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Huge Light Exoplanet Discovered. Shouldn't Even Exist!

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posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 09:15 AM
Wonders never cease! After the discovery of a giant earth-like planet, here comes news of the discovery of a super light planet, having the density of balsa wood!

Courtesy: Jeffrey Hall, Lowell Observatory.
A computer-generated simulation of TrES-4,
with its host star on the right.

The largest planet ever discovered is also one of the strangest, and theoretically should not even exist, scientists say. Dubbed TrES-4, the planet is about 1.7 times the size of Jupiter and belongs to a small subclass of "puffy" planets that have extremely low densities. "TrES-4 is way bigger than it's supposed to be," Mandushev told "For its mass, it should be much smaller. It basically should be about the size of Jupiter, and instead it's almost twice as big."

The parent star of TrES-4 is also unusual in that it is about the same age as our sun, but much farther along in its evolutionary history.
"Because it is more massive, it has evolved much faster," Mandushev explained. "It has become what astronomers call a subgiant, or a star that has exhausted all of its hydrogen fuel in the core and is on its way to becoming a red giant."

Let’s see what comes up next!

More here…

[edit on 7-8-2007 by mikesingh]

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 09:21 AM
I get a little light headed whenever I think of the universe and whats in it. Its just too amazing to put into words, and things like this just proves how far we have to go to understand all of its wonders. Good post

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 10:04 AM
So this planet is turning into a red giant? Maybe it's something sort of like Arthur C Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, where a gas giant is able to sustain fusion and become a star. There is some sort of critical mass where a gas giant will eventually become a star, so perhaps that is what is happening here, and the reason our models don't predict this is because we don't know enough about star formation to make a proper model. In any event, it will be extremely interesting to see if scientists can figure out just what is going on with this planet.

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 11:25 AM

No -- its parent star is on its way to becoming a red giant, not the planet.

The thing that makes this planet interesting is its super-low density.

[edit on 113131p://270811 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 01:12 PM
Oh, okay, I got confused somehow by the wording in the article, then. The low density is still a puzzle, though. I wonder how much lower density it is than the planet Saturn, which is the lowest density in our solar system.

posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 11:19 PM
If I'm not mistaken this is the second planet like this discovered, both in the last few years.

I'm not that surprised, gas giants are one of the most enigmatic planets since the
majority of there composition can be stuff that's lighter than air in some circumstances,
or could even be giant Hydrogen balls with gaseous outsides and Metal Hydrogen cores.

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