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Largest-Known Planet Befuddles Scientists

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the still-a-lot-of-ground-to-cover dept.

Space 385

langelgjm writes to mention that scientists are quite puzzled over the discovery of the largest planet yet. According to study-leader Georgi Mandushev it should theoretically not even be able to exist. 'Dubbed TrES-4, the planet is about 1.7 times the size of Jupiter and belongs to a small subclass of "puffy" planets that have extremely low densities. The finding will be detailed in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal. [...] "TrES-4 is way bigger than it's supposed to be," Mandushev told Space.com. "For its mass, it should be much smaller. It basically should be about the size of Jupiter and instead it's almost twice as big." "TrES-4 appears to be something of a theoretical problem," said study team member Edward Dunham, also of the Lowell Observatory. "Problems are good, though, since we learn new things by solving them."'"

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385 comments

Later that day... (4, Funny)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158731)

...scientists discovered the "puffy" nature was due to its interior being mostly made of a substance remarkably similar to "fluffy chocolate nougat". Mars, Incorporated could not be reached for comment.

If scientists are baffled by this (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159107)

...imagine how baffled they are about something really complex like the world's climate?

Maybe thats why those clowns are so easily fooled by that fat slob Gore and the hoax called "Global Warming"

Re:Later that day... (0, Troll)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159247)

Hey Mods!

Not Funny != Off Topic

Sheesh!

Whether it is actually funny or not is left as an exercise for the reader, however it most certainly is not off-topic.

Re:Later that day... (2, Funny)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159331)

Moon, Inc., disagrees and says it's really green cheese.

Re:Later that day... (3, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159581)

I hereby claim the right to name the star system "Puzzling" and the planet shall be called "Befuddle".

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Re:Later that day... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20160141)

I hereby claim the right to name the star system "Puzzling" and the planet shall be called "Befuddle".
So let it be written, so let it be done.

Modded "troll"?

Really, now, is there someone out there upset that the got beat to the punchline? Or, is someone a resident of "Befuddle" and doesn't like being a "Befuddlite"?

Now, if this had been about RMS liking to dress up in ladies underwear and having BG spank his tushy, I could see the point. Even though such a statement may very well be true.

Puffies are things of beauty to behold ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159975)

and somewhat rare [google.com] . [Link may not be worksafe if you work with prudes.]

great... (1)

whopub (1100981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160043)

The obesity problem is already spreading throughout the galaxy and all you can think of are chocolate jokes...

I have a theory... (0, Flamebait)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158761)

I have a theory. Since we have no other explanation for now, it must be a miracle of God.

A few years down the road, once so-called "scientists" do their so-called "research" and determine that there's some perfectly logical explanation for it that fits within the realm of what we know to be true and what can be tested, I'm still going to believe my theory. After all, it's just as valid as all of their "evidence."

I can't wait for one of their crazy theories to be developed and then another so-called "scientist" comes along with more data and tries to refine it to make it more accurate and valid. Obviously, it's just proof that they don't know what they're talking about. Since my theory is 100% right and won't need to be refined or changed over the course of thousands of years, it's obviously the right one.

Don't ask me to provide any evidence. I've been taught that if I question my theory, I'll go to hell. It doesn't matter much, though, because even if you do ask me for evidence, you are obviously going to hell, and you're the kind of person I teach my kids not to associate with. I'll pray for you, but please stop persecuting me as I try to force universities to present my theory as equal to that of those so-called "scientists" once they cobble one together.

(I know, it's flamebait, I admit it. Go ahead and mod it down. I'm just feeling disgusted right now and needed to vent after being on the other end of a depressingly similar conversation.)

Re:I have a theory... (0, Offtopic)

xotmid (1139913) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158799)

Woo hooo the world is flat! Hell yeah! Now i need to go proove that god does not exist.

Re:I have a theory... (0, Offtopic)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158911)

Now i need to go proove that god does not exist
Sheesh! What a looser!

P.S. Quite sad that I have to use bold tags to keep the spelling nazis away

Cheers!

Re:I have a theory... (2, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160055)

P.S. Quite sad that I have to use bold tags to keep the spelling nazis away

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Plus, the grammar Nazi insists that you must capitalize the "N".

Re:I have a theory... (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158863)

it must be a miracle of God.
Which God?

P.S. Can Hinduism be disqualified from the religion contest by having thousands of entrants or are we Hindus playing it safe by believing in so many of them?

Cheers!

Re:I have a theory... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159159)

P.S. Can Hinduism be disqualified from the religion contest by having thousands of entrants or are we Hindus playing it safe by believing in so many of them?


Not any more than we Wiccans, who believe in all of those thousands of entrants and the ones in every other world culture along with them. ;)

Re:I have a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159863)

You don't actually believe in that nonsense. Like every other self-proclaimed "Wiccan" you're just trying to be different and "special"; zip it pig.

Re:I have a theory... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158887)

They probably didn't account for the Birkenstock radiation, one of a family of shoe-based radiations.

Re:I have a theory... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20158895)

I have a theory... it could be bunnies!

Re:I have a theory... (4, Funny)

oxidiser (1118877) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159033)

I've got a theory, that it's a demon, A dancing demon... no, something isn't right there.

Re:I have a theory... (3, Funny)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159103)

I've got a theory, we should work this out...

Re:I have a theory... (5, Funny)

andphi (899406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159385)

I've got a theory, it could be witches, some evil witches, which is ridiculous because Wicca good and love the earth and woman power and I'll be other there.

Re:I have a theory... (1, Offtopic)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159811)

I've got a theory. 42.

Re:I have a theory... (2, Funny)

LarryRiedel (141315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159957)

It's getting eerie... What's this cheery singing all about?

Re:I have a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20158929)

"Largest-Known Planet Befuddles Scientists". Hah.

I've got a better theory: Electric Universe. It explains everything.

Re:I have a theory... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20158951)

Makes me think of something a physics professor of mine said.

"You can allways use God to explain everything, but that's not a useful answer unless you can always and invariably get what you want by asking God. If you are of the mindset to accept that answer, you need to then ask what natural tools did God use to achieve that outcome, because that is what you can use, and so far, things tend to have been done with natural tools."

My theory is God gave the planet a lot of moons, or heavy moons, puffing up the atmosphere by releasing some of the pull from the planet on its gasses, as well as making the gravity from that region appear more than that of the actual planet.

'course, I'm not an astrophysicist, so my thoery is 99% likely to be WRONG.

Re:I have a theory... (1)

thryllkill (52874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159051)

Well I thought it was funny, but no mods points, so wtf does it matter?.

Re:I have a theory... (1, Insightful)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159073)

I don't doubt that most of the zealots on one side or another will mod you down as flamebait. Unfortunately, they would be wrong, as your post is an excellent example of what is wrong with the whole ID vs. evolution debate.

ID is not science. It's an argument (against no-one) about who created the universe and/or something in it. The how of the matter is not considered. Scientists don't care, since they want to know how. And worst of all, the ID-ers misquote, misread, and malign the Bible in all of their stupid shenanigans. The Bible says the Earth is round. So does NASA. The Bible says that the Earth was created in 6 distinct phases. So do most geologists, biologists, and anyone else with half a clue about science. Only the idiot ID-ers say that the Earth was created in 144 hours, and they do so without any biblical backing. These people deserve the verbal beatdowns they get. They are stupid zealots.

Evolution is science. Perhaps faulty, but still science. Correct or not, it does conform to the scientific method. It's a study of how the universe came to be. Unfortunately, it hasn't been kept current, and it has attracted as much zealotry as any religion would. The word "theory" used to mean "an unproven idea, still in its 'best guess' phase", basically, what we now call a "hypothesis". Evolution was a theory. Now it's a hypothesis. But the evolution zealots won't give up the word "theory" to describe their chosen faith, even though the word "theory" now means something else. These people deserve the verbal beatdowns they get. They are stupid zealots.

I see a pattern here... Perhaps everyone should focus on gaining knowledge and focus less on drawing unprovable conclusions. Eventually, the mass of knowledge will draw its holders to a fully-formed, unmistakable conclusion. Real scientists know not to let stupid ideology get in the way of real progress.

Re:I have a theory... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159193)

Hey Matt, how about you STFU and GBTW?

Re:I have a theory... (5, Informative)

GNT (319794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159347)

Uh no.

Go back to school. The hierarchy in science, in order of increasing evidence, is speculation, conjecture, hypothesis, theory.

The word "theory" in common parlance is an unsubstantiated guess. In science, the word "theory" means hypothesis supported by a large body of evidence, where the truth value of the theory is considered very high. Evolution is a theory that has so much evidence in its favor that the IDers are essentially nutcases who can't read or reason properly. It is the IDers that try to equivocate the position by using the common parlance flavor of the word "theory" when discussing science.

Re:I have a theory... (4, Insightful)

utopianfiat (774016) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159767)

Unfortunately, it hasn't been kept current
Are you fucking serious? Sure, Darwin's original ideas have been tested and built upon, but the idea of competition driving genetic variance still holds pretty fucking strongly.
See, the thing about evolution is, by most scientific standards of today, a good majority of the principles Darwin outlined in The Origin of Species are actually provable. I'm guessing you think they aren't just because the fundies and IDers are yelling loud enough.

On the more flamebait side, when one of those nutjobs are lecturing in the main mall of your local university, try asking them what they think about crystal lattices- complex, beautiful geometrical structures which will form naturally, and ask if there was an intelligent designer forming the covalent bonds in your ice tray this morning.

Re:I have a theory... (1)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159993)

While your comment is pretty spot on, the science of earth in the Bible does describe something different than what we know it to be today. Flat Earth. [wikipedia.org]

Additionally, in the bible, the blue we see when we look up is water, kept out by a dome over the earth. (Genesis 1:7, Genesis 8:2)

I've yet to hear a Bible literalist (including Fundamentalists) explain this away.

The bible also contradicts itself in several places. In the first two chapters of the bible, there are two accounts of Creation. Most people only think of the first, the 6 days of creation. In the second, God makes man, then the animals, followed finally by the woman. Each creation account is supposed to tell us how we as humans relate to the world around us, and the second, also about how men and women relate to one another.

In the New Testament, three of the gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke (which are merely rewritten copies of one another), say that Simon of Cyrene carried the cross for Jesus. John explicitly denies this saying "Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha)."

There is no way to reconcile these differences and say that each and every word of the bible is literally and historically true. The only way these can be handled properly is to admit that the bible was never intended to be a history or science text, but instead is to be a book that is a spiritual and religious guide, but that Jews and Christians are supposed to only apply it to religious and moral truths about how Christians are supposed to live, not as a scientific book that really tells us what people believed thousands of years ago.

I say all of this as a believing Christian.

Re:I have a theory... (1)

LindaMack (1134133) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160013)

Actually, there is an irrefutable theory supporting the OP's view, Intelling Falling [theonion.com]

--
You will be assimilated

Re:I have a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159141)

I have a theory. Since we have no other explanation for now, it must be a miracle of God.

That's an unscientific approach, just making up some entity to fill in the gaps where you don't have an answer.

Astronomy is a science. Applying the scientific method, the answer is clearly that most of the planet is made of dark matter. Probably lukewarm dark matter.

Re:I have a theory... (1)

farlukar (225243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159495)

I have a theory. Since we have no other explanation for now, it must be a miracle of God.
That's an unscientific approach, just making up some entity to fill in the gaps where you don't have an answer.

Or maybe... some entity made up YOU!

Re:I have a theory... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159997)

Only in Fundamentalist Soviet Russia. What a country!

Re:I have a theory... (2, Funny)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159779)

Have you ever seen an electron?

Re:I have a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159973)

Nope, but I can measure it, and make predictions, and perform experiments to prove those predictions right or wrong.

Re:I have a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159447)

That is a good explanation, until you have to answer the question "who created God?" ... of course it must be the father/mother of God, then who created them? We are back to square one, sigh.

Re:I have a theory... (1)

clubhi (1086577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159469)

I think you fall on the other end of the stupid spectrum.

Re:I have a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159969)

Yeah? Well I think you fell off the stupid spectrum.

Re:I have a theory... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159595)

"May" "I" "quote" "you" "on" "that" "comment""?"

Re:I have a theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159803)

Too bad your diatribe is too big to sig. At least here anyway... O lawdy is that sum delicious copypasta

Re:I have a theory... (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160037)

I'm just feeling disgusted right now and needed to vent after being on the other end of a depressingly similar conversation.


Yep they are out there....

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=264201&cid=201 56765 [slashdot.org]

Re:I have a theory... (1)

QMO (836285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160109)

"Half of what we know about Physics is wrong. The problem is, we don't know which half." - Gary Skouson (AFAIK)

They found a (1, Funny)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158765)

Dyson Sphere and all the /.ers rejoiced!

Cheers!

Re:They found a (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158917)

no, it's a ringworld! Flee and hide, the Pak are coming back!

Re:They found a (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158995)

the Pak are coming back
They were always there west of India...

Cheers!

Tampa Tribune (4, Funny)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158769)

This was reported in the Tampa Tribune as a small page-6 blurb under the headline "New Largest Planet Sports Squishy Surface", a conclusion drawn from a quote by a scientist saying the planet has no firm surface. I almost cried.

Re:Tampa Tribune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159083)

Tampa....that's in [Florida], right?

You know what this means (1)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158777)

Screw the Space Odyssey diamond in jupiter, this "puffy" planet must be home to the universe's largest marshmallow!

Somebody grab a sun and discover the graham wafer belt already.

-Matt

Re:You know what this means (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158959)

it IS the universes largest marshmallow! and He's pissed at the Ghostbusters for torching his little kid.

Re:You know what this means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159621)

I think it means that Douglas Adams had it right - and there is a Magrathea [wikipedia.org]

I had a dream... (1, Funny)

cez (539085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159625)

I had a dream that I was devouring the largest planet ever observerd...and when I woke up, MY PILLOW WAS GONE!

Not so gravity constant (4, Interesting)

Meor (711208) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158781)

Prediction: The gravity 'constant' is not constant everywhere in the universe.

I'm guessing it's bigger than it should be because with a lower gravity constant it isn't as dense for its mass.

Re:Not so gravity constant (1)

shawnce (146129) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158957)

Marked as a troll? WTF folks.

Re:Not so gravity constant (4, Funny)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159129)

Isaac Newton has mod points again, I guess.

Re:Not so gravity constant (1)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159553)

Why the is the parent modded a Troll? Did I miss something?

Re:Not so gravity constant (1)

SpecTheIntro (951219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159825)

Why the is the parent modded a Troll? Did I miss something?

Besides my terrible grammar, I mean. I've really got to use that Preview feature more often.

Re:Not so gravity constant (1, Interesting)

Fire Dragon (146616) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160123)

The gravity 'constant' is not constant everywhere in the universe.

All constants are bad in physics. If all tests are made in here and they allways give you same constant to describe the event with other variables, it still doesn't rule out the possibility of certain calculation that has to be taken in consideration to make formula.

Given a very bad example, we could give a constant value to mass of water by measuring its weight in same enviroment(temperature) and decide that 1 liter of water allways weights 1kg. Making the measurents in next room in same centrally heated building would give same result, therefore it must be constant.

All our physical expiriements have been made next to sun, how can we be sure that it doesn't send some radiotion that effects the movements of atoms? Oh yeah, we tested it radiotion levels and everything, unfortunatelly those instruments have been calibrated next to the sun.

Just my 2 cents, debending if you want US or euros.

Just ask God. (-1, Flamebait)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158869)

He'll give you all the answers! I mean jeez, he made the damn thing, right?

Right?

Bueller?

Theoretically, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20158875)


This criminal [whitehouse.org] should be serving a sentence.

Theoretical problem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20158877)

As in our theory has a problem.

Isn't this just another in a long line of gas giants that are too young, and too close to the host stars for our theories of planetary formation?

Re:Theoretical problem (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159079)

Hmmm...that's actually a pretty decent idea. However, the star system is about the same age as our solar system, so the planet should be a similar age to ours. It should've had plenty of time to condense.

They determined the radius using the transit method, but they also mention the planet should be ejecting atmosphere due to its proximity to the sun. I wonder if they simply aren't accounting for the gas sufficiently.

Re:Theoretical problem (0, Troll)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160143)

As in our theory has a problem.

Isn't this just another in a long line of gas giants that are too young, and too close to the host stars for our theories of planetary formation?

It also happens to be one more observation that supports the Electric Universe Theory. This planet is most likely a red dwarf that is no longer luminous. It is either on the verge of gaining its luminosity or losing it, according to EU Theory. Scientists might observe it actually light up and turn into a star. It's only 1400 light years away, so this shouldn't be too hard to actually observe if somebody's paying attention when it happens.

It's really quite sad that people on this board do not take EU Theory more seriously. It offers a very simple explanation for all of these anomalous observations that are being made. There are no stellar or planetary anomalies left once you apply EU Theory. It absorbs all of them that we've seen so far.

If we continue to act in a pseudo-skeptical way where all against-the-mainstream theories have *more* to prove than the mainstream, despite the fact that the mainstream theories have never truly demonstrated any real predictive power, then we will have locked ourselves into a theory that does not actually work. All evidence supporting alternative theories can always be disputed on a case-by-case basis. But this is called "explaining away the data". A true, rational evaluation of which theory is a better fit does not occur until people have read what both have to say, and attempt to prove both. Only then, after we compare the two proofs, can we say with any objectivity that one is better than another.

In the case of the puffy planet, it is far easier to see how something like this can happen within the EU view. Gaseous planets puff out in an attempt to gather more electrical energy (when they're growing), or they lose their stellar luminosity and become categorized by us as a planet, as they lose their electrical focus.

But, instead, a rational discussion of these concepts is pushed aside, as if there is no value in having it. It's really quite sad to observe this happening week after week after week. I highly recommend that people here fully inform themselves of what EU Theory states by reading Don Scott's "The Electric Sky". My point here will subsequently become fully self-evident. It saddens me that I cannot witness the collective intelligence of people here on Slashdot evaluating this enigmatic data within the framework of EU Theory. That conversation would be far more interesting actually, not to mention beneficial -- by contrasting and comparing the two frameworks, the bar would be raised and the conversation would by default benefit.

Could a ring system make it look larger? (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158937)

That seems like the simplest explanation, but I'm not an astronomer.

Maybe a ring around the star? (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159093)

I think there's something to what you say, but I'd say consider the tidal effects from the star, not the planet. That is, suppose this "planet" is actually just a large bulge in a ring around the star, more or less a gas giant in the process of being torn to shreds by tidal effects from the parent star. It's very close to the star, and the star is expanding, I think.

YAY! (2, Funny)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158971)

> "TrES-4 appears to be something of a theoretical problem," said study team member Edward Dunham, also of the Lowell Observatory. "Problems are good, though, since we learn new things by solving them."

Dude! This guy should be an adviser to Congress. He can explain science to them.

(And I mean that!)

ohmygawd (1, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20158999)

"TrES-4 is way bigger than it's supposed to be,"

Like, and it's totally dating Pluto, ewwwww!

What's with the valley-girl talk? "Way bigger"?

Re:ohmygawd (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159903)

that's what she said

That's because it's really a.. (1)

LordByronStyrofoam (587954) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159005)

Dyson sphere around a now-extinct star. The clouds surrounding it were exhaust gasses that result from their ion-powered generators that scavenged the energy from the star when the star was young.

Re:That's because it's really a.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159799)

But they can still see the star. Wouldn't a Dyson sphere hide it?

By the way, that Tom Waits quote was originally a Dorothy Parker quote.

Too big! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159017)

It's way too big to be a planet and since small planets are called dwarf planets, please welcome the first discovered troll planet.

Someone call the Fantastic Four (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159117)

I think they've spotted Galactus.

If it's so damn big.... (1)

Farfnagel (898722) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159155)

...why did it take them so long to find it?

Amachoors!

Check their math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159173)

Is this one of those situations where we are going to find someone forgot to "carry the 1"?

Laws of physics different elsewhere? (-1, Redundant)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159189)

As in gravity is not as strong in other places in the universe?

Re:Laws of physics different elsewhere? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159297)

Extremely doubtful. This planet is literally in our backyard. Stars and galaxies can be observed that are much farther away and those do not "befuddle" scientists.

Re:Laws of physics different elsewhere? (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159395)

It's possible, but that's a very extreme direction to go in at this point. There are a number of far more likely possibilities to explain this (eg. the measurements are wrong, our understanding of planetary formation and structure are wrong), no need to go rewriting the laws of physics just yet.

Re:Laws of physics different elsewhere? (1)

Sarutobi (1135167) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159431)

It really could be anything. It could be that, but it would be really surprising. It could be that its surrounded by dark matter. It could be that we underestimate the mass of its star. It could be that it's made of an exotic isotope, such as deuterium. It could be that our model is just wrong. Who know.

We've been visited by this puffy planet's sailors (0)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159197)

Dr. Raymond Stantz: It can't be! Dr. Peter Venkman: What is it?! Dr. Raymond Stantz: It can't be! Dr. Peter Venkman: What did you do, Ray?! Winston Zeddemore: Oh, sh**! Dr. Raymond Stantz: It's the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

I got it (0, Troll)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159211)

Dark matter! Maybe dark energy! Even maybe we have to revise theories in astrophysics because we were wrong on something... sigh, why do scientists think they are right now when their forbears were wrong?

Speaking of Astrophysics, if we can look into the sky and only see x millions of years back based off of light years, how do we know that we are not seeing the opposite side of the big bang curve? Here we are -> ( *Bang* )

More dumb observations later.

Re:I got it (4, Informative)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159865)

Dark matter! Maybe dark energy! Even maybe we have to revise theories in astrophysics because we were wrong on something... sigh, why do scientists think they are right now when their forbears were wrong?

Because their theories better fit the data. When they find a place where their theories and those of their predecessors don't work (this planet may be such a case), they work on formulating more general theories based on what they already know. And when they do this, they don't start from scratch each time, but build instead on previous discovery.

That's what science does. It progresses. It works. Would you rather we abandon the scientific method and just make up random stuff without testing it against reality? Even dark matter and dark energy aren't arbitrary: they're provisional descriptions of stuff we're actually seeing happen.

I'm getting really sick of this "oh, we can't really ever know anything because no theory is perfect, so let's just give up on this science thing" attitude.

Re:I got it (3, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159929)

Why are you assuming that all these scientists think they've got it all figured out. Right there in the article summary one of the quoted scientists says that they like when things don't fit their theories, because they'll learn more by figuring it out.

You're not being insightful, you're faking it by creating an issue that doesn't exist. Astrophysicists know as well as anybody how little they've actually figured out. All the new observational and simulation techniques that have been developed recently have raised way more questions than they've answered. I doubt you'd find a real scientist anywhere out there who'd say that we've figured out how the universe works.

Re:I got it (4, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159953)

Dark matter! Maybe dark energy!
You're confusing yourself by equating dark matter and dark energy. Dark matter is one possible explanation for an observed deficiency in our understanding of gravitational effects of large scale objects. We don't know for sure that dark matter exists, but if it doesn't then there would have to be substantially odd forces at work. Dark matter is just an easy solution.

Dark energy is a mathematical placeholder name. There is an observed force which we can measure, but which we have no tested model to explain. We call this force dark energy.

When you say, "maybe dark energy," you demonstrate that you don't know what that phrase means. That's like saying, "maybe the solution to the problem is x!" X is just a variable name, not an answer to a question.

Even maybe we have to revise theories in astrophysics because we were wrong on something...
Which happens all the time as our ability to measure and test the universe around us expands. This is an expected consequence of having more information. Someday, we'll marvel at how little we knew "back then" (e.g. today). For now, we have some very good ideas of how the universe in our local vicinity works, but no one expects to not be surprised by something new.

sigh, why do scientists think they are right now when their forbears were wrong?
Why do you think that scientists are some alien species that don't understand basic logic? Of course astrophysics know that they have some things wrong today, but this is how we learn. We build solid ground upon which to base further ideas, and we constantly assail these ideas and their underpinnings in order to determine which parts are reliable enough to continue to bear the weight of many other theories.

Speaking of Astrophysics, if we can look into the sky and only see x millions of years back based off of light years,
That's kind of broken statement. Let's try again, shall we? We can measure distance (in ways that range from simple triangulation to measuring red-shift). We know that light travels a certain distance in a certain amount of time. We therefore know how long light from an object would have traveled in order to get to us.

Now that's not quite "seeing x millions of years back," but it's close enough that I understand (I think) where you're going.

how do we know that we are not seeing the opposite side of the big bang curve?
What is the "big bang curve?" Do you mean, "how do we know that we're not seeing light that started out at a time before the big bang?"

Well there are several easy reasons for that: 1) The big bang started as a singularity. You can't measure or view anything through a singularity. It's a cosmic wall through which no information can pass 2) If that were true, then the expansion of the universe would change as we looked out into deep space, and those distant objects would be moving toward us. This is not the case.

Of course, your question (at least, as I understand it) assumes that the big bang was "preceded" by a big crunch (the universe collapsing into a singularity). That may or may not be true, and we have no way to prove that it is or isn't, since we can't extract information about what happened before the singularity.

  Here we are -> ( *Bang* )

More dumb observations later.

Allow me to specify (5, Informative)

Brian Cohen (1027542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159455)

Ok, it isn't the mass that is surprising, it is the volume. Larger (in mass) exoplanets have been found, sometimes they fall in to the category of Brown Dwarfs. But TrES-4 is hardly massive. According to the article, the density is .2 g/mL and the volume is 1.7 times that of Jupiter. That gives a mass of 1.7*(1.43128*10^15 km^3) * .2 g/mL = 4.866352 * 10^26 kg. Jupiters mass is 1.8986*10^27 kg. That means TrES-4's mass is only about one quarter the mass of Jupiter ((4.866352 * 10^26 kg)/ (1.8986*10^27 kg)= 0.256312651)

No Fatties (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159467)

Perhaps we should no longer call it a planet like we don't Pluto any longer, since it doesn't fit the neat little rules.

Duck! (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159475)

If it floats on water, then it must weigh less than a duck, which means...

A WITCH! It's a witch!

Re:Duck! (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159651)

Saturn would also float if you put it in water.

Language is a funny thing (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159485)

TrES-4 is an apt name for the planet. If "TrES" is read as the French word "très," and the digit 4 as the English "four," the resulting phrase is close to the French "très fort" which translates to something like "very extreme(ly)."

Keep in mind that I have next to no knowledge of French and only recognize the phrase "très fort" because of Space Ghost..."Je parle français très fort, no?"

I know why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159513)

It's a big boobie.

I'm no astronomer but... (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159527)

I would think the light curve that they used to calculate the density of this planet could be explained by the planet capturing ejected stellar matter, and essentially have an enormous cloud in orbit around it. We see something similar with Saturn's rings (albeit not ejected stellar gasses). The planet has an orbit of 3.5 days so it must be incredibly close to the star...close enough to grab the ejected gasses maybe?

Re:I'm no astronomer but... (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159699)

Maybe they are seeing the spectral lines of other gases mixed in, such as methane or ammonia. You find those in gas giants but not in stars. If it was stellar matter it wouldn't have those spectral lines in it.

Empty Dasani and Aquafena bottle planet (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159585)

Now we know where all those bottles go. They've formed their own damn planet!

Its a Jupiter Brain (3, Informative)

bradbury (33372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159697)

No self-respecting advanced technological civilization would bury significant amounts of useful matter at the center of a planet. They would instead construct objects filled with fiber optic cables to carry large amounts of data between all of the computational nodes. The compute nodes have to be on the surface because they have to radiate away the heat they generate but the central part of the Jupiter Brain (aka Borg sphere) should have a density low enough that gravitational compression doesn't distort the one-to-many point-to-point transmission over the fibers.

The difference between a Jupiter Brain and a Matrioshka Brain is that the center of a Jupiter Brain is not running off of a gravitationally bound and driven fusion reactor (aka "star"). Most of the energy used by the Jupiter Brain comes from the external solar energy it absorbs (though in theory it could house a number of "small" fusion reactors fueled by hydrogen or helium siphoned from the nearby star).

Side note to the Dyson "Sphere" advocates -- classical "spheres" are impossible (you've been watching too much Star Trek) -- Dyson never used the word "sphere" and made a point of clarifying this in his response to the letters following his original paper. A better term to avoid confusion is a "Dyson shell".

New Star? (1)

Simon la Grue (1021753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159713)

Perhaps its a baby star. Stars dont have to just start from a gaseous cloud, I propose. No reason why a planet cant build up a significant amount of matter that its sucked off of its parent star to start the gravitational collapse that ignites its own fusion process. Just think outside the box a little bit guys.

Re:New Star? (1)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159951)

If the figures quoted are correct, there's no-where near enough mass.
A planet would need ~6x Jupiter's mass to start a fusion reaction.


Conversion Factor (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20159759)

Are we sure NASA is reporting in inches and not centimeters?

They'd Named the Planet (4, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159883)

Astronomers have given the planet an official name, "Puff Daddy".

Why can't it be (1)

razorh (853659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20159955)

made primarily of some material we are not familiar with? Some substance that has high volume and low mass? It seems to me that with the universe as large as it is, there's got to be all kinds of stuff out there we know nothing about.

Maybe this is a stupid question, astrophysics is not my strong point.

btw, how do they know what the mass of something that far away actually is?

wEiRd NamE .... (0, Offtopic)

zentronium (261068) | more than 6 years ago | (#20160147)

.... Y pOrQUe lO nOMbRaRON TreS-4?
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