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Eccentric Worlds: Strange Orbits Puzzle Astronomers

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posted on May, 10 2005 @ 07:18 PM

BALTIMORE - Of the more than 130 planets found around distant stars, a large number have highly elliptical orbits, crazy oblong shapes that have surprised theorists who try to explain the configurations with near collisions or perturbing disks of gas.

An elliptic orbit is characterized by the eccentricity, which is how much a planet's distance from its star varies as it carves out a year. Most of the planets in our solar system have relatively low eccentricities, less than about 5 percent (tiny Pluto being a notable exception and considered not really a planet by some astronomers).

By contrast, the average eccentricity of extrasolar planets is about 25 percent. And these are not Plutos. They are typically more massive than Jupiter.

"The eccentricities are the most remarkable thing about these planets," said Geoff Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, during a meeting here last week at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). The conference was set up to celebrate 10 years of successful exoplanet hunting.


strange orbits???

what could be the culprit???


[edit on 10-5-2005 by they see ALL]

posted on May, 10 2005 @ 11:27 PM

Originally posted by they see ALL
what could be the culprit???

There are the theories we read in textbooks. These are sometimes correct, always very dated. Then there are the theories we read in journals. There are some theories you will only hear colleague-to-colleague.

One theory of planet formation- it is not new by any means- guesses that protoplanets can be ejected (as whole, complete worlds, comic debris) from hypernova explosions- in the form of planet-sized droplets.

Such an ejected planet might have a high velocity.

It might exhibit a highly eliptical orbit if captured in the gravity well of another star.

You can see these droplets in some high-resolution images of hypernovae.

I will try to find a pic link later if no one else beats me to it

posted on May, 10 2005 @ 11:56 PM
I was thinking about that too, when I first read about it..

Could it be that this method of Planet detection has some flaws?
Are there unseen bodies that are effecting the reading of this wobble effect?
Could there be a star type that actually changes temperature?
Like a variable star changes size?
What if this pulsing was interpreted as a doppler shift, and there were no planets at all?

Just wondering out loud..

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