Nature is 'always more crazy than we are'

November 16, 2005

Astronomers say more than a thousand planets might be lurking in our galactic neighborhood. That's the conclusion they reached in explaining the genesis of a giant planet discovered in July by Maciej Konacki, then at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The planet was found inside a triple-star system called HD 188753, about 150 light-years from Earth. The alien world defied explanation because planets such as it should not be able to form a triple-star system.

Now Simon Portegies Zwart of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Steve McMillan of Drexel University in Philadelphia, believe they've solved the riddle. They say HD 188753 probably formed inside an "open cluster" of several hundred stars.

They argue it is possible the planet first formed around the host star and then the star drew it into a tight orbit. Subsequently, a close encounter in the cluster hooked them up with the binary system.

"Nature is always more crazy than we are; it invents things that we cannot envision at all," says Zwart. "I'm sure we will find more of these systems in the next few years."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Loneliest young star seen by Spitzer and WISE

Related Stories

The case of the missing craters

July 26, 2016

When NASA's Dawn spacecraft arrived to orbit the dwarf planet Ceres in March 2015, mission scientists expected to find a heavily cratered body generally resembling the protoplanet Vesta, Dawn's previous port of call.

A star's birth holds early clues to life potential

July 25, 2016

Our solar system began as a cloud of gas and dust. Over time, gravity slowly pulled these bits together into the Sun and planets we recognize today. While not every system is friendly to life, astronomers want to piece together ...

Seven new embedded clusters detected in the Galactic halo

July 25, 2016

(Phys.org)—A team of Brazilian astronomers, led by Denilso Camargo of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, has discovered seven new embedded clusters located unusually far away from the Milky Way's ...

Recommended for you

CP violation or new physics?

July 25, 2016

(Phys.org)—Over the past few years, multiple neutrino experiments have detected hints for leptonic charge parity (CP) violation—a finding that could help explain why the universe is made of matter and not antimatter. ...

Jupiter's great red spot heats planet's upper atmosphere

July 27, 2016

Researchers from Boston University's (BU) Center for Space Physics report today in Nature that Jupiter's Great Red Spot may provide the mysterious source of energy required to heat the planet's upper atmosphere to the unusually ...

The role of magnetic fields in star formation

July 29, 2016

The star forming molecular clump W43-MM1 is very massive and dense, containing about 2100 solar masses of material in a region only one-third of a light year across (for comparison, the nearest star to the Sun is a bit over ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.