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Newly Spotted Frozen World Orbits In a Binary Star System 34

An anonymous reader writes A newly discovered planet in a binary, or twin, star system located 3,000 light-years from Earth is expanding astronomers' notions of where Earth-like planets can form. At twice the mass of Earth, the planet orbits one of the stars in the binary system at almost exactly the same distance at which Earth orbits the sun. However, because the planet's host star is much dimmer than the sun, the planet is much colder than Earth. "This greatly expands the potential locations to discover habitable planets in the future," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at Ohio State. "Half the stars in the galaxy are in binary systems. We had no idea if Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits could even form in these systems."
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Newly Spotted Frozen World Orbits In a Binary Star System

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  • The summary clarified "Binary Star" for Slashdot readers. That seems unnecessary, or my opinion of Slashdotters is far too 2002.

  • It's a rebel hideout

    • Or Tatooine [] (due to the fact it orbits a binary star system, not the climate).
    • Considering the article states that this planet has an estimated surface temperature of 352 Fahrenheit, it would make Hoth seem like a tropical resort, considering warm blooded animals like Tauntauns were able to survive on the surface. Hoth would have been more like the Antarctic, around 70 Fahrenheit by comparison.
  • by yesterdaystomorrow ( 1766850 ) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @02:39PM (#47394359)
    We know nothing about this planet's atmosphere. The low flux of energy from its star tells us that its stratosphere (if present) must be very cold, but says nothing about its surface temperature. It could have a much deeper troposphere, and thus a much stronger greenhouse effect than Earth has.
    • The size of the planet puts limits on the atmosphere. And at 60 K, it's colder than Neptune. No depth of troposphere can turn a Neptune or Pluto warmer than Earth.
      • No depth of troposphere can turn a Neptune or Pluto warmer than Earth.

        Neptune's interior temperature is thought to be 7000K. Venus, a bit smaller than Earth, has a surface >500K hotter than its tropopause. I see no physical reason that this super-Earth couldn't have much more atmosphere than Venus. 220K from tropopause to surface would get you to liquid water.

  • "Winter has arrived."

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"