In “Ancient alien planets shake up view of our early universe” (MSNBC.com, , 3/30/2012), we learn “3 billion-year-old planetary system discovery ‘an archaeological find in our own backyard’”:
Astronomers have discovered a planetary system that formed nearly 13 billion years ago, suggesting the early universe harbored more planets than has been thought.
Well, it suggests way more than that, if it’s true.
The system consists of a star called HIP 11952 and two Jupiter-like alien planets. It is just 375 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Cetus (the Whale). The planets are likely the oldest yet found; at 12.8 billion years old, they’re just 900 million years younger than the universe itself, according to the commonly accepted Big Bang theory.
That compares with Earth at 4.5 billion years old.
Obviously, this makes no sense in terms of conventionally accepted timelines for the universe. It is the equivalent of – in paleontology – finding fossil rabbits from the Cambrian period, in terms of the damage it would do to a conventional narrative, if true.
But, after all, the faster-than-light neutrinos upended physics for a while, and then turned out be a wrong measurement.
The 13 billion year old planets could go the same way. The big worry is that the unconventional data will get buried and not rigorously analyzed, as were the faster-than-light neutrinos.