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Pink planet challenges planet formation theories

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NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/ Weissinger

It’s a pleasant summer evening …

We have irritated all the neighbours we possibly can with the vast flock of plastic flamingoes out in the flower beds and on the drive. We have made our point.*

So now it is time to invite everyone around for pink lemonade and unveil … the pink planet:

About 57 light years from Earth, astronomers have discovered a large new planet, colored a deep magenta. It’s the second planet whose color has been directly observed by astronomers, the first being HD 189733b. That alone would make this find noteworthy. But equally noteworthy is the fact that the planet itself challenges current theories of planetary formation.

This planet, GJ 504b, is about the size of Jupiter, but has several times its mass. It’s actually so far the smallest planet that’s ever been directly imaged with a telescope, rather than being observed by eclipsing its parent star.

Not a hoax, apparently. The Weather Channel says,

“This is among the hardest planets to explain in a traditional planet-formation framework,” Markus Janson, a member of the team that discovered GJ 504b, said in a NASA press release. “Its discovery implies that we need to seriously consider alternative formation theories, or perhaps to reassess some of the basic assumptions in the core-accretion theory.”

The relative youth of the planet and its solar system are also of interest to NASA, according to Michael McElwain, a member of the discovery team. In fact, according to McElwain, the planet’s age is directly responsible for that odd fuchsia hue.

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*It’s our place; we paid for it, and we’ll do it up the way we like. You, of course, should listen to Martha Stewart if you want. 😉 .

2 Replies to “Pink planet challenges planet formation theories

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    It seems to me there are a lot of things that challenge what we claim to “know” about planet formation. And oddly enough, many times we are faced with things that seem much younger than we think possible.

    The relative youth of the planet and its solar system are also of interest to NASA, according to Michael McElwain, a member of the discovery team.

    There is plenty of evidence that does not fit into the billions of years age for the universe. For just some recent examples, search for these titles on crev.info
    Major Cosmic Questions Remain Unanswered (2 quotes from the article:)

    Another observation supports the surprising finding that the universe underwent extraordinary periods of star formation in its infancy. Big bang theory posits that the universe began in a highly smooth state, but Science Daily wrote, “Astronomers using a world-wide collection of telescopes have discovered the most prolific star factory in the Universe, surprisingly in a galaxy so distant that they see as it was when the Universe was only six percent of its current age.”

    Back in January, in Live Science, Joel Shurkin asked, “Where did the universe’s magnetism come from?” That question is rarely addressed. The big bang would have begun with no magnetism, he says: “In the beginning there was no magnetism.” Today, though, it is one of the most powerful forces in stars and galaxies. Any incipient fields after the big bang should have cancelled each other out. Shurkin entertained a theory by one German physicist, Reinhard Schlickeiser, who thinks it began very weak until iron evolved in stars, then current flows magnified it. “You have to have something to start from,” his partner said, but that begs the question of where the something came from.

    Mystery Moon (and Meteorites, and Stars)

    Extrasolar Planets: Bigger and MORE MORTAL

    Scientists Dodge Youthfulness of Saturn Moon Enceladus

    Fresh Impacts Viewed on Mars, Moon

    Moon Water and Magnetism Mystifies Astronomers

    Saturn’s Rings Impacted by Meteoroids

    Titan’s Methane Still Puzzles Scientists

    Titan and Mercury: Challenges to Billions of Years

    Many of these issues have to do with relatively nearby observable universe – our neighborhood in the universe and still we are stumped!

    Why would we ever think then that our ideas about the distant barely observable universe would hold true?

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    Sorry. I left out this important bit of information from that post.

    Those articles can be found by searching for the titles listed on Creation-Evolution Headlines(crev.info) along with many more articles showing the same thing.

    These are just some of the recent issues brought to light.

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