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Thread: Pink Planet Baffles NASA, Scientists

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    BAMAPHIN 22's Avatar
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    Pink Planet Baffles NASA, Scientists

    At first glance, NASA's latest find might resemble a classic piece of bubble gum, but the recently discovered planet, GJ 504b, is much too large to roll out of a machine after a quarter and a twist.
    How large is it? NASA scientists say it's four times the mass of Jupiter. The glimmering pink sphere is so massive that it's the lowest-mass planet orbiting a star like the sun ever detected using direct imaging technology.
    But mass is just one component of GJ 504b's existence that has NASA scientists in awe; GJ 504b also shatters current conceptions of how large planets form.
    The prevailing theory, known as the core-accretion model, states that Jupiter-like planets form after a series of collisions between debris create a mass with a gravitational pull strong enough to rapidly attract surrounding gas-rich debris, molding the accumulation of debris into a crude planetary form. But one stipulation of the theory is that it only applies to planets orbiting up to 30 astronomical units (AU) from their sun -- 1 AU is equivalent to Earth's distance from the sun. GJ 504b orbits its star at a distance of 43.5 AU, nearly nine times the distance Jupiter orbits our sun. That discovery has sent scientists scrambling for answers on how GJ 504b could take form.

    "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.
    "If we could travel to this giant planet, we would see a world still glowing from the heat of its formation with a color reminiscent of a dark cherry blossom, a dull magenta," McElwain said. "Our near-infrared camera reveals that its color is much more blue than other imaged planets, which may indicate that its atmosphere has fewer clouds."
    http://www.weather.com/news/science/...lanet-20130809
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    Buddy's Avatar
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    Re: Pink Planet Baffles NASA, Scientists

    No mystery here, it's Planet Fabulous where Panda GayDefender calls home!
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    LANGER72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy View Post
    No mystery here, it's Planet Fabulous where Panda GayDefender calls home!
    That individual looks like a participant of Burning Man in Nevada.
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