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Space Science

Astronomers Find Planets Around Weird Binary Star 69

Posted by kdawson
from the eclipsing-actinic-pinprick dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "Exoplanets orbiting binary stars have been discovered before, but NN Serpentis is a weird system even in that category. One star is a red dwarf in an incredibly tight orbit around a white dwarf. The white dwarf used to be a star like the Sun but became a red giant as it died, engulfing the red dwarf. Now the two orbit each other almost as closely as the Moon orbits the Earth. Explaining how the two newly detected exoplanets survived such an event is very difficult, and astronomers think they may have actually formed from the material expelled by the star as it died."
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Astronomers Find Planets Around Weird Binary Star

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:54PM (#33989624)

    statements. Have the extraterrestial biologists ever considered the possibility that "life" forms may not be based on carbon but some weird alternative
    such as silicon, metal, EMF, etc.?

    Yours In Novosibirsk,
    K. Trout.

  • by veganboyjosh (896761) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:30PM (#33990062)
    I recently came across this video:

    http://www.wimp.com/antcolony/ [wimp.com]

    it's about 10 minutes long, and pretty fascinating. They poured 10 tons of concrete into an ant colony, let the concrete die, and then excavated around it. The resulting concrete form is pretty amazing. It's pretty spooky how efficient and awesome it is. I would imagine that if we saw something that looked like this little mini-city on another planet, that we'd assume that it was designed and built by some pretty intelligent lifeforms with some higher level of intellect. Why don't we think of ants this way? What kinds of alien life are all around us that we don't even know?
  • by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:54PM (#33990396)

    Completely disregarding how it's (presumably) not possible in this case, etc, it makes me wonder--if intelligent life developed with stars like that, what sort of mythologies would they have to explain their suns' eternal duel?

    I mean, hell, we romanticize dawn and dusk, and the moon, and fear the nighttime and eclipses, and we're paranoid about the tiny pinpricks of light that are the stars, thinking they hold great sway over us. They probably wouldn't know that if those two stars actually collided, their lives would all be over--or if they guessed, they wouldn't know why or how--but would they be given personas? What sort of stories would they make up? What would they think the two eclipses symbolized?

    I guess as a writer and daydreamer it's just a fascinating idea to toy with.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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