Astronomy News – The more astronomers look around on the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time, the more they realise we really have only scratched the surface of the known universe, and we really know nothing. This is exciting, for sure, for astronomers viewing the universe, but it means space scientists are constantly reworking theories and ideas concerning the universe and the way things really work. Astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to view a distant gas-giant planet called Upsilon Andromedae b recently noticed a warm spot on this planet’s surface that according to previous ideas seems to be a bit out of position. Upsilon Andromedae b circles very closely to its parent star and belongs to a class of planets astronomers refer to as hot Jupiters, because of the intense temperatures and large, gaseous makeup of these planets. One face of this planet is always directly facing the intense heat produced by the sun and because of this, it would seem logical that the hottest parts of this planet should be directly facing the sun. Previous views of hot Jupiters have shown astronomers that it was possible for hot spots on these types of planets to be slightly shifted away from the sun’s direct heat. The viewing of this hot spot on Upsilon Andromedae b using the Spitzer Space Telescope has thrown a wrench into this idea, though, because the hot spot on Upsilon Andromedae b, is offset by a whopping 80 degrees, and sits practically on the other side of the planet.
Every time we get one answer, ten more questions appear
This is very disconcerting to astronomers who were thinking they were beginning to figure a few things out about hot-Jupiter type planets. Scientists are presently working at trying to figure out how the hottest spot on Upsilon Andromedae b could be so far from the main source of heat in the solar system? In this effort they’re currently looking at similar hot Jupiters to Upsilon Andromedae b, to see if they can find any clue to this mystery, and we’ll keep you updated as the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time continues.
“Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” to view the planetary zoo
Astronomy takes you to the far stretches of the universe in search of answers to the questions we all ask ourselves
Astronomy News – Space scientists looking at the rapidly expanding menagerie of planets being added to the planetary zoo keep coming back from their journey wide-eyed and smiling like a kid that just got the key to the candy store. The latest editions to the planetary zoo are orbiting celestial bodies in orbits totally out-of-whack with the orbits of planets previously viewed in the universe. In fact, astronomers are bringing planets to be housed in the planetary zoo, of late, that are so different space scientists are having to rethink present theories on exoplanets circling distant suns in the Milky Way.
Astronomers studying three known Jupiter-size exoplanets circling dwarf star Upsilon Andromeda A, which lies about 44 light-years from Earth, have determined these exo-planets are circling in orbits unlike any seen before by Earth astronomers. Orbiting at steep angles to one another, these three planets could have exotic environments and global systems, unlike anything humans can imagine. The possibilities of life existing in star systems with such potential for chaos is going to entice the imaginations of science fiction writers across the planet to create realities and scenarios sure to entertain and create fear in the human heart.
Astronomers studying planets are discovering things we never even guessed at
The theories of space scientists concerning the formation of planetary systems will have to be altered with the arrival of these new and unexpected members of the planetary zoo. The possible scenarios for the formation of planetary systems will have to be changed to include the possibility for the formation of exoplanets of this type. Possibilities that will now include the inward migration of planets orbiting distant stars, the ejection of planets from a system due to planet scattering, or the disruption of the planetary system due to gravitational interaction with Upsilon Andromedae A’s companion star, Upsilon Andromedae B.
One thing is for sure, the human “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” has taken a turn down a path that definitely isn’t heading to Kansas, Dorothy!