of force exerted on a particular mass? how in the hell can something that is floating in a 0 gravity environment have weight? Unless thier talking about it's relative weight if it were here on earth.

like saying "planet blahblah wieghs 700billion ton" NO IT DOESN'T it weighs nothing! there's no gravitational force acting upon it. If it was heavy it'd fall somewhere LMAO

really.. come on.. and how do they weigh something by looking at it anyway? they don't KNOW what the density is of the crap it's made out of. all the scientists know is what they have access too, that's the crap they have on earth. how do they know that some planet 10 light years away is made up of the same elements as ours? Thats like saying that you can tell how much a chunk of some unknown metal weighs because you know how much a chunk of aluminum, thats about the same size, wieghs.

ranting EOF

Re:wtf (1)

Tod DeBie (522956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411737)

Isn't weight calculated by the amount of force exerted on a particular mass?
Yes. They are calculating mass, not weight.

how do they weigh something by looking at it anyway
If the planet was dead in space (not moving) we would not be able to estimate its mass very well: it might be made of lead or marshmellows and we would not be able to tell very well one way or the other from this far away without having more, um, powerful instruments [wikipedia.org] . However, when a planet is moving around a star, we can make a fairly good mass estimate based on, among other things, how much the star is 'wobbled' by the planet in orbit around it. Based on the stars observable properties, spectrum, light output, etc., we can make very good estimates on the star's mass and if a given star of a given mass is wobbled so much by a planet in orbit, we can calculate the mass of the planet. This only works well for larger planets and well behaved stars.

Re:wtf (1)

jaimz22 (932159) | more than 7 years ago | (#16412789)

I'd have to say that'd be a better way to measure it's magnetic field, if one does infact exsist. let me point out, just because we have something on earth and on surrounding planets doesn't mean it's on ALL planets..

Re:wtf (1)

Tod DeBie (522956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16414561)

that'd be a better way to measure it's magnetic field
We can't indirectly measure the magnetic fields of the other planets in our own solarsystem, we actually have to send out robots to measure them directly. I don't think we have any chance of measuring the magnetic fields (or lack thereof) of extrasolar planets, they are too weak and far away.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411755)

They probably estimate the mass of the planet using techniques like spectroscopy and other such things you have no clue about. Don't rant when you really don't understand anything you're talking about.

Proposterous (2, Funny)

kernel_pat (964314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410735)

Planets are made by god, your theory is ludicrous, I'm sueing you for not acknowledging my alternative theory.

Re:Proposterous (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411641)

You spelt God without proper capitalization. That is an even greater sin than drawing a cartoon of His Prophet (peas be upon him). Brace yourself buddy, anytime now millions of people will march in the streets of Karachi, Pakistan protesting this grave insult.

Re:Proposterous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16412299)

He also spelled 'Preposterous' wrong.

Never heard of Emmanuel Kant (0, Troll)

DudeTheMath (522264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16410765)

A boyfriend of Renée Descartes? Or her own, personal, Jesus?

Perhaps the editor meant Immanuel? Honestly, this is two major errors in the posts this week.

Re:Never heard of Emmanuel Kant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16410911)

Sure, Emmanuel Kant- he's that philosopher that wrote Critique of Poor Spelling, the essential text of the spelling Nazi.

Re:Never heard of Emmanuel Kant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411081)

Iiiiiiiiimannuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table.

I say again, are you a poofter?

Re:Never heard of Emmanuel Kant (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16411665)

Actually his name was Emanuel [wikipedia.org] Kant.
Later he changed it to Immanuel.

Re:Never heard of Emmanuel Kant (1)

geedra (1009933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16415135)

Either way, they got it wrong. Immanual or Emanual. NOT Emmanual.

Re:Never heard of Emmanuel Kant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16420539)

*ALL* of your spellings are wrong too.... Immanuel Kant or Emanuel Kant is correct.

Re:Never heard of Emmanuel Kant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16422265)

Actually his name was Emmanuelle Cunt, a well known european slut.
/me waits for "-1: Lewd" -moderation...

Brown dwarf stars?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16411861)

"not planets but rather brown dwarf stars -- which is determined by measuring their weight"

Brown dwarf stars?! Ahhh, they've got the Hubble pointed at Gary Coleman's house again.

So difficult (2, Funny)

HotBBQ (714130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16412431)

[insert William Shatner voice]

Must-resist-urge-to-make-lame-"Brown Dwarf"-comment.

[/insert William Shatner voice]

Of course we all know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16415303)

God put all the gas there to test our faith! Duh!
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

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

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

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

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>