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NASA Science

Kepler Finds Bizarre Systems 120

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the spinning-round-and-round dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "The Kepler Space Telescope has run across some truly bizarre solar systems. Among the candidates: a system with full-on planets orbiting in a Trojan configuration, one with planets that all orbit their planets in less than 10 days, and one in which resonances between small and large worlds essentially keep the thing together."
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Kepler Finds Bizarre Systems

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  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @10:48AM (#35357308)

    >one with planets that all orbit their planets in less than 10 days

    Yeah, that is bizarre.

    • by kaoshin (110328)

      Almost sounds like a moon.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by fahlesr1 (1910982)

        That's no moon! Its a space station!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That's no moon... (obligatory)

        I RTFA as a result of that erratic bit of composition. Apparently it's a star where two of four planets orbit the star within ten days, and either the submitter or the editor managed to butcher the information.

        Captcha: Details

      • by TheMidget (512188)

        Almost sounds like a moon.

        ... with a nice and warm Klemperer rosette in the center...

        • by mikael (484)

          Moonlets....

          Not to be confused with Moon Lets in the back pages of magazines like The Inquirer or The Fortean times, where you can rent several acres of moon surface. They'll help you make the payments and fill out the paperwork. It's your problem how to get there.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Yes, those are strange planets. And so are the planets.

    • by kiehlster (844523)
      I think this would be an awesome place to live. I can outwit Yoda and say I'm over 1500 years old. Then again, I'd get pretty sick/poor from celebrating birthdays every 168 earth hours per individual. We'd have to start a tradition of only celebrating them once every 50 years.
      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        My daughter was born on Feb 29th 2000 (leap century). She won't have another birthday for 400 years.

        • by mbone (558574)

          So, why didn't you celebrate on 2/29/2004 or 2/29/2008 ? If I was her, you'ld owe some back presents.

  • by Ambitwistor (1041236) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @10:51AM (#35357328)

    Any Klemperer rosettes?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    planets orbiting in a Trojan configuration

    See! I knew it would finally happen to those Mac guys who think they'll never get a ........

    Oh, wait.

  • We're going to find so many alternatives to what we thought was normal solar system behavior. Perhaps we should have named the spacecraft Kinsey instead of Kepler.

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • by thasmudyan (460603) <[udo.schroeter] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @11:24AM (#35357730) Homepage

    I was having trouble imagining the 8:6:4:3 resonance pattern, so I dug out this very cool visualisation: http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/WebGL/KOI-730.html [princeton.edu] (needs a WebGL-capable browser, for some reason FF 4 doesn't work though).

    • by tagno25 (1518033)

      Neither Chrome nor Chromium work with that site (or it may just be me)

    • You sure? I'm running FF4 Beta 10, it's fine here(Windows 7). Cool link, thank you.
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @11:25AM (#35357750)

    Yo Dawg, I heard you like orbits, so I put a planet on your planet so you can orbit while you orbit!

  • We are not sure if the Solar System is typical or not. With 1200 planet candidates so far and a possibility of 10x more in the next few years, kepler should build a statistical database of what is typical and atypical. They systematically watching a fixed region of space of 155K stars for planetary transits. This region of he galaxy does have a bias toward our type of Suns. And the technique is biased toward large, fast, close-in planets.
    • by bunratty (545641)
      There is a bias in the sampling. Current methods of detecting extrasolar planets favor finding large planets that orbit quickly. It could be that solar systems with Mars-sized planets that take 100 Earth years to orbit their sun are most common, but Kepler will have a hard time finding those. It may take a long time before we discover what a truly "typical" solar system is like.
    • by mikael (484)

      Strange to think that the rocky cores of our planets (and all the heavy elements) came from the exploded remains of a fast-living red giant that went supernova. The remaining hydrogen/helium reforms a new star (our Sun) and the atmospheres of the gas giant planets, while the heavy elements formed the rocky planets. Always wondered where our solar system is located relative to the original red giant.

      • That is that many revolutions of the galaxy since condensation. So any parental object or cloud may be long lost. Maybe not: astronomers are a clever bunch.
      • by bunratty (545641)
        First, red giants [wikipedia.org] are the last phase of stars that live a long time, and they generally don't go supernova. I think that created the heavy elements in our solar system were blue giants [wikipedia.org] that burn their nuclear fuel quickly and generally go supernova. Second, what makes you think the material that formed the solar system came from only one supernova? I was always under the impression that it came from multiple supernova events. Do we know which is the case?
        • by mikael (484)

          Yes, blue giants - that was the term mentioned in many articles about the history of the solar system. That's an interesting thought - would a supernova leave behind enough material for another star large enough to form and then go supernova again. Did one supergiant form the local area of stars that surround our sun. Whatever fragments remained of the heavy element core that formed the first time, would act as a nucleus for new stars the next time round. As these stars went supernova, their remains would

          • by bunratty (545641)
            I don't mean a sequential chain of stars. I mean material from different stars coming together. When the Milky Way first formed, large stars would have quickly formed and gone supernova. That gas had billions of years to circle the Milky Way many times. In fact the Milky Way was formed from many different galaxies, so the supernovae could have been from different galaxies. The gas from all the supernovae would just mix together. Are the interstellar gas clouds we observe all each from just one star? Or are
  • 10 days around our Sun:
    2.43 million miles per hour

    365 days around hour Sun:
    66.6 thousand miles per hour

    Purdy quick either way I'd say.

    • by JTsyo (1338447)
      Wouldn't that depend on the radius from the star? Closer to the star the faster your tangential velocity needs to be to maintain orbit.
      • by toddestan (632714)

        If you assume a circular orbit, and the mass of the planet is negligible compared to the star, then there is only one radius (and tangential velocity) that'll satisfy those conditions given an orbital period.

  • NASA, you guys have it pointed backwards.

  • Yo Dawg... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NitroWolf (72977) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @11:43AM (#35358046)

    ... one with planets that all orbit their planets in less than 10 days

    Yo Dawg... I heard you like planets. So we put a planet in your planets so you can orbit while you are resonating!

  • who makes a "that's no moon" reference die of syphilis

    have a nice day

  • by BearRanger (945122) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @11:58AM (#35358292)

    For some reason I was reminded of Asimov's "Nightfall". It's sounding just a little less far-fetched now.

    • by c6gunner (950153)

      You thought Nightfall was far-fetched? Really?? I think it's one of my all-time-favourite Sci-Fi stories exactly because it's completely plausible.

      Most science fiction these days is full of implausible assumptions and "physics" which may as well be complete magic. Even good science fiction usually has at least one far-fetched premise in order to set up an interesting storyline. But Nightfall didn't really do any of that. We know that there are solar systems with multiple suns, and we know they can stay

      • It's one of my all time favorites too. By less far-fetched I simply mean that observing complex orbital systems makes it more "real" to me than just theoretically positing one.

      • by Quirkz (1206400)
        The part where stars in the sky make you crazy and cause you to destroy your civilization? If I'm remembering the quote properly, there was a line where a character said "we tried to simulate it in a dark room with lots of holes in the roof, but they were just dots. The stars aren't anything like that."

        It's been a few decades, so I might be misremembering. I do recall liking the story.
        • by c6gunner (950153)

          The part where stars in the sky make you crazy and cause you to destroy your civilization? If I'm remembering the quote properly, there was a line where a character said "we tried to simulate it in a dark room with lots of holes in the roof, but they were just dots. The stars aren't anything like that."

          Yeah, I can see why that might seem less-than-plausible, but really ... anyone who was raised in a major city and then went out into the middle of nowhere and saw the night sky should be able to understand what he's talking about. I never get tired of it but, the first time I saw it, it was more than a little humbling. The darkness scared them, sure, but it was the realization of the vastness of space - and the insignificance of what they thought to be their entire universe - that lead to madness. Dougla

  • I think that we will find that all solar systems are strange, including our own. It appears that planetary formation is a fairly chaotic process.

  • The way I figure it, the more bizarre the better. We learn a lot more from the systems that challenge our conventional definitions than ones that tend to fit what we already think we know.
  • What good is the article without pictures? (Well, an artist's conception doesn't really count.)

  • TFA states "The Kepler Space Telescope observes stars to see if they show a planetary body transiting in front of them. Thus far it has discovered more than 1,200 planets and candidates. It has found the first evidence of a rocky body, and seen the first multi-planet systems."

    Even the first ever detected planets were in a multi planet system (albeit around a pulsar, certainly not somewhere you'd necessarily expect to find intact planets) PSR B1257 [wikipedia.org] and Gliese 581 [wikipedia.org] was found to have six planets before Kepler w

  • Where are all these IBTimes submissions coming from now? I can't recall any IBTimes references at all before a few months ago, now all of a sudden can't seem to go a day without seeing one. This seems like a deliberate planned campaign.

    • by erichill (583191)
      Slashdotting + Ad click revenue => $$$
      • by macraig (621737)

        If you look at the profile of the original submitter, he's fairly new to Slashdot and has submitted many dozens of articles, but the ONLY SOURCE he has ever referenced has been IBTimes. I believe there's one or two more like him. IOW, they're being paid by IBTimes to do this.

  • NOT Solar systems! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @01:35PM (#35359636) Homepage

    You can call them planetary systems or even star/stellar systems if you refer to their stars, but they are definitely not "solar" systems since they are... well... extrasolar!

  • by MMC Monster (602931) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @01:43PM (#35359710)

    Forget the horrible summary.

    I set the comment slider to 2.5 (what the heck does that mean, anyway?). At this threshold, I'm supposed to see four comments. Instead, there's only one.

    Can someone please fix this?

    Yes, I know I'm off topic, but where is this on topic? I'm finding /. less readable with the new style, which breaks the usability of the site. Therefore, I just go to /. less frequently. :-(

    • I set the comment slider to 2.5 (what the heck does that mean, anyway?).

      2.5 means 3. There are 8 "notches", but 7 labels, so the slider falls out of alignment with the scale.

      (The highest (left-most) setting abbreviates even +5 comments. So the scale needs an extra label, ">5".)

      I'm more annoyed at the links on the main-page randomly linking back to the main-page rather than the article. Something to do with the auto-update script(s), but not consistent/repeatable enough for a bug-report.

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        I'm more annoyed at the links on the main-page randomly linking back to the main-page rather than the article. Something to do with the auto-update script(s), but not consistent/repeatable enough for a bug-report.

        Those are the one-line stories... clicking them once expands them, and then the "Read the ___ comments" link always works correctly.

        • I'm more annoyed at the links on the main-page randomly linking back to the main-page rather than the article. Something to do with the auto-update script(s), but not consistent/repeatable enough for a bug-report.

          Those are the one-line stories...

          No it's not. And no they don't. (Errr, that is, one line stories have a proper link as often as they don't. And expanded stories with bunged links are the ones that annoy me. I tend to scroll down the main-page, right-click/new-tabbing anything that grabs my attention. Then reading each comment-thread one tab at a time. So by the time I realise three or four have just bounced back to the main page, I've forgotten which story they were supposed to be.
          (And being stupid, I always forget to check.))

          • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

            It's only the one-line stories that were added by the auto update. When you hit F5, all of the stories have proper links. As a general rule I expand the one-line stories and middle-click the Comments link to make sure the right page loads.

            • Right now, on the slashdot homepage, the top story is "Malware Declines, Trojans Dominate", and the story's title bar links to "http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/03/03/1329214/Malware-Declines-Trojans-Dominate". So far so happy. But the next 11 stories all link to "http://slashdot.org/". (Only one of them is a one-liner, "Calculate DrunkenNES With an 8-bit Breathalyzer".)

              (Then there are two stories "High-Bandwidth Users Are Just Early Adopters" and "Gosper's Algorithm Meets Wall Street Formulas" with full l

              • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

                You're right - I suppose I haven't noticed because I usually click the Comments link on stories that aren't one-lined.

    • by everithe (915847)
      I had a similar problem recently, I think. There's a "Retrieve _____ comments" option under the Discussions tab in your Options. I found that mine was set to "Few" instead of "Many". Could it be that?
  • The Kepler statistics so far have constrained a "minimal radius" of orbit. There is a big decline below that. I presume the planets are either eroded by the super-hot corona, or tidally broken in too close an orbit.
  • by gosand (234100) on Wednesday March 02, 2011 @02:00PM (#35359930)

    I just checked my Bible, and there's nothing in there about any of this.

    • by discord5 (798235)

      I think the first page of your bible is missing. The one that says:

      This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people or events is purely coincidental

    • Of course there's not. Kepler wasn't launched until almost 2000 years after the last book of the Bible was wrapped up.

      If you want more on Kepler ST, but want it blended with bible-believing religious types, you already missed one event [byu.edu] but you can probably still join the conversation now [catholic.com] from the comfort of your armchair...
  • I'm surprised this isn't getting more coverage. This is one of the biggest advancements in astronomy we've seen in years.

    • Oh, agreed, but Kepler is pumping these things out so fast that even I can't keep up. It's getting hard to decide what the "important" announcements are, especially outside of very targeted news sources.

  • Given the indirectness of the method, I'm worried that these discoveries might someday go the way of the Martian Canals.
  • "one with planets that all orbit their planets"

    My, that IS excitingly confusing news.

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