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Space Science

Aftermath of Distant Planetary Collision? 97

Posted by Zonk
from the two-plus-two-equals-weird dept.
gazurtoid writes "Astrobiology Magazine is reporting that astronomers have announced a mystery object orbiting the 8-million-year-old brown dwarf 2M1207 170 light-years from Earth might have formed from the collision and merger of two protoplanets. The object, known as 2M1207B, has puzzled astronomers since its discovery because it seems to fall outside the spectrum of physical possibility. Its combination of temperature, luminosity, and age do not match up with any theory. 'Hot, post-collision planets might be a whole new class of objects we will see with the Giant Magellan Telescope', said Eric Mamajek of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics."
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Aftermath of Distant Planetary Collision?

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  • Old Earth (Score:4, Informative)

    by usul294 (1163169) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:41PM (#22110630)
    Maybe these planets are similar to Earth after the collision that resulted in the Moon. If so it would be incredibly useful for learning about the formation of the Earth and the Moon. as well as our geologic history.
    • Re:Old Earth (Score:5, Informative)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:50PM (#22110704) Homepage Journal
      Sounds like what they're talking about here is a gas giant formed by the collision of two smaller gas giants, so it wouldn't shed much light on the history of Earth and the Moon directly.
    • Re:Old Earth (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2008 @04:27PM (#22111550)

      Earth after the collision that resulted in the Moon
      That hypothesis has been challenged.

      http://metaresearch.org/solar%20system/origins/original-solar-system.asp [metaresearch.org]

      IMO, solar fission is a better theory than dust accretion, where "better" is defined as:

      1. Provides genuine insight.
      2. Does not contradict existing data.
      3. Makes predictions that, if falsified, would disprove the hypothesis.

      Short version: in order for a collision to produce a moon in a stable orbit, the impacting body must fall into a very narrow range of mass, velocity, and impact angles. This could have happened for one or two moons, but there are simply too many in the solar system to have all formed in this way. Furthermore, there is little evidence of all the failed attempts that must have also occurred. It is far more likely for candidate collisions to simply do damage, scatter some mass perhaps, or even shatter the unlucky planet.

      Solar fission hypothesizes that planets are a necessary consequence of stellar evolution, and moons are a necessary consequence of planetary formation. As they age, heavier elements build up in their cores, causing a spinup - like a figure skater tucking their arms in. At first the parent body would swell at its equator, due to gravity being partially cancelled by centripetal force. Eventually the surface velocity exceeds escape velocity, and a chunk of matter is thrown. Stars and gas giants would throw chunks in pairs, one from each side, whereas rocky planets such as Earth and Venus would only create one moon at a time, since the planet would spin down before the second chunk can breach the crust.

      Poke fun all you want. The physics are valid.

      Cheers.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by larry bagina (561269)
        Nobody claims that moons forming via collision is a common occurrence.
      • Hey...
        On Earth here we use fission to produce fusion (Thermonclear weapons - ask your mom)...

        But your pungent post suggests that our planetary overloads (perhaps Soviet) use fusion to produce fission!

        Well, I for one... aw, forget it!
      • Hmm ... how about 'doesn't require any new physics' as a criterion?

        I don't recall seeing any papers, containing actual equations, numbers, and stuff on this 'solar fission hypothesis'; do you know of any AC?

        It's not that rotational instability may lead to 'fission'; it's that such instability is relatively well-understood, and that no one, AFAIK, has published a plausible model ... that "[d]oes not contradict existing data".

        File this in the round file, alongside TVF's other wild ideas.
        • Hmm ... how about 'doesn't require any new physics' as a criterion?

          What requires new physics? Any help in not wasting my time would be appreciated, but so far TVF's page looks like the work of a bona fide scientist, who knows that what he is describing is not mainstream, ie, requires a lengthy discussion of current Theory, and what I have read is at least plausible, so far. Again, if there's an Invisible Pink Unicorn or other deus ex machina waiting for me, after I read ??? pages of dry "background info," I'd appreciate any explanation you can offer about the invalidity o

          • It's been a while since I immersed myself in TVF's 'exploding planet hypothesis', but what I recall is that he has his own ideas about gravity.

            Nothing wrong with that of course, the more seriously testable hypotheses on what gravity is, the better!

            However, if he is (or was; that webpage hasn't been changed for quite a while) serious about this idea, he'd get more traction showing that it passes the same direct experimental and observational tests the General Theory of Relativity (GR) does*, rather than expl
            • I did notice that TVF's falsifiable prediction was conveniently -- we may not say "deliberately" so, but it is curious, isn't it? -- set far into the future, although understandably. He is correct, to the extent that twin-planet pairs would be much easier to identify by orbital wobble after a few centuries. But, would it really be impossible, for a solar system only ~100LY from here? I'll have to check my CRC Handbook for wavelengths & distances, but it seems to me his claims should be provable/falsifia
              • As I said, since I last looked in detail at his stuff ...

                The link in my comment is to the arXiv preprint of Will's latest compilation; it can be quite daunting to read through all xxx pages, and unless you've mastered the math behind GR the formalist framework will likely be nigh impossible to grasp.

                However, I find the ingenuity of some of the tests breathtaking, and the sheer doggedness of some of those experimenters ...

                On top of that, think of how odd many of the tests would have seemed to 19th (and earli
                • by gr8scot (1172435)
                  Falsifiable prediction: http://metaresearch.org/solar%20system/origins/original-solar-system.asp [metaresearch.org]

                  Conclusion

                  If we make allowance for special cases that have most probably been altered from their original condition since the solar system's beginning, as judged by lines of evidence existing before this analysis began, we may conclude that the undisturbed solar system members provide a spectacularly good match to the predictions of the tidal fission theory. That includes major planets and large, regular moons.

                  At one point I began to wonder about the inference in Table 1 that the Earth was much closer to the Sun in the early solar system than it is now. Would Earth at that distance have been too hot to have oceans? Then I opened the May 23rd (1997) issue of Science magazine and found an article on "the early faint Sun paradox," trying to figure out what kept the Earth from freezing four billion years ago, when the Sun had 25%-30% less luminosity than it does today (Sagan and Chyba, 1997).[190] A good theory should always provide pleasant surprises, not new mysteries; and this one had just produced a very pleasant one--a solution to the early faint Sun paradox.

                  But to be a scientific theory, a model must be falsifiable; and to be useful it must make successful predictions. So we conclude with an important prediction, the failure of which will falsify the hypothesis. The astronomy news has been filled over the past two years with announcements of discoveries of planets orbiting other stars. The fission theory predicts that such planets will tend to occur in twin pairs, with some exceptions, as we have seen in our solar system. However, extra-solar planets cannot be viewed directly, even with the Hubble Space Telescope. Their existence must be inferred by indirect means, such as looking for a periodic wobble in the position of a visible parent star.

                  If extra-solar planets do occur as twins, that will not be immediately evident in the earliest observations because it is difficult to separate out periods for bodies of similar mass that are either close to the same value or are in resonance with one another. The first data will reveal just a single member of each pair. Observations over a longer time span will make it appear that the orbit is highly eccentric, when in reality the wobble of the star reflects the beating of two near-resonance periods. But with a still longer time span of data, the dual nature of the planets will be revealed. We predict that many of the discoveries of extra-solar planets recently announced will follow that course as the span of observations lengthens in the coming years.

                  But that was posted by AC, and I owe apology to AC and/or pln2bz for incorrectly conflating their unfamiliar [to me] ideas with one anothers' [gr?].

                  Shite, I h8 the Internet when I question my gr/sp!

      • The Titius-Bode equations referenced before the Introduction imply a systematic "planet source" acting according to a similarly straightforward arithmetical relationship. Orderly emission from the sun of planet-moon pairs is, at least qualitatively, more consistent with Titius' observations than disorderly planetary collisions as the source of moons.

        The Titius-Bode Law or Rule is the observation that orbits of planets in the solar system follow a simple arithmetic rule quite closely. It was discovered in 1766 by Johann Daniel Titius and "published" (without attribution) in 1772 by Johann Elert Bode, thus the name.

        More fundamentally, the Big Bang Theory states [or does it just imply it very, very strongly? If I'm wrong & you have a PhD in physics, correct me on that

      • Each pair is notably dissimilar to its adjoining pair or pairs. Now there is no particular reason under the "primeval solar nebula" hypothesis of planetary formation why this should be so. The nebula from which the planets allegedly condensed should have been rather homogeneous in most respects, and planet masses should have had a smooth radial gradient with solar distance. On the other hand, Chapter 19 argued that origin of planets by fission from the Sun should be reconsidered because it elegantly solves several problems the standard model does not. For example, if planets fission from the Sun due to overspin while the Sun is still accreting, this more easily explains how 98% of the solar system's angular momentum ended up in the planets. That fact has always been considered significant for understanding solar system formation since all the planets combined have less than 0.002 of the mass of the Sun. The fission hypothesis would also solve the mystery of the dominance of prograde rotation for these original planets, since they would have shared in the Sun's prograde rotation at the outset. J.J. Lissauer[185] summarizes the latest results on this puzzle for the standard model: "Almost all the previous calculations were wrong ... If you accrete planets from a uniform disk of planetesimals, the observed prograde rotation just can't be explained."

        Under either the "primeval solar nebula" hypothesis of planetary formation or the fission hypothesis, I would not expect retrograde rotation. Also, I see no essential reason to expect anything to have angular momentum, so I don't see a need for an explanation of "how 98% of the solar system's angular momentum ended up in the planets," only of how some angular momentum ended up in each. If they all got there by a conceptually similar process, good, that's convenient to calculate, but Occam's Razor is only t

  • by MacarooMac (1222684) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:48PM (#22110688)
    Sounds like Borg Cube to me.

    Perhaps they'll get me the hell outa here. I start dual booting Vista and linux to hedge my compatibility bets.
  • by eyenot (102141)
    I hope astronomy never goes the way of Egyptology and Archaeology in failing to address or acknowledge the existence of any anomaly. Or has it already?
  • by PornMaster (749461) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:53PM (#22110726) Homepage
    Is Astrobiology Magazine slumming with the astrophysicists while waiting for someone to find life outside of Earth's biosphere?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Scrameustache (459504)

      Is Astrobiology Magazine slumming with the astrophysicists while waiting for someone to find life outside of Earth's biosphere?
      Nah... in fact, I think it was founded in Roswell some time ago by a very pale midget.
      • Hmmm, 2 "overrated" mods in a row, for posts that were not otherwise rated. Sounds like someone has modpoints and a grudge!
        • by armareum (925270)
          Or they thought your joke wasn't funny..
          • Or they thought your joke wasn't funny..

            They need to read the faq then. But you see, "overrated" doesn't get metamoderated, so I get sporadic bursts of un-metamoderable downmods lasting no more than 3 days and never exceeding 5 in a row.
            Considering that there are losers pathetic enough to stalk me here for years with their unrequited homosexual advances, it is not surprising that one or some of them would extend their petty obsession beyond the comment system and onto the moderation system.

            • by gr8scot (1172435)
              You think people are stalking you?

              They need to read the faq then. But you see, "overrated" doesn't get metamoderated, so I get sporadic bursts of un-metamoderable downmods lasting no more than 3 days and never exceeding 5 in a row. Considering that there are losers pathetic enough to stalk me here for years with their unrequited homosexual advances, it is not surprising that one or some of them would extend their petty obsession beyond the comment system and onto the moderation system.

              LOL, what a way with words! I'd say it's plausible that you've ticked somebody off so much that they're harassing you! It's such a nuisance.

              Anyway, about the moderation system, considering that self-selection based on interest in Slashdot topics is really the only membership criterion, I'm surprised the moderation system works as well as it does. I've seen very few scenarios where the "honor system" has even a ghost of a chance, and the designers of this site have done r

              • You think people are stalking you?

                One guy is, he actually bragged about having been at it for one whole year when he'd been at it for about a year. Check out the comments in my journal, he posted shit in most of them and his username is a dead giveaway. But the end result of his obsessive actions are that his stalker account went from posting at 2 when he started it to posting at one (below my threshold, which means that I don't see his posts, making his stalking hilariously pointless), and my karma remained excellent. He bragged about usi

    • by gardyloo (512791)
      Hey, if it's Hot, Planet-on-Planet Action, who are you to complain?
    • by Adambomb (118938)
      Which raises the question, If you are growing bean sprouts on the ISS (FOR SCIENCE!!!) are you a biologist or an astrobiologist?
  • That playing pool with planets [wikipedia.org] is a perfectly good way to plug up a white hole.
  • ...170 years ago we sent out an accidental radio signal - 30 years before we discovered what radio was. Unfortunately those aliens had their own version of SETI (called TTFA - Trying To Find Aliens), which picked up the signal. Due to their recent invention of the internet and the subsequent panic over "proof" of alien life they panicked and sadly ended wiping themselves out in a nuclear war. The planet itself survives as a nuclear wasteground, still too hot to support life, but now noticeable by the very p
    • by mjwx (966435)

      ...170 years ago we sent out an accidental radio signal - 30 years before we discovered what radio was. Unfortunately those aliens had their own version of SETI (called TTFA - Trying To Find Aliens), which picked up the signal. Due to their recent invention of the internet and the subsequent panic over "proof" of alien life they panicked and sadly ended wiping themselves out in a nuclear war. The planet itself survives as a nuclear wasteground, still too hot to support life, but now noticeable by the very p

  • Turn your cosmology filter off for a few moments people. Temporarily drop all of the assumptions about what you're seeing here, and consider carefully what you are seeing in the article's image. Look at the star, and notice the structure of the infrared filaments -- the star's corona -- coming off of it.

    It is a legitimate question to ask:

    Doesn't this star look like a ball of lightning?

    People may not be aware of the significance of this, but within the Plasma Universe perspective, planetary birthing is the
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)

      Doesn't this star look like a ball of lightning?

      Impossible to tell. Due to the image's low resolution I can't tell whether it's an a regular solar corona, a star sitting in a wispy gas cloud, a star sitting in a debris field, a star sitting behind a cloud/debris field, extremely large protuberances, giant lightning bolts... Heck, it could be a giant glowing amoeba.

      That image looks like it was about 30x30 pixels before scaling. With that kind of resolution being able to tell that it's a star is about as fa

      • by pln2bz (449850) *

        Impossible to tell. Due to the image's low resolution I can't tell whether it's an a regular solar corona, a star sitting in a wispy gas cloud, a star sitting in a debris field, a star sitting behind a cloud/debris field, extremely large protuberances, giant lightning bolts... Heck, it could be a giant glowing amoeba.

        That image looks like it was about 30x30 pixels before scaling. With that kind of resolution being able to tell that it's a star is about as far as we get.

        It is a little bit hard to tell what i

        • by gr8scot (1172435)
          I was about to ask for more info about this "Plasma Universe" model, but then, luckily, I scrolled down before I opened a Reply windows and erased all doubt.
          "Great thinkers have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
        • by Jesus_666 (702802)

          And I'd go one step further and even make the prediction that we will one day likely image in exquisite, undeniable detail a sequence of shots demonstrating that hot planets like this are in fact expelled from highly electrical stars like this one superficially appears to be.

          I think that it's best to wait until then, then. Or at least until we have data that gives us a bit more insight. I'm not an astrophysicist and my armchair speculations on how the universe works are going to be wildly inaccurate at best

          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by pln2bz (449850) *

            Basing them on a very low-res image of something that looks like a cheap particle effect in a 3D game (at least at this resolution it does) is unlikely to provide any new insight.

            Were the information as sparse as you suggest here, I would wholeheartedly agree with you. But what's happening is that there is an entirely new cosmology being constructed right before our eyes, and it works *very* well -- in fact, far better than the conventional theories are working. You wouldn't know it if you weren't paying

            • (my emphasis)

              What's happening is that every time that I try to educate people on Slashdot about what the Electric Universe states, people inevitably ridicule me.

              Hmm ... maybe if you paid more attention to what at least some of those who respond to your comments actually write you might get a more sympathetic hearing?

              For example, among the replies to your >400 comments are some which are very thoughtful, respectful, and detailed. The authors seem to have taken a great deal of trouble to understand what you wrote, and replied accordingly.

              Then there's the apparent disconnect between what you have written (and what folk can read for themselves, by fol

            • The Plasma Universe theory, perspective or point of view -- whatever you want to call it -- is real, very alive, relatively rich in detail and history, and supported by multiple unrelated disciplines. It is a true synthesis of all of the natural sciences, but what it concludes is that plasmas in space are being mathematically modeled incorrectly. And this is where people tend to turn off. In plasma-based cosmologies, plasmas are electrodynamic entities that, like in the lab, respond with electrical resistance and luminosity to changes in their charge density. In conventional cosmologies, astrophysicists *assume* that plasmas are "perfect conductors", they *assume* that space is "quasi-neutral" -- that a given volume of space essentially has equal numbers of positive and negative charges -- and they *assume* that magnetic fields are "frozen-in place" within a plasma (as opposed to being affected by the mechanics and electrodynamics of the plasma itself). Very importantly, this would all be true were it not for the natural behavior of plasmas within the laboratory. Within the laboratory, we see clear indications that all three of these assumptions are invalid. In the laboratory, plasmas will naturally form filaments. These filaments have long-range attraction and short-range repulsion, which means that they twist around one another, and yet never fully combine. These braided ropes are observed all over the place in space, and astrophysicists have a rich lexicon to pull from for describing them: magnetic ropes, flux tubes, or even elephant trunks. But one thing they greatly resist calling it is an "electric current", for if electric currents can exist in space on large scales, then they would certainly do things of importance. They would cause forces. This is a big problem for conventional theories because they have been assuming that space is not electrically connected as much as possible for centuries now. It's like an addiction that they just can't shake. The box keeps getting bigger for their closed electrical systems over time, but only at a snail's pace. The idea that the entire universe might be electrically connected is something that they refuse to consider even when presented with evidence that it is so.

              Maybe that's why so many people on /. are tired of the PU theory - it's unlikely that we'll get anything more definitive than "maybe it's true, maybe it isn't".

              Plasma-based theories are far more inherently testable than the current theories. In the conventional thinking, we don't even get rock-solid definitions for gravity and mass. And we're constantly barraged with pseudo-scientific ideas like multiple dimensions and string theory. What you have to realize is that the Plasma Universe is almost entirely based upon laboratory experience, whereas the conventional theories are largely the result of equations tinkering. The concept of "magnetic reconnection", for instance, which presumably demonstrates a mechanism for explaining the fact that the Sun's corona is 100x hotter than its surface (!), has never been validated within a laboratory despite being discussed for decades now. And importantly, there is no reason for why we cannot validate magnetic reconnection within the lab.

              There you go again, oodles of words that (sometimes) correspond well to what's in the collective body of scientific studies of the IPM (inter-planetary medium), magnetospheres of planets, stars, the ISM (inter-stellar medium), galaxies, AGN (active galactic nuclei), and so on, but (mostly) are distortions, mis-understandings, mis-characterisations, and (let's be honest here) outright falsehoods.

              Why not engage in a 'on the merits' discussion, in an internet discussion forum where LaTeX is implemented? Wher

              • Nereid, you seem to think that I *really* care about responding to your interruptions. But you present nothing for my mind to chew on. You are little more than a pest to me, and I've unfortunately stopped actually caring what you write. If I respond to you, consider it your lucky day, and don't expect twice in one day (unless you finally decide to send something that contradicts the ideas I speak of). I will only respond to your "meat" -- never the wasted typing that you fill screens with. Your comment
                • you present nothing for my mind to chew on

                  How about my question, about where one can go to get more information about Electric Universe/Plasma Universe ideas?

                  Here it is again: Why not tell us all the URL of [...] a forum which presents these 'Electric Universe' ideas, in the form of hypotheses models numbers equations data etc ... and permits an open discussion of how good the match between theory and observation actually is?

                  Within the Plasma Universe, we only believe things that are supported by observation; and if it has not been done in a lab, we will always remain somewhat dubious

                  Then surely you would be only too pleased to answer my questions!

                  Here they are again: [T]ell us all the name of the lab(s)

                  • Hint: it was not Birkeland, Alfvén, Peratt, or Tesla. He is much more well-known in the United States for "inventing" the light bulb. OMG, heat it, and it glows. For this, Edison is bestowed the title "genius" alongside Tesla & Einstein? Pfft, not in my book!
            • It is a true synthesis of all of the natural sciences, but what it concludes is that plasmas in space are being mathematically modeled incorrectly. And this is where people tend to turn off. In plasma-based cosmologies, plasmas are electrodynamic entities that, like in the lab, respond with electrical resistance and luminosity to changes in their charge density. In conventional cosmologies, astrophysicists *assume* that plasmas are "perfect conductors", they *assume* that space is "quasi-neutral" -- that a given volume of space essentially has equal numbers of positive and negative charges -- and they *assume* that magnetic fields are "frozen-in place" within a plasma (as opposed to being affected by the mechanics and electrodynamics of the plasma itself).

              The concept of "magnetic reconnection", for instance [...] has never been validated within a laboratory despite being discussed for decades now. And importantly, there is no reason for why we cannot validate magnetic reconnection within the lab.

              If asked to guess, I'd say you wrote this without critically thinking about it, and certainly without investigating the work of the scientists who study the Earth's magnetosphere and the IPM (inter-planetary medium).

              Last month, the AGU (American Geophysical Union) held its Fall 2007 meeting in San Francisco. I think I recall reading that some 15,000 people attended.

              Just from the titles of the sections (http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm07/?content=program&show=glance [agu.org]), I'd guess that this would have bee

            • It took me a while to find this, but pln2bz referenced an older SD comment, by leokor ( http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=388752&cid=21836590 [slashdot.org]), which contains some material pertinent to this comment (of pln2bz's); I added the emphasis:

              (4) Normally, I wouldn't have to say it, since experiment is a necessary part of scientific method--remove experiment, and you've got no science (and I mean it). But seeing the prevalence of purely theoretical approach in the mainstream astrophysics, I want to emphasize that Plasma Universe places a heavy emphasis on experiment. No matter who's the author of a theory--even Alfven himself--even a couple of contrary experiments may be grounds for reconsidering the theory's hypotheses. Plasma Universe does not construct no epicycles. No does it care how beautiful a theory is. As someone once said, the greatest tragedy of science is the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact.

              So, in light of the dozens (hundreds?) of papers reporting 'magnetic reconnection' found in lab experiments, may we thus conclude that Alfvén's 'beautiful theory' has been 'slain'?

              Based on what you have written, here in SD, pln2bz, I imagine that you (and Thornhill,

              • by pln2bz (449850) *

                So, in light of the dozens (hundreds?) of papers reporting 'magnetic reconnection' found in lab experiments, may we thus conclude that Alfvén's 'beautiful theory' has been 'slain'?

                Actually, Michael Mozina has been performing an in-depth review of magnetic reconnection for the past couple of months, and he holds to his belief that there continues to be no laboratory demonstration of magnetic reconnection within any of these studies. He lays out his arguments and thinking in this regard in great detail

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by APODNereid (1203758)

                  Actually, Michael Mozina has been performing an in-depth review of magnetic reconnection

                  Is this, perchance, the same Michael Mozina who posted to this Einstein@Home thread (in the Science Message Board)?
                  [How the Sun shines: http://einstein.phys.uwm.edu/forum_thread.php?id=6058 [uwm.edu]]

                  The guy who is co-author of a paper which claims the Sun was formed when a super-massive neutron star fragmented into smaller pieces, and one such fragment became a ~0.1 sol neutron star core of the Sun*?

                  The same one who has been particularly vehement, in many internet discussion fora, that a) the concept of 'neutron st

                • pln2bz, I went looking for this "in-depth review of magnetic reconnection for the past couple of months" at the site you named, but the only thing I could find that vaguely resembled this was a thread started by MM on 21 December, 2007 (barely a month ago, not two), and that concentrates on this arXiv preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/0712.3452 [arxiv.org]*.

                  Not once, anywhere in that thread, are any papers on the study of magnetic reconnection in lab plasmas (i.e. lab experiments) mentioned.

                  In fact, the thread resembles a
                  • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

                    by pln2bz (449850) *
                    Nereid --

                    You don't deserve to be alerted to it, but you should check the January 2008 issue of Astronomy Magazine. Although I don't have a copy, there is apparently an article in there that asks the question if Jupiter is powered by a Z-Pinch. Perhaps you should write *them* a letter demanding the equations!

                    How many people must be talking about it before you decide to actually investigate it and contemplate it for yourself, Nereid?
                    • check the January 2008 issue of Astronomy Magazine. Although I don't have a copy, there is apparently an article in there that asks the question if Jupiter is powered by a Z-Pinch

                      Is it an article entitled "The biggest planet's 5 deepest mysteries", written by Michael Carroll?

                      In any case, Astronomy Magazine is hardly a relevant peer-reviewed journal is it! I mean, they almost never have any equations, do they?

                      Do you know which (published) paper(s) present a case for this?

                      How many people must be talking about it before you decide to actually investigate it and contemplate it for yourself, Nereid?

                      I'm not sure why you keep thinking this is in any way relevant.

                      I mean, tens or hundreds of millions of people (or more) talk about astrology, and have been doing so for a long time.

                      Back to the same question I've a

                    • In light of your interest in filaments, you may find this preprint interesting "Structure of the interstellar medium around Cas A" ( http://arxiv.org/abs/0801.3267 [arxiv.org]).

                      Here is the abstract:

                      We present a three-year series of observations at 24 microns with the Spitzer Space Telescope of the interstellar material in a 200 x 200 arcmin square area centered on Cassiopeia A. Interstellar dust heated by the outward light pulse from the supernova explosion emits in the form of compact, moving features. Their sequential outward movements allow us to study the complicated three-dimensional structure of the interstellar medium (ISM) behind and near Cassiopeia A. The ISM consists of sheets and filaments, with many structures on a scale of a parsec or less. The spatial power spectrum of the ISM appears to be similar to that of fractals with a spectral index of 3.5. The filling factor for the small structures above the spatial wavenumber k ~ 0.5 cycles/pc is only ~ 0.4%.

                      In light of your less than electrifying (shall we say) track record re the NACO/VLT observations of 2M1207 (A and b), you may wish to consider taking the trouble to understand the observations ("evidence") reported in this preprint, including the long chains of theory-based logic, before you write something you may later reg

                    • there is apparently an article in there that asks the question if Jupiter is powered by a Z-Pinch

                      I think the background to the meat in this article may be found partly on Tristan Guillot's Home Page: http://www.oca.eu/guillot/ [www.oca.eu].

                      Click on the "Preprints & online articles" link, and explore! You may find the morning, afternoon, or more, that you spend reading both educational and rewarding.

                      My speculative guess is that the connection between Z-Pinches and Jupiter is that an Earthly lab with a powerful Z-Pinch has been used to explore regions of materials/matter parameter space, otherwise inaccessible,

                    • Cosmic rays and the magnetic field of the nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253 http://arxiv.org/abs/0801.3542 [arxiv.org], abstract (my emphasis):

                      Using radio polarimetry we study the connection between the transport of cosmic rays (CR's), the three-dimensional magnetic field structure, and features of other ISM phases in the halo of NGC 253. We present a new sensitive radio continuum map of NGC 253 obtained from combined VLA and Effelsberg observations at lambda 6.2 cm. We find a prominent radio halo with a scaleheight of the thick radio disk of 1.7 kpc. The linear dependence between the local scaleheight of the vertical continuum emission and the cosmic ray electron (CRE) lifetime requires a vertical CR bulk speed of 270 km s^-1. The magnetic field structure of NGC 253 resembles an ``X''-shaped configuration where the orientation of the large-scale magnetic field is plane-parallel only in the inner regions of the disk and at small distances from the galactic midplane. At larger galactocentric radii and further away from the midplane the vertical component becomes important. This is most clearly visible at the location of the ``radio spur'' southeast of the nucleus, where the magnetic field orientation is almost vertical. We made a simple model for the dominant toroidal (r,phi) magnetic field component using a spiral magnetic field with prescribed inclination and pitch angle. The residual poloidal (r,phi,z) magnetic field component which was revealed by subtracting the model from the observations shows a distinct ``X''-shaped magnetic field orientation centered on the nucleus. The orientation angle of the poloidal magnetic field is consistent with a magnetic field transport described by the superposition of the vertical CR bulk speed and the rotation velocity. Hence, we propose a disk wind which transports cosmic rays, magnetic field, and (partially) ionized gas from the disk into the halo.

                      First optical detection from the supernova remnant G 15.1-1.6 http://arxiv.org/abs/0801.3591 [arxiv.org], abstract (my emphasis):

                      Deep optical CCD images of the supernova remnant G 15.1-1.6 were obtained and filamentary and diffuse emission has been discovered. The images, taken in the emission lines of Halpha+[N II], [S II] and [O III], reveal filamentary and diffuse structures all around the remnant. The radio emission at 4850 MHz in the same area is found to be well correlated with the brightest optical filaments. The IRAS 60 micron emission may also be correlated with the optical emission but to a lesser extent. The flux calibrated images suggest that the optical emission originates from shock-heated gas ([S II]/Halpha > 0.4), while there is a possible HII region ([S II]/Halpha ~0.3) contaminating the supernova remnant's emission to the east. Furthermore, deep long-slit spectra were taken at two bright filaments and also show that the emission originates from shock heated gas. An [O III] filamentary structure has also been detected further to the west but it lies outside the remnant's boundaries and possibly is not associated to it. The [O III] flux suggests shock velocities into the interstellar "clouds" ~100 km/s, while the [S II] 6716/6731 ratio indicates electron densities up to ~250 cm^{-3}. Finally, the Halpha emission has been measured to be between 2 to 7 x 10^{-16} erg/s/cm^2/arcsec^2, while the lower limit to the distance is estimated at 2.2 kpc.

                      Not bad, eh? Three preprints with EU hot-button words in their abstracts, posted in a period of only three days!

                      Of course, the extent to which any subset of these provides support for any EU ideas is surely impossible to determine ... if only because no "Electric

            • In fact, I think they need my opposition, to set them straighter, if you get my meaning. They don't easily re-conform to new facts, but eventually, they do, just as conformist as ever. I don't always see the humor in it, either, but when I do, I try to share the humor. You look like you could use a helping.

              Anyway, regardless of what I decide about EU generally or the fission theory of planet formation specifically, it's a pleasure to see somebody posting material like that from Olson. There is certainly f
        • 1) 'the Plasma Universe' is NOT 'supported by IEEE! At least, not in the sense that you imply. In fact, I hear that this claim has caused some IEEE members to get quite upset, and they are now taking steps to stop this kind of nonsense.

          Here's the lowdown on the part of the IEEE that DOES cover plasma physics (my emphasis): "NPSS [Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society] IS...
          - The IEEE Technical Society that covers the fields of Fusion Technology, Nuclear Medical and Imaging Sciences, Particle Accelerator Sci
          • by pln2bz (449850) *

            1) 'the Plasma Universe' is NOT 'supported by IEEE! At least, not in the sense that you imply. In fact, I hear that this claim has caused some IEEE members to get quite upset, and they are now taking steps to stop this kind of nonsense.

            Nereid, you're trying to convince people that IEEE acts as a single individual. That's absurd. Consensus is great for things like religion, but less so for things like science. We do a disservice to science when we act as though people can be voted off of the island like i

            • I rather doubt a poll of people on their familiarity with QED (this wikipedia page will do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_electrodynamics [wikipedia.org]) would tell you much about how good a job it does, as a theory, in accounting for the relevant experimental results.

              Science - thank goodness - is not some version of American Idol.

              Plasma physics is pretty darn quantitative, and it has been applied (quantitatively) to astronomical observations, in order to develop hypotheses and models, to explain (in terms of mecha
              • by pln2bz (449850) *

                mean, we could have a discussion on his papers, in terms of how well he has applied plasma physics and tested hypotheses against the actual astronomical observations .... quantitatively!

                What's amazing is that you have the cahones to argue anything about quantification. Your favored theories can only identify 4-5% of the universe. What good is a calculation with that sort of an error rate? Typically, people who only understand 4-5% of something are not so arrogant about their supposed knowledge. Most pe

                • I ask if you'd be interested in having a discussion on the plasma physics in Peratt's (galaxy) papers, and the extent to which it matches the relevant (astronomical) observations, a discussion that would, of necessity, by quantitative (with equations, numbers, and so on), and you reply with a tirade about "[my] favored theories can only identify 4-5% of the universe"!

                  Would you be so kind as to tell all readers just what APODNereid's "favored theories" are? Be sure to use only APODNereid's comments in Slash
                  • by pln2bz (449850) *
                    Nereid, I will never commit to a formal discussion with you. That would be like throwing away days of my life, and I have nothing to prove to you whatsoever. You represent a dying paradigm and you don't realize it because you refuse to consider evidence unless it meets your own strict requirements. You will surely deny the possibility of things like anti-gravitation until somebody demonstrates it directly to you, and only then will you realize that your core philosophy of science is in fact nothing more
                    • you refuse to consider evidence unless it meets your own strict requirements

                      I do?

                      I mean, these 'strict requirements' are my own, personal, ones?

                      Hmm ... could you do me a favour please? Would you mind pointing out the comments, by me, here in Slashdot, which describe these? I mean, as personal requirements, not those of the tens of thousands who have written astronomy, astrophysics, space/plasma physics, and cosmology papers.

                      Concerning evidence.

                      Would you be kind enough to give some examples of such evidence, concerning observable phenomena beyond the Earth's atmosphere?

                      I am inter

          • I mean, proponents of 'the Electric Universe' claim, falsely, that astrophysicists regard gravity as the only force worth studying, and counter-claim that 'electricity'* is really the only one (odd though that while 99.{insert more 9's here, to your taste}% of the universe is plasma, 100% is mass-energy, so gravity wins).

            First, I wouldn't put any stock at all in any theory that says that just one of the four forces "wins." I'm also not familiar with this particular "EU Theory" or with nearly as much of the work of astronomers/astrophysicists as I'd like, and I certainly don't plan to inject myself into what is obviously a passionate disagreement. I wouldn't mind if my questions about the science distract you from this feud, but that isn't my goal. Anyway, please don't get the impression I'm arguing [generally] for this "Pl

            • My comment, the second part anyway, was intended as a bit of a joke - if you ever get the pleasure of reading some 'Electric Universe' material, you'll see what I mean about 'the universe is 99.999% plasma, therefore electricity rules!'

              You'll also quickly discover the amount of venom, vitriol, and so on proponents of these ideas hurl at what they call 'mainstream astrophysicists'.

              I'd be happy to suggest resources on theories of planetary formation, be they webpages, books, papers, blogs, or discussion fora
              • Thanks, and I'm now asking; please "suggest resources on theories of planetary formation, be they webpages, books, papers, blogs, or discussion fora ... :-)"

                I have 3 years down on a BS in physics, which I had to abandon for financial reasons, and I'm pleasantly surprised to find my own curiosity about phenomena parsecs away as strong as ever, or more so. I'd still like to see more voters having a realistic cost/benefit-rooted appraisal of nuclear energy's value to themselves, but I'm too grown-up to beli
                • Icarus, "International Journal of Solar System Studies"; unfortunately it's a subscription publication (though with some ingenuity you can find at least the abstracts of many Icarus papers through ADS; papers with preprints on arXiv are, of course, free) http://icarus.cornell.edu/ [cornell.edu]. This is the best, deepest, etc resource (IMHO).

                  ADS Abstract service, for finding papers relevant to planetary formation (click on Physics and Geophysics Search http://adsabs.harvard.edu/ads_abstracts.html [harvard.edu])

                  General, diffuse websit
                  • by gr8scot (1172435)
                    Bookmarked for future reference, thanks!
                    • Unlike astronomy, where there are just a few journals that cover most of the field, it seems that papers on the general topic of planetary system, and planets/moons/etc, formation are found in many.

                      In addition to Icarus, there is MNRAS (Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society), ApJ (Astrophysics Journal), JGRE/JGRA (Journal of Geophysical Research), P&SS (Planetary and Space Science), GeoRL (Geophysical Research Letters), E&PSL (Earth and Planetary Science Letters), ... as well as the big
                  • As if it isn't already obvious, I won't have anything else to say about planetary formation or Plasma Model/Electric Universe/??? vs. Standard Model/??? until, at least, the next thread.
                    • As if it isn't already obvious, I won't have anything else to say about planetary formation or Plasma Model/Electric Universe/??? vs. Standard Model/??? until, at least, the next thread.
                      Enjoy your reading and research!
    • The 'significance' of the apparent similarity is far more mundane.

      What you 'see' in the image is a representation of data from an instrument attached to a telescope in Chile.

      That data itself is the result of a great deal of number crunching, based on long chains of logic, based on theories of physics.

      The "the structure of the infrared filaments -- the star's corona -- coming off of it" is nothing of the sort!

      If you are REALLY interested in those 'infrared filaments', I would be happy to recommend a few pape
  • Imagine all of the things we have seen and learned about in our lifetimes? The whole prospect of finding other objects out there in the universe still amazes me, even though my cereal doesn't come with Haley's Comet matchbox cars and Nasa patches aren't cool anymore. Damn you trendy space-lovers! Damned you all!
  • All I ever hear from you is stuff about
    "White holes", "Black Holes", etc etc.

    Now, north of the border, a good Canadian Asstrophysical lad would simply say
    "Up Uranus!"
    and be done with it!


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