Friday, July 25, 2014

Dry Jupiter-Like Exoplanets Discovered

How we understand planetary  formation may, quite possibly, be all wrong.  

At present, the disk accretion theory is the most popular, where dust particles begin coming together in the planetary disk.  As the clumps become larger they begin attracting more and more clumps to the point where planetesimals form.  As they become larger, they begin to pull gases out of the ring to form proto - atmospheres  made up of oxygen in the form of water vapor.  

All of this worked very well until:
  • A team of astronomers headed by Dr Nikku Madhusudhan of the Cambridge University’s Institute of Astronomy has found that the abundance of water vapor in the atmospheres of the three newly discovered hot Jupiters – HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b (Located between 60 and 900 light-years away from Earth)  – is between ten and a thousand times less than what standard planet formation theories predict. 
This discovery really brings our understanding of planetary formation into question. 

These planets are classified as hot Jupiters with average temperatures between 1652 and 3992 degrees Fahrenheit. These were thought to be ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres.

(***I would like to interject something here.  Regardless  of the water vapor or the hot Jupiters and the disclaimer in the full article that Hubble didn't actually "see" the planets, is the fact that Hubble can see ANYTHING 900 light years away! That is so far away that the average calculator goes nuts and you get cryptic answers from scientific calc. or numbers like 5865696000000 for just 1 year of light travel.  That's 6 thousand trillion 700 billion miles more or less then times that by 900 years!  Can you even begin to wrap your head around such mind numbing numbers?  That is how powerful Hubble is.....What a fabulous tool and how lucky we are to be around in the years of it's operation.   Editor***)

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