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Best Movie Ever of a Baby Exoplanet Orbiting a Young, Nearby Star

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posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:19 PM
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What follows is a tale of discovery. Both of a scientific nature and a personal one as well.


It's hard for me to believe that 20 years ago this year, the same year I was born the first exoplanets around normal stars were discovered and their reality vigorously debated in scientific journals.

All my life I've only known a Milky Way galaxy and universe that was populated with other solar systems, other planets and I remember listening intently to my science teacher in middle school as they mentioned that discoveries of planets beyond our solar system could potentially teach us a lot about ours and the origin of life itself.

Around that time I also remember an astronomy textbook I checked out of the Seattle Public Library. Of the many and varied wonders of the universe it highlighted was a false color image taken in the 1980s by NASA's first space telescope, the InfraRed Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) satellite of what the book described as a solar system in formation.

Planetesimals? Baby planets!? I was fascinated! This fascination has remained with me and is why I am so into extrasolar planets.

The discovery was around the nearby star Beta Pictoris:



Beta Pictoris is a young star about 64 light years away in the constellation Pictor. Since the 1980s, thanks to that IRAS image it was known that this star had a disc around it which was forming planets. Beta Pictoris is only around 12 Million years old compared to our Sun and Solar System which is 4.5 Billion years old. Our solar system when it was Beta Pictoris age is also thought to have been a dusty, chaotic place similar to Beta Pictoris (shown in the illustration below):



In 2003, imaging of the inner region of the Beta Pictoris system with the Keck II telescope in Hawaii revealed the presence of several features which are interpreted as being belts or rings of material. Belts at approximately 14, 28, 52 and 82 astronomical units from the star were detected (1 astronomical unit = the distance from the Earth to our Sun or around 93 million miles).

These belts alternate in inclination with respect to the main disk:




In 2006, about a year before I picked up that book, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys revealed the presence of a secondary dust disk inclined at an angle of about 5° to the main disk:



Dust disks were fine but what about the baby planets? Where were the images of those I wondered as I laid back stargazing one hot summer's night in 2007. I would not have long to wait as it turned out.

Later, in 2008 the announcement was made of this near-infrared image taken in 2003 of a planet in the inner disc of Beta Pictoris with European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile. The planet is called Beta Pictoris b:



In subsequent years the motion of this planet was noted in images taken years apart:



In 2013 a new instrument called the Gemini Planet Imager or G-PI (pronounced: Jee-Pie) was installed at the Gemini South Telescope which was built in Chile and is operated by a consortium consisting of the United States, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia.

It could take images of planets like Beta Pictoris b in much less time than it took previously.

Which leads us up to today's video. It is our friendly baby planet shown in motion around Beta Pictoris b as imaged by G-PI courtesy of the SETI Institute:



For more see: Watching an exoplanet in motion around a distant star - Phys.org - Sept. 16, 2015

By the way, Beta Pictoris, being the 2nd brightest star in Pictor can be seen with your naked eye if you know when and where to look. Beta Pictoris is observable in the Southern Sky for anyone from around the latitude of Los Angeles. In this Stellarium screen shot you can see it would appear as a faint star on the horizon at around 5 AM almost due South from an L.A. viewing location:


edit on 16-9-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:23 PM
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Now that is...pretty cool!


I should say more but to be honest, what else is there to say?

Glad you can still find time to share Jadey



Edit: I would definitely change an for a in the title.
edit on 16-9-2015 by Jonjonj because: addition



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:25 PM
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It's taking too long to go exploring among the stars. It sure would be nice to freeze one's self until such time that Starfleet is born and has enough starships to be able to visit all of these worlds that we are becoming aware of.


edit on 16-9-2015 by _BoneZ_ because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:30 PM
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originally posted by: Jonjonj
Now that is...pretty cool!


I should say more but to be honest, what else is there to say?

Glad you can still find time to share Jadey



Edit: I would definitely change an for a in the title.


Thanks
I will be very busy next week so I've been trying to post some good stuff before I go on hiatus for the semester.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:32 PM
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originally posted by: _BoneZ_
It's taking too long to go exploring among the stars. It sure would be nice to freeze one's self until such time that Starfleet is born and has enough star-ships to be able to visit all of these worlds that we are becoming aware of.



In some ways Bonez, Starfleet was born in San Francisco, California in October of 2010.



See: 100 Year Starship Foundation

The thing is almost all old sci-fi of us needing a star ship to "set off to into the unknown" in order to discover strange new worlds, new life, and civilization will probably be obsolete in the next 30 years.

We will be able to do all of that with future telescopes well before any would be starships set sail across the galaxy. Only the smallest details of those worlds will be unknown.
edit on 16-9-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:35 PM
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Jadestar; remember that post that questioned the pixel resolution available to current telescopes? This would be a good opportunities to count pixels on that last movie in particular
even if some are just interpolated by alogrythms.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:38 PM
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originally posted by: stormbringer1701
Jadestar; remember that post that questioned the pixel resolution available to current telescopes? This would be a good opportunities to count pixels on that last movie in particular
even if some are just interpolated by alogrythms.


The size is not as important as the motion in that movie though.

Images of extrasolar planets are of course not going to be of high resolution (yet). For now we've got blurry smudges due to present day imaging techniques. But they will get sharper and images are only part of the story. From that dot and its motion a lot is known about Beta Pictoris b's composition, actual size, mass, etc.

edit on 16-9-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:44 PM
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WRT starfleet we are seeing beginnings.

fusion powered ships will be a thing. there is no doubt.

ion powered or plasma powered propulsion is a thing and each generation of maturity in that tech will go faster and farther.

the remaining problems with long duration missions are being explored. Shielding techniques are being developed. Advanced closed loop or nearly closed loop life support is being worked on. Navigation systems using pulsar signals are being developed. prototypes have flown on ISS.

research into "new physics" type propulsion are for the first time being studied in serious ways instead of just in Sci-Fi and conspiracy circles. Examples are EM drives, Mach Effect Drives, Felber Relativistic slings, even early Warp Field investigations.

even without new physics we cannot be stopped from exploring near by stars because regular physics makes speeds required for meaningful travel times possible and the propulsion power needed is less than a decade away.

and even without spacecraft astronomy technologies are going to continue improving what can be seen detected and known at unimaginable distances from earth.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:45 PM
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originally posted by: JadeStar

originally posted by: stormbringer1701
Jadestar; remember that post that questioned the pixel resolution available to current telescopes? This would be a good opportunities to count pixels on that last movie in particular
even if some are just interpolated by alogrythms.


The size is not as important as the motion in that movie though.

Images of extrasolar planets are of course not going to be of high resolution (yet). For now we've got blurry smudges due to present day imaging techniques. But they will get sharper and images are only part of the story. From that dot and its motion a lot is known about Beta Pictoris b's composition, actual size, mass, etc.


yeah...but don't you just want to stick that pixel count in that guy's face?
its quite a few pixels wide actually


(sorry, guy)
edit on 16-9-2015 by stormbringer1701 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:45 PM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Problem with using only telescopes for exploration is that we can only see those places in the past from how ever many light years it took those images to reach us.

With starships, we will be able to visit those places in the present (relatively speaking, for course), and any intelligent (or even plant/animal life) that may exist in the present.




edit on 16-9-2015 by _BoneZ_ because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:49 PM
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originally posted by: _BoneZ_
a reply to: JadeStar

Problem with using only telescopes for exploration is that we can only see those places in the past from how ever many light years it took those images to reach us.


That's true.

However if you figure that most of the places we're going to closely examine are within 100 light years of the Eaerth then most of the things we're interested in wouldn't change much in that short period of time.

A planet with life isn't suddenly going to be dead in 100 years unless through cataclysm.



With starships, we will be able to visit those places in the present (relatively speaking, for course), and any intelligent (or even plant/animal life) that may exist in the present.





Startships are fine if you want to wait for them to ever be built.

Telescopes are something we can build now at a modest cost compared to the amount even a small interstellar probe would cost.

Furthermore, it will be discoveries made by telescopes which will fuel the passion to actually build starships.

No one is going to spend trillions of dollars just to go exploring.

They MIGHT spend trillions of dollars to settle another Earthlike world though.

How do we find that world?

Telescopes.


edit on 16-9-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:52 PM
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originally posted by: stormbringer1701

originally posted by: JadeStar

originally posted by: stormbringer1701
Jadestar; remember that post that questioned the pixel resolution available to current telescopes? This would be a good opportunities to count pixels on that last movie in particular
even if some are just interpolated by alogrythms.


The size is not as important as the motion in that movie though.

Images of extrasolar planets are of course not going to be of high resolution (yet). For now we've got blurry smudges due to present day imaging techniques. But they will get sharper and images are only part of the story. From that dot and its motion a lot is known about Beta Pictoris b's composition, actual size, mass, etc.


yeah...but don't you just want to stick that pixel count in that guy's face?
its quite a few pixels wide actually


(sorry, guy)


Lol. i know what you mean. But it does serve a purpose. Both in science and in fueling the public's imagination.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:00 PM
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I would be interested in knowing just why you are interested in this exo-planet. It is so new it should still be getting impacted by planetesimals - no hope of life for tens of millions of years. If we concentrate on exo-planets like this, we will not be stirring too many people's imagination or creating much impetus for more R&D. Why not delve into a nearby habitable one?



posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 02:30 AM
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originally posted by: StanFL
I would be interested in knowing just why you are interested in this exo-planet. It is so new it should still be getting impacted by planetesimals - no hope of life for tens of millions of years. If we concentrate on exo-planets like this, we will not be stirring too many people's imagination or creating much impetus for more R&D. Why not delve into a nearby habitable one?


Trust me, I am interested in habitable zone planets. Those are the most interesting of all in my and most people's opinion.

So why am I interested in this baby planet?

I'll give the scientific ones first.

Top 5 Reasons Beta Pictoris is Fascinating.

1. It helps complete the picture of planetary system evolution. Here we have a star that is young which is in the process of forming planets and here we have a planet which has formed. Before this discovery we knew of discs around other stars but we didn't know of planets within those planet forming discs. So some could say, "well that's just a big asteroid belt" how do we KNOW there are actual planets being formed in those gaps in the disc? Beta Pictoris b helps prove our models of planetary formation correct. And those models predict that just about every star you see in the sky has planets! They're just a byproduct of star formation. As such, there should be a lot of other solar systems like ours out there in the galaxy including ones with planets like Earth.

2. Beta Pictoris b is an object we can take images of. There've been thousands of exoplanets found but I get the impression that the average person has little interest because these planets have mostly been inferred rather than seen directly. Beta Pic b has been seen directly.

3. There's something about watching the yearly motion of a planet around another star that is just beyond cool.

3. Not only that but we also have Beta Pictoris b's rotation rate: ~25 km/sec, which gives it an 8hr day! That's faster than any planet in our solar system and again fitting our models which predict young planets spin faster than mature ones. Beta Pic b was the first planet to have its day measured. This is important because when we start taking images of small Earth sized planets in habitable zones the same techniques will be used to measure their rotation/day.

5. It's a big planet forming/orbiting at a distance our models predict big planets should form. Beta Pic b is 1.6 times the size of Jupiter orbits it's star 9 astronomical units out. About the same distance as Saturn does from our Sun. Again, more evidence our models of how our Solar System formed are essentially correct.

And in addition to all this we know what it's atmosphere is mostly made out of. Carbon Monoxide. The same thing which comes out of your car's exhaust. Learning about its atmosphere helps us develop techniques to study those smaller Earth sized planets in habitable zones we will eventually get images of in the future.

So, we know more about Beta Pictoris b than just about every other exoplanet. The only one which comes close to that level of detail is the Super Earth known as GJ 1214b.

That's the science.

The sentimental reason is that my interest in this field of astronomy goes back to that IRAS image in the astronomy book I read in middle school. Seeing an image of a star forming planets made me think, "if we were lucky enough to catch this star forming planets then there should be a lot of other ones out there forming planets and even more which already have!" (enter all sorts of imaginative thoughts of alien worlds here in my 6th grade mind).



posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 07:45 AM
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there is a clump of red dwarfs of interest in completing the picture of how planets form they are old. too old to have a planetary disk. but they do


www.astronomy.com...
edit on 17-9-2015 by stormbringer1701 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 08:01 AM
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Way to close back off!

So when did the public find out about this for the first time?



posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 06:29 PM
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originally posted by: Hyperia
Way to close back off!

So when did the public find out about this for the first time?


2008 though the planet was first imaged in 2003. Science sometimes takes years to rule out other things which might have explained the dot you see in the 2008 VLT image.



posted on Sep, 29 2015 @ 04:12 PM
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I only now happened to see this thread. Wow! This is truly remarkable. Really lends credence to the idea that when the HDST or something like it gets built (see Jade's previous awesome thread www.abovetopsecret.com... ) we will be able to see some mind-blowing, game changing sights in our galactic neighborhood.

Peace.

P.S. Why can I not star JadeStar's posts anymore? Please tell me she wasn't banned for any reason... that would be a loss!


ETA: After some investigating it seems she willingly departed due to racism and other bigotry on ATS.
I've taken breaks before but never closed my account. This truly saddens me, and gives me reason for reflection and pause. I hope she will one day reconsider. Her contributions were always substantive and greatly appreciated.
edit on 9/29/2015 by AceWombat04 because: (no reason given)




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