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Space Science

Possible Baby Picture of a Giant Planet 32

Posted by samzenpus
from the planets-first-spin dept.
astroengine writes "Acquired by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), an infrared observation shows a portion of the disk of gas and dust around the star HD 100546, located 335 light-years away in the constellation Musca. By physically blocking out the light from the star itself by means of an opaque screen, the light from the protoplanetary disk around HD 100546 can be seen, revealing a large bright clump that's thought to be a planet in the process of formation (PDF). If it is indeed a baby planet, it's a big one — as large as, or perhaps even larger than, Jupiter."
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Possible Baby Picture of a Giant Planet

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  • Aawwwww (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @09:07PM (#43064389) Homepage Journal

    Jupiter was soooo cute when it was just an asteroid. Just look at that little adorable red spot!

  • Looks like a picture to me. Rest easy folks.

    • Re:Solved! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @09:22PM (#43064457) Homepage

      I was going to get annoyed at TFA for showing an 'artists conception' of the protoplanet but then I glanced at the paper. The pictures there look like a doughnut that ate a bunch of psilocybin. Had to squint and cross my eyes before I could figure out what the authors where talking about.

      I want to see actual pixels, dammit.

      • Re:Solved! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 03, 2013 @10:31PM (#43064689)

        No kidding. What the hell is it with these science stories of astronomers finding a picture of something that require an artists impression of said picture to be up front and at the top of the article?

        Astronomers take a picture of the accretion disk of a black hole. So here is a picture of what an artist thinks it looks like.

        Astronomers take a picture of an earth sized planet light years away. So here is a picture of what an artist thinks it looks like.

        Astronomers take a picture of a star getting devoured by a black hole. So here is a picture of what an artist thinks it looks like.

        I hate to imagine what the artist's impression of the Pale Blue Dot [wikipedia.org] photo would look like today.

        • by steelfood (895457)

          Because the actual image is not very pleasing to the eyes. Usually, astronomers are working with individual pixels. They're also working with multiple images of the same object taken at different wavelengths.

          For the untrained eye, the actual images would look like noise zoomed-in at the pixel level. I'm not sure the science journalists who write and edit these things would be willing to make pixelated blobs the primary image of their article. You should count yourself lucky to even see them in the body of t

          • by gr8_phk (621180)

            For the untrained eye, the actual images would look like noise zoomed-in at the pixel level. I'm not sure the science journalists who write and edit these things would be willing to make pixelated blobs the primary image of their article.

            'cause you know, that would make the headline seem like a load of bull and disappoint readers. It doesn't do much to help the public image of the scientists either.

            OTOH I saw an hour long video of some NASA woman explaining the Kepler mission. It was fan-fucking-tastic a

        • by Artraze (600366)

          > What the hell is it with these science stories of astronomers finding a picture of something that require an
          > artists impression of said picture to be up front and at the top of the article?

          Because they don't find a picture in the first place? They find about ~100 pixels at best from a number of different wavelengths (usually not like what we can see to boot). Most people can't really understand what's going on in such images, and they aren't generally very interesting. The artist can take data f

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Bingo.

        If I wanted an artists conception of something I could visit the Louvre.

        Fucking crap article from /. and the link

        • If I wanted an artists conception of something I could visit the Louvre.

          Luckily, the actual paper [google.com] can be found though a link in TFA. The images in question are at the top of pages 3 and 4. An artist's impression was probably thought necessary for the less erudite (i.e. the ignorant masses, including most graduates in business and liberal arts).

      • You mean this picture [bit.ly]? I don't see it.

  • Nifty (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@comcastRASP.net minus berry> on Sunday March 03, 2013 @10:31PM (#43064687)

    When I was a youth the idea that there were other planets in other solar systems was pure science fiction. Now we can an at least semi credible chance we we can actually directly see a planet in the making. At times like this I wish I was an astronomer instead for a living. I think this has got to be the golden age of astronomy that we are in now.

    Think about it, we are in the age when books written, with good intentions, by well respected figures from even twenty years ago are so far out of date that they should not be used anymore. We have learned so much in the last twenty years it makes me wonder if we will ever again see a period of time like this in the future.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      We have learned so much in the last twenty years it makes me wonder if we will ever again see a period of time like this in the future.

      We will be dead by when a new "astronomy golden age" will come.... the current one hasn't yet finished.

      • by gman003 (1693318)

        I think he was talking about it happening in other fields.

        I, for one, would like to see a "golden age of interplanetary exploration", since that's a logical next step.

    • What I find nifty is that this is actually happening right now. If it is only 335 lightyears away, then the image is 335 years old. This is not some image of a supernova that happened and the soon-to-be-ex-star was in fact already gone. but the formation of a planet is sloooooow. We can be watching this now for a long while (longer than our lives) and get a lot of information from it. As telescopes get better, we'll get a better view too.

  • Goldilocks (Score:5, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday March 03, 2013 @11:01PM (#43064781)

    Nap time story for a planet.

    Goldilocks said, "This planet is too hot. This planet is too cold. But this planet is just right!"

  • We will find a verifiable, habitable and/or inhabited exo-planet by 2030.
  • That ought to be very interesting for astro-folks. They have a lot of theories of how our Moon was created. This would actually allow them to observe that process, as well.

  • It must be Krikit with the dust cloud of HAL...

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