Hail to the Death Star

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Hail to the Death Star

Postby flipflop » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:46 pm

Up telescope! Search begins for giant new planet

Image

Tyche may be bigger than Jupiter and orbit at the outer edge of the solar system

By Paul Rodgers


Sunday, 13 February 2011


If you grew up thinking there were nine planets and were shocked when Pluto was demoted five years ago, get ready for another surprise. There may be nine after all, and Jupiter may not be the largest.


The hunt is on for a gas giant up to four times the mass of Jupiter thought to be lurking in the outer Oort Cloud, the most remote region of the solar system. The orbit of Tyche (pronounced ty-kee), would be 15,000 times farther from the Sun than the Earth's, and 375 times farther than Pluto's, which is why it hasn't been seen so far.

But scientists now believe the proof of its existence has already been gathered by a Nasa space telescope, Wise, and is just waiting to be analysed.

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The first tranche of data is to be released in April, and astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette think it will reveal Tyche within two years. "If it does, John and I will be doing cartwheels," Professor Whitmire said. "And that's not easy at our age."

Once Tyche has been located, other telescopes could be pointed at it to confirm the discovery.

Whether it would become the new ninth planet would be decided by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The main argument against is that Tyche probably formed around another star and was later captured by the Sun's gravitational field. The IAU may choose to create a whole new category for Tyche, Professor Matese said.

The IAU would also have the final say about the gas giant's name. To the Greeks, Tyche was the goddess responsible for the destiny of cities. Her name was provisionally chosen in reference to an earlier hypothesis, now largely abandoned, that the Sun might be part of a binary star system with a dim companion, tentatively called Nemesis, that was thought responsible for mass extinctions on Earth. In myth, Tyche was the good sister of Nemesis.

Tyche will almost certainly be made up mostly of hydrogen and helium and will probably have an atmosphere much like Jupiter's, with colourful spots and bands and clouds, Professor Whitmire said. "You'd also expect it to have moons. All the outer planets have them," he added.

What will make it stand out in the Wise data is its temperature, predicted to be around -73C, four or five times warmer than Pluto. "The heat is left over from its formation," Professor Whitmire said. "It takes an object this size a long time to cool off."

Most of the billions of objects in the Oort Cloud – a sphere one light year in radius stretching a quarter of the distance to Alpha Centauri, the brightest star in the southern constellation – are lumps of dirty ice at temperatures much closer to absolute zero (-273C).

A few of these are dislodged from their orbits by the galactic tide – the combined gravitational pull from the billions of stars towards the centre of the Milky Way – and start the long fall into the inner solar system.

As these long-period comets get closer to the Sun, some of the ice boils off, forming the characteristic tails that make them visible.

Professors Matese and Whitmire first proposed the existence of Tyche to explain why many of these long-period comets were coming from the wrong direction. In their latest paper, published in the February issue of Icarus, the international journal of solar system studies, they report that more than 20 per cent too many of the long-period comets observed since 1898 arrive from a band circling the sky at a higher angle than predicted by the galactic-tide theory.

No other proposal has been put forward to explain this anomaly since it was first suggested 12 years ago. But the Tyche hypothesis does have one flaw. Conventional theory holds that the gas giant should also dislodge comets from the inner Oort Cloud, but these have not been observed.

Professor Matese suggests this may be because these comets have already been tugged out of their orbits and, after several passes through the inner solar system, have faded to the point that they are much harder to detect.

So if it is real, Tyche may not only be disrupting the orbits of comets, it may also overturn an established scientific theory.

[urlhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/up-telescope-search-begins-for-giant-new-planet-2213119.html][/url]
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Woodsman » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:17 pm

Thanks FF!
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Sri Lanky » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:49 pm

In the words of the Samurai:

It's perfect
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Texas Carnie Roadshow » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:35 pm

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? To surrender dreams - -this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness! But maddest of all - -to see life as it is and not as it should be.
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Sri Lanky » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:04 pm

What was once a journey is now a path.
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby JustOneMan » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:28 am

We can confident this is the least of the surprises the "universe" has in store for us.
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Ultra Swain » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:04 am

JustOneMan wrote:We can confident this is the least of the surprises the "universe" has in store for us.


Rapier is back.
Geez,am I NOT ALLOWED TO BE INTENSE FOR JUST 10 FUCKING SECONDS??!!!!!!!
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Sri Lanky » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:57 am

Surprise,surprise....back from the dead?
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Sri Lanky » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:19 am

http://yoke.cc/dead.htm

Rapier could have been an 18 year old Romanian woman in a previous life.
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby JustOneMan » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:40 pm

Ultra Swain wrote:
JustOneMan wrote:We can confident this is the least of the surprises the "universe" has in store for us.


Rapier is back.


Shit guys, he's certainly somewhere, but not here. Maybe outside your window?
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Ultra Swain » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:52 am

JustOneMan wrote:
Ultra Swain wrote:
JustOneMan wrote:We can confident this is the least of the surprises the "universe" has in store for us.


Rapier is back.


Shit guys, he's certainly somewhere, but not here. Maybe outside your window?


Only Rapier would say something creepy like that. And the "justoneman" handle seems right up his alley (pun intended).
Geez,am I NOT ALLOWED TO BE INTENSE FOR JUST 10 FUCKING SECONDS??!!!!!!!
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby coldharvest » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:13 am

JustOneMan wrote:
Ultra Swain wrote:
JustOneMan wrote:We can confident this is the least of the surprises the "universe" has in store for us.


Rapier is back.


Shit guys, he's certainly somewhere, but not here. Maybe outside your window?

.....I doubt it, unless he wants to go back to the Mental Health Unit he was just in.
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Texas Carnie Roadshow » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:35 pm

That's no moon?
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby Sri Lanky » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:10 pm

Let's meditate on this for awhile...or not.

"...a poorly planned quantum joyride that inevitably ends in a deadly crash at the end of a dead-end road."
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Re: Hail to the Death Star

Postby nowonmai » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:02 pm

Let's blow it up. See what happens.
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