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Space Science

Fomalhaut's Exoplanets Have Orbits That Defy Theory 43

astroengine writes "Astronomers believe they have found a second distant planet around Fomalhaut, a bright young neighbor star, and that the far-out world — like its sister planet — is shepherding and shaping the star's ring of dust. If confirmed, theorists have some work to do explaining how the planet, believed to be a few times bigger than Mars, ended up 155 times as far away from its parent star as Earth is to the sun. 'We're learning a lot about planets that are close to their stars, but that is not the full picture. We also want to know about systems where planets are very far out. By considering near-, far- and mid-range, we can get a complete picture of planet formation,' University of Florida astronomer Aaron Boley said." There was another fascinating bit of news about Fomalhaut a few days ago: "ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory has studied the dusty belt around the nearby star Fomalhaut. The dust appears to be coming from collisions that destroy up to thousands of icy comets every day."
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Fomalhaut's Exoplanets Have Orbits That Defy Theory

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  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Friday April 13, 2012 @06:38PM (#39680477) Homepage Journal

    Since it formed very early on, it's most likely a proto-planet rather than a mature planet. Planetary theory is only designed for mature planets, because statistics doesn't apply to extremely small numbers and extremely small numbers is exactly what you have when dealing with proto-planets. Ergo, the theory cannot be applied sensibly, ergo there is no theory that can be described as being defied.

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