Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Unlike Stars or Planets, Planets, or Stars?

Star Tribune: NASA's new planet-hunting telescope finds two new mystery objects, unlike stars or planets (Hat tip: Fungus)

"The universe keeps making strange things stranger than we can think of in our imagination," said Jon Morse, head of astrophysics for NASA.

The new discoveries don't quite fit into any definition of known astronomical objects, and so far don't have a classification of their own. Details about the mystery objects were presented Monday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington.

For now, NASA researcher Jason Rowe, who found the objects, said he calls them "hot companions."

How hot? Try 26,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That's hot enough to melt lead or iron.

There are two leading theories for what the objects might be and those theories cover both ends of the cosmic life cycle:

_Rowe suggests they are newly born planets. New planets have extremely high temperatures, and in this case Rowe speculates they might be only about 200 million years old.

_Ronald Gilliland of the Space Telescope Science Institute says they could be white dwarf stars that are dying and stripping off their outer shells and shrinking.
Unlike stars or planets, planets, or stars?

"This is shaping up to be one of those historic battles in science. There are people who believe one thing. There are people who believe another. There are people who believe everything, and people who don't know what to believe. It's quite a mess." -- Thomas Kaye, paleontologist, October 9th 2008


Jeffery Keown said...

Off topic... but you might like this:

Deepwater Oil?

Quantum_Flux said...

Maybe it's a giant resister between two supercharged battery terminals.

Anaconda said...

Jeffery Keown:

Yes, I'll have something more to say assuming OilIsMastery makes this a post and he should make it a post as this is a major article on ultra-deep drilling in ultra-deep water.

And as the article makes clear ocean exploration & production is the future of the oil industry.

Arie Sheyn said...

Thread is officially HiJaCkEd:

Israel may have discovered oil this past Chanukah.