Yep, the weekend has arrived and as per my tradition I will post on anything other than the pathetic crap the MSM gives us daily……today it is space and the new discoveries or such…….
In 2012, scientists discovered a giant exoplanet (one that orbits a star other than our sun) with a ring system so impressive it eclipses its own host star. Now, thanks to a recent eclipse where planet J1407b lined up in front of host star J1407, scientists at the University of Rochester analyzed the way the light signal changed and got a clearer picture of J1407b’s ring system. Their findings: It’s roughly 200 times as large as the rings around Saturn, each of its more than 30 rings are tens of millions of miles wide, and there are gaps between the concentric rings that suggest the presence of exomoons similar to Saturn’s “shepherd” moons. The planet’s mass is 10 to 40 times greater than Saturn’s.
“You could think of it as kind of a super Saturn,” one researcher said. “The details that we see in the light curve are incredible,” added another. “The eclipse lasted for several weeks, but you see rapid changes on time scales of tens of minutes as a result of fine structures in the rings.” This is the first evidence to support the long-held theory that moons can form from a planet’s circling debris, reports Discovery. The findings, to be published in the Astrophysical Journal, are the result of a collaboration between the University of Rochester and the Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands and use data from the SuperWASP project.
Cool, huh? But wait! There is more!
Just how ancient is a newly discovered solar system? “By the time the Earth formed, the planets in this system were already older than our planet is today,” University of Birmingham researcher Tiago Campante tells the BBC. The solar system—a star named Kepler-444 that’s orbited by five planets—was uncovered via an analysis of data gathered by the Kepler telescope over a four-year period. The work was published yesterday in the Astrophysical Journal. Why the find is attracting so much attention: It’s being described as a “replica” or “twin” solar system of our own. In terms of size, the planets fall between Mercury and Venus, making it the “oldest known system of terrestrial-sized planets,” per the study.
But likely not a life-sustaining one: The planets are too close to the star to permit life, with orbits about 10% of the distance Earth is from the sun. As far as age goes, the solar system came into being 11.2 billion years ago, a determination researchers made using asteroseismology (sound waves trapped within the star cause natural resonances that spur tiny changes in the star’s brightness; age is measured from these variations, reports YaleNews). And as far as distance goes, it’s 117 light-years away. How the researchers frame the significance of the discovery: “We thus show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the universe’s 13.8 billion year history, leaving open the possibility for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy.” That leads Discovery News to ask, “Could alien life have already come and gone in our galaxy’s history?” (Another noteworthy find: the coldest spot in the universe.)
There you have it….all the worthless space info you did not ask for…..and YOU ARE WELCOME!