The Planet That “Shouldn’t Exist.”

Posted: November 17th, 2013 in astronomy, Forteana, science, space
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Boffins Baffled!

LOL!

Sorry, I’m OK now.

Hehe. It’s just that I love when the boffins are baffled. Especially in astronomy. There are so many things we have no idea about. Models and paradigms are created based on the data at hand and are seemingly ingrained as fact in the minds of many. But they are not facts, they are merely good ideas given what information is available and people’s interpretation of it.

Planet Kepler-78b, a rocky planet much like our own, has just been discovered orbiting a star that is also much like our own.  It is however, so different that astronomers simply do not understand how it can possibly exist. I like that.

Kepler78b, artist's impression. Credit: TNG/Avet Harutyunyan

Kepler-78b, artist’s impression. Credit: TNG/Avet Harutyunyan

Sky Mania – October 30, 2013 — “This planet is a complete mystery,” says astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. What we do know is that it’s not going to last forever.” Colleague Dimitar Sasselov said: “Kepler-78b is going to end up in the star very soon, astronomically speaking. It couldn’t have formed in place because you can’t form a planet inside a star. It couldn’t have formed further out and migrated inward, because it would have migrated all the way into the star. This planet is an enigma.” Dr Ken Rice, of the University of Edinburgh said: “Although this planet is clearly too hot to support life, it is still very exciting to now be discovering planets that are not only similar in mass to the Earth, but also similar in composition.”

Read more…

The main difficulty is that the orbit is only a million miles from the star. A year on it lasts a quick 8 and a half hours. The rocks at the surface are pretty toasty and would be much like permanently molten lava. It is thought that stars shrink as they age, so the mere presence of this object where it sits seems impossible with current thought.

And yet… there it is.

Awesome.

Peace.

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