Skip to comments.Comets, Asteroids and Planets around a Nearby Star [ AU Microscopii ]
Posted on 12/30/2007 6:10:20 PM PST by SunkenCiv
A nearby star thought to harbor comets and asteroids now appears to be home to planets, too. The presumed worlds are smaller than Jupiter and could be as tiny as Pluto, new observations suggest. AU Microscopii, also known as AU Mic, is a relatively nearby and common sort of star. And it is young. Things around it are just gathering together out of the leftovers of star formation... In new observations with the Keck Telescope in Hawaii, researchers found clumps in the disk -- strong evidence that planets exist. "We see multiple clumps in the dust disk," said study leader Michael Liu of the University of Hawaii. "These clumps must be formed by the gravity of unseen newly formed planets." Such clumps have been detected around other stars, but one thing that makes AU Mic interesting is that it is a garden variety star -- its kin make up 85 percent of all known stars. AU Mic is half as massive as the Sun and one-tenth as luminous. It is roughly 10-12 million years old, an infant in star years (our Sun is 4.6 billion years old). And because AU Mic is nearby -- just 33 light-years away in a galaxy that spans more than 100,000 light-years, it is much easier to study than most young stars with dust disks... The planets have to be big enough to cause clumping in the dust, he explained. Theory suggests the minimum possible diameter would similar to that of Pluto. He cautions that this does not mean there are any small planets around AU Mic -- theory is not prepared to fully explain the new observations, he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
My current research focuses on understanding the physical nature and origin of substellar objects, i.e. brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets. The last decade has witnessed a revolution in astronomy with the discovery of these long-sought objects. I am interested in direct observational studies to probe their formation mechanism(s) and to understand the plausible diversity of planetary systems. From a technical perspective, my research employs optical, infrared, and sub-mm instrumentation, with a particular interest in high spatial resolution techniques such as adaptive optics. My research is supported by the NSF, NASA, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Sharpest Image Ever Obtained of a Circumstellar Disk Reveals Signs of Young Planets
and this started with a routine news search for “kuiper belt”...
Solving Solar System Quandaries Is Simple:
Just Flip-flop The Position Of Uranus And Neptune
Science Daily | Thursday, December 13, 2007 | adapted from Arizona State University materials
Posted on 12/30/2007 8:44:15 PM EST by SunkenCiv
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It is times like these that I wish I had taken a different path in university and studied astronomy formally (aside from the astronomy course that I took as part of my sciences credits).
Sometime in the next decade the Very Large Telescope project will be completed and we’ll all be seeing things we’ve never dreamed we would see in our lifetime. The 16 meter VLT will put Hubble to shame.
Seems that everything we’ve considered to be normal for a solar system is unusual and all the unusual things are normal.
That is why I think the Hubble servicing mission is a waste of time.
It’s what changed my mind. Also the VLT is ground based and obviously easier to service.
Should We Repair Hubble?
Popular Mechanics | May 2007 | Thomas D. Jones
Posted on 04/03/2007 10:49:37 PM EDT by KevinDavis [ahem]
[snip] If the mission succeeds, Hubble should be in peak observing condition until its replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, is launched in 2013... Some argue that repairing Hubble is pointless, since ground-based observatories have overtaken its capabilities. But terrestrial telescopes fall short of HST’s resolution by a factor of 10 or more. [end]
I thought the VLT was going to be completed last year.
Or am I missing something?
33 light-years, not 33 million.
Thirty-three million light years would be quite a distance away.
I may have the name wrong. There is a Very large Telescope project that is made up of several large separate telescopes. The one I’m thinking of is a single telescope consisting of 6 8 meter mirrors. I can’t find the info I’m looking for but I believe it’s due to be finished in 6 or 7 years. I saw a little bit about it on “The Universe” on the history channel.
I’m probably thinking of the VLT with the separate telescopes. I didn’t know anybody was making one massive one.
Thanks for the info.
It is kinda far. Take a sandwich. :’)
thanks for the ping.
Happy New Year
You’re most welcome. I hope that little asteroid overcomes the 96 per cent odds and smashes into Mars. That would be a great way to start 2008, not least because we’d get an FR topic out of it. :’)
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