Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/6/2013 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Giant planet 11 times mass of Jupiter orbits like a binary star.

An incredibly massive planet has been discovered orbiting a star at an amazing distance. The discovery is challenging what scientists think they know about planetary formation.

HD 106906b blurrs the distinction between a planet and a star.

HD 106906b blurrs the distinction between a planet and a star.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/6/2013 (4 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: planet, star, orbit, mass, size, magellan telescope


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The planet, HD 106906b, orbits a star that is much like the Sun, but does so at a distance of 60 billion miles. This is 650 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun and far more distant than should be for a planet of that size.

The planet is also has 11 times the mass of Jupiter which is also incredible.

The planet was photographed by the Magellan Telescope in Chile's High Atacama desert. The telescope uses new technology to correct for atmospheric distortion which gives its images a clarity that matches those captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Scientists believe that planets, especially large ones, should form from rock and dust close to their parent star. Our Solar System is the textbook example of this. Under current models, massive planets should not form at such a distance from their parent star.

In other words, what they have observed should be impossible.

The planet is also estimated to be quite young, just 13 million years old. Compare that with Earth and the other planets of our solar system, which are about 5 billion years old.

Despite the eye-popping incongruity with current models, scientists believe they have a theory which could account for the massive planet and its place in orbit. The planet may actually be a failed star which started to form, then ran out of material to grow.

Stars and planets form as dust and gas clump together in space and eventually enough material is gathered that a planet forms. Above a certain point, the material, mostly hydrogen, which is the most abundant element in the universe, will fuse and cause the clump of matter to become a star instead of a planet.

However, if the clump cannot accrete enough material, it will never switch on because there is too little pressure to begin fusion in its core. This is how Jupiter-sized planets form.

Scientists think the latter scenario is the correct one in this case. Given the young age of the planet, they think it is actually a failed star that could not accrete enough mass to turn on. It happens to orbit at the correct distance.

Still, it's a rare and impressive find, and one that reminds us that despite what we think we know, we only know a fraction of what's out there.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Technology

IS THE SECOND COMING NIGH? Four blood moons this year all occur on Jewish holidays Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As climate change wreaks havoc worldwide, and relations between the U.S. and Russia reach a low point over Ukraine, some Christians say that the phenomenon of the "Blood moon" may mean that Christ's return is rapidly approaching. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Will Alibaba devour Facebook? China's massive Alibaba is coming to conquer the United States Watch

Image of Yahoo's dominance has since dwindled as Alibaba has since grown into a global powerhouse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ali Baba for those in the west usually means the storybook leader of a gang of fearless, 40 thieves. But this will soon change. A massive e-commerce site from China, Alibaba, with revenue larger than Amazon and eBay combined has decided to go public in the ... continue reading


Drone images reveal more about mysterious buried village in New Mexico Watch

Image of Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico. Thermal images captured by the small drone allowed archaeologists to peer under the surface of the desert floor, revealing never-before-seen structures. LOS ... continue reading


New 'Star Wars' gun fires shells seven times the speed of sound through concrete -- 100 miles away Watch

Image of The rail gun will be mounted on high-speed vessel the USNS Millinocket for sea trials in 2016.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A futuristic lethal new weapon capable of firing a shell at seven times the speed of sound has since been successfully tested on land. Conjuring up images of iconic sci-fi villains as Darth Vader, researchers have called the new rail gun as being of 'Star Wars' ... continue reading


KETTLE CALLING THE POT BLACK? Internet search engines exhibiting double standards Watch

Image of An old cliche -- that bears repeating --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Certain cliché sayings come to mind: The kettle calling the pot black, having one's cake and eating it too . Google, along with Facebook and Yahoo have come down hard on the Obama administration for information gathering - but NOW don't want their ... continue reading


Scientists discover massive asteroid hit Earth so hard that oceans evaporated Watch

Image of Earth was struck several times by massive asteroids billions of years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists from Stanford University say they have found evidence of another cataclysmic cosmic collision between Earth and another asteroid billions of years ago. This asteroid, they say, was so large it punched a hole in the Earth's crust and caused earthquakes around ... continue reading


Why is NASA rejecting definitive proof of life on Mars? Watch

Image of Curiosity recently captures this image that shows light on the ground on Mars. NASA thinks it's just a glint off rock or some other similar anomaly.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Curiosity rover has photographed what appears to be light emanating from the ground on Mars. UFO and alien life enthusiasts as well as conspiracy theorists have all claimed the light is evidence of life on the Red Planet. NASA however, is not so sure. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


HANG ON TOTO! Astronomers calculate the speed of the Universe's expansion Watch

Image of Hang on! The universe is expanding at 1 percent per 44 million years, which is fast if you consider the size of the universe is at least 46 billion years in radius!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hold on to your hat, Toto, we're about to leave Kansas. Astronomers say they have calculated the expansion rate of the universe and their discovery is very surprising. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomers have long been interested in measuring the expansion ... continue reading


Universe, you really let me down: astronomers disappointed after observation doesn't fit model Watch

Image of Galaxy clusters such as these should be more common throughout the universe than they are.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Two professors say they are disappointed with the universe after learning that it is "smoother" and "flatter" than they expected. The compared the discovery to a trip to Switzerland that was switched for a trip to the Netherlands. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Hello Enceladus! Forget Mars, here's where extraterrestrial life can be found in the solar system Watch

Image of Jets of water, rich in organic molecules spew over the icy surface of Enceladus.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Astronomers believe they have found proof that Saturn's icy moon Enceladus hosts a deep saltwater ocean. Scientists say that of such an ocean exists, it may be the most likely place in the solar system, rather than on Mars, to find life elsewhere besides Earth. LOS ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 16th, 2014 Image

St. Bernadette
April 16: On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter