Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Nearby Star May Have More Planets Than Our Solar System 102

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the told-you-space-lizards-were-real dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "HD 10180 is a near-twin of the Sun about 130 light years away. It's known to have at least six planets orbiting it, but a new analysis of the data shows clear indications of three more, for a total of nine! This means HD 10180 has more planets than our solar system. And whether you think Pluto is a planet or not, all nine of these aliens worlds have masses larger than Earth's, putting them firmly in the 'planet' category."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nearby Star May Have More Planets Than Our Solar System

Comments Filter:
  • Yes, but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mmullings (1142559) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:16PM (#39602547)
    So, how many of you saw HD 1080i
  • We cannot stand by and allow this "planet gap" to continue! Earthlings unite!
  • by trout007 (975317) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:24PM (#39602629)

    Maybe we can let NDT take a look and demote some?

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:25PM (#39602643) Homepage

    Planet envy

  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:25PM (#39602649) Homepage

    I thought Pluto was 'degraded' of its planet status because it wasn't orbiting the sun in the same plane as the other planets, not because of its mass...

    • Re:mass? (Score:5, Informative)

      by meglon (1001833) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:33PM (#39602721)
      It's because it hasn't cleared it's neighborhood of other objects (not including it's moons). Pluto is basically one of the largest objects in a debris disk. Had it accreted that disk, we'd still call it to planet.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Note that Pluto's debris disk, the Kuiper belt, overlaps the orbit of Neptune, which is about 10000 times as big as Pluto. We'd say that Neptune accreted Pluto, not the other way around.

    • Re:mass? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:41PM (#39602783)

      The current IAU definition is (c/o Wikipedia)

      The IAU therefore resolves that planets and other bodies in our Solar System, except satellites, be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:
      (1) A "planet"[1] is a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.
      (2) A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that: (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape[2], (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.
      (3) All other objects[3], except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".
      Footnotes:
      1 The eight planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
      2 An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either "dwarf planet" and other categories.
      3 These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), comets, and other small bodies.
      The IAU further resolves:
      Pluto is a "dwarf planet" by the above definition and is recognised as the prototype of a new category of trans-Neptunian objects.

      Pluto fails because it hasn't cleared its orbit.

      Many people don't like the definition for many reasons. Among them, that what constitutes a "clear" orbit is not specified and is arbitrary (no planet has an orbit 100% free of other objects), that the point of 'hydrostatic equilibrium' is also unspecified and arbitrary, and that it only applies to the Solar System ("The Sun" is in there).

      • I think most folks would agree it fails 1b as well

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          Not really; as far as we can tell Pluto is roughly spherical, and has sufficient mass to reach hydrostatic equilibrium.

          • Re:mass? (Score:5, Funny)

            by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday April 06, 2012 @07:25PM (#39603119) Homepage

            Not really; as far as we can tell Pluto is roughly spherical, and has sufficient mass to reach hydrostatic equilibrium.

            So are my neighbors. In addition they've cleared a debris field that encompasses 'the neighborhood' (McDonald's, KFC, Wendy's and both grocery stores).

            Should i report them to the IAU?

            • by Chris Burke (6130)

              Well in contrast to bodies in space, their inability to clear their debris field is most likely a direct consequence of their great mass. So calling them "dwarf humans" would be highly inaccurate.

            • by Kjella (173770)

              Well they also need to have celestial bodies, each to his own but I wouldn't describe those as heavenly...

          • The amount of mass needed to self-round is far below the amount possessed by Pluto.

            Saturn's moon Mimas [wikipedia.org] would be our best cutoff example found.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Many people don't like the definition for many reasons. Among them, that what constitutes a "clear" orbit is not specified and is arbitrary (no planet has an orbit 100% free of other objects), that the point of 'hydrostatic equilibrium' is also unspecified and arbitrary, and that it only applies to the Solar System ("The Sun" is in there).

        Those people ignore that there's a five order of magnitude difference [wikipedia.org]

        between the least of the planets is, versus the greatest of the dwarf planets.

        The line between Europe and Asia is arbitrary. The line between Eurasia and the Americas is absolutely not -- you could draw the line with a brush a thousand miles wide. The situation in our solar system is the latter case.

        • The lines between Asia and Africa or North and South America, would be a better comparison. There was a land connection before the canals, but so much smaller of a land connection than between Europe and Asia that it becomes obvious to draw a distinction.
      • Pluto fails because it hasn't cleared its orbit.

        So get in there and clean your room, or you'll never amount to anything!

      • by Surt (22457)

        I don't like it because the IAU aren't the most qualified scientific organization to construct a definition.

  • ...but [i]we[/i] have nine planets [i]too[/i]!

    Justice for Pluto!

    • by halivar (535827)

      Damn those bb forums and their tags, and damn those previews for letting me click through them without retyping the whole message!

    • We also have Ceres, Eris, Makemake and whatever the other one is called, Haumea or something. And maybe Charon, if you roll that way.

  • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:32PM (#39602711)

    Could this be the place we escape to when the earth is uninhabitable? Will we live in a space western?

    • Could this be the place we escape to when the earth is uninhabitable? Will we live in a space western?

      No, it's the place prepared for our afterlife.

      If you're good, you get to float around the clouds of the gas giants playing a harp. If you're bad, you spend all eternity assembling smartphones on one of the scorching inner planets.

    • You're asking if this is the planetary system from Firefly.

      • ding ding ding ding.....

        I know there are fewer planets than in Firefly, but still....It took that long for someone to get it?

  • When did 130 ly become nearby? Did someone invent a FTL drive while I wasn't paying attention?
    • Re:HD 10180 Nearby? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:50PM (#39602857)

      When did 130 ly become nearby? Did someone invent a FTL drive while I wasn't paying attention?

      Light coming from it is only a 130 years old not millions or billions of years old. I think the general unspoken idea of nearby is that they may still have the same technology if there were intelligent life that they did a 130 years ago so there's the potential for contact if a civilization was detected. There is a likely window of a few hundred years to a few thousand years where contact would be possible. There is no set standard for nearby but I think that would be the closest I could come, any star with the potential for contact. 130 light years is definitely in that range and with multiple large planets it'd be a solid candidate for life.

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:13PM (#39603475) Homepage

      When did 130 ly become nearby?

      As soon as the context became the stars.

    • by Surt (22457)

      It is among the nearest .000001% of all stars.

  • ...to bring up Firefly and its "dozens of worlds" in one solar system.

    Yes, I know it's horribly inaccurate with respect to pretty much every detail on this solar system. I don't care; it's better than stupid resolution jokes.

    • by tragedy (27079)

      There are 9 (8) planets in our solar system with an additional 20 large moons and a good 100+ smaller ones. After that, there's a good number of solidly large asteroids. A single (or binary) solar system with dozens of worlds doesn't really seem that far-fetched when you consider how many we have right here. Admittedly a good number of them are so far from the sun that the local temperatures measure in the double digits on the Kelvin scale.

  • by Trails (629752) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:38PM (#39602765)

    Yeah but when nibiru comes back around, we'll be up a planet and then who'll be laughing?

  • The definition of planet is such that only the Solar System can have them. And as already noted several times, higher mass isn't enough to be a planet. It also has to have "cleared its neighborhood", whatever that means.
    • You narcissistic xenophobe. Sol is not superior to other suns.

      End Solar Supremacy! We demand equal treatment of all planetary systems.

    • by Surt (22457)

      That's a definition, not the definition of a planet. And it's the IAU at that, who are hardly experts in the field.

  • Now you KNOW there's gonna be a jump-start in the government throwing big bucks into NASA. If they did it during the Communist vs. Capitalist dick-waving that went on for decades, how are they going to tolerate the idea that there are other planets out there, ones that MIGHT get to other exoplanets first? The fear, anger, propaganda... I can see Obama now...

    "By 2419, we will send a man to 51 Pegasi b!"

    It'd be better in a Boston accent, but hey, let's get our light-speed on!

  • by physburn (1095481) on Friday April 06, 2012 @08:00PM (#39603387) Homepage Journal
    NASA's Kepler mission has so far found 2300 potential planets outside the solar system, and the mission has been extended to past 2016. Way to go Kepler!

    ---

    Extra Solar Planets [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

  • After all, who decides? An astronomer, who studies stars, or a planetary scientist who studies planets? Answer: planetary scientists. And they are in consistent agreement: pluto is a planet.

  • We can not have a planetary gap!
  • by symbolset (646467) * on Friday April 06, 2012 @10:57PM (#39604185) Journal

    Well, they do unless they're binary stars where the planets were so huge they condensed into a star. And the planets go from so close they're in danger of being consumed, to so far out that the the material they would have been made of was flung out of the stellar system instead - in orbits of the maximum closeness that you couldn't fit another planetary orbit between them. Since every reasonable sized star has a habitable zone, and given the distribution of mass, between 2 and 4 planets have to be in it. Time makes the orbits regular. If the planet in the right spot is too large for Men, it will have a moon of the appropriate size.

    This is obvious from the distribution of prestellar masses and the forces that cause stars and planets to form. Who doesn't know this? It's Bode's Law.

    See those stars in the sky? They have planets. All of them, near enough as makes no difference. And all of them have planets where liquid water could form. And water is so common that there is water on all of them. And so the Fermi Paradox becomes more intriguing. The stars in the sky where Men cannot live are passing rare - if we can get there.

    Let's go already.

  • and take their planets
  • Unless we get there first! After all there may be oil!

    Go go go!

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.

Working...