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Astronomers Find a Planet Denser Than Lead (And The Size of Jupiter)

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posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 10:06 PM

Meet the planet COROT-exo-3b. It orbits a star slightly larger, hotter, and brighter than the Sun. The star is not an unusual one in any way, but the planet is definitely weird: it orbits the star in just over 4 days, which is pretty close in, though not a record breaker in and of itself. What’s bizarre is that it has about the same diameter of Jupiter, but has 21.6 times Jupiter’s mass. That makes it denser than lead.

That's one dense planet!

If I could stand on the surface of this planet, I’d weigh, over 9000 pounds!

In other words, nothing can survive

This is by far the most massive planet found so close to its parent star. There is another extrasolar planet found with about that mass, but it orbits its star much farther out. The ones we’ve found that orbit their stars so close tend to have masses much smaller than this. For comparison, Jupiter takes 12 years to circle the Sun once. Mercury takes 88 days. So we’re talking big planets, really close to their stars.


This planet is challenging to models. How did it form? It most likely formed farther out from the star — gravitational influences make it hard for a large planet to form close to a star — and then gradually moved in. This can happen due to friction, of all things: when the star and planet are young, there is a disk of material leftover from the planetary formation. As the planet sweeps through this material it slows its orbit. It spirals in due to gravitational interaction with the disk, and eventually settles down when the disk material thins out a few million kilometers from the surface of the star itself.

This story is from October but after a couple ATS searches turned up nothing I decided to post it.

visit the Source for the story in full.

[edit on 12/4/2009 by Alaskan Man]

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 10:35 PM
Pssh... It's the Deathstar, they are just fueling it up right now, that is why it is so close to the sun.

Seriously though this is awesome, now they need to hurry up and build commercial space ships because I want to be a modern day Louis and Clark.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 12:05 AM
could it be a neutron star? either from a binary system with the star or a captured star? did they say if it was terrestrial or a gas giant? I cant imagine gas being denser than lead no matter what. best thread I've seen all day. S&F

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 12:24 AM
Very cool. Loved the thread and thank you for sharing it.

Star and flag.

Just one say "no life could survive" on it because of its intense gravity.

That is not necessarily true. Life's limits are being rediscovered all the time.

Water bears...sulfur name it.

But still...great thread.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 12:45 AM
Nice info on this thread. The universe never ceases to amaze me!


posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 01:17 AM
Believe it or not binary star systems (more than one star) are more common than single star systems. Also we discussed in Astronomy that once we start to actually detect or actually get to other star systems, we will see so weird that we will have to change our views on planet formation. We theorized and are starting to see that alot of planets that may be habitable will either be moons of super gas giants (9 to 80 jupiter masses which would be considered a brown dwarf) and tidal locked and/or super earths, planets at least 5 times bigger than earth.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 02:00 AM
Very nice post, thank you!

That's pretty impressive, to say the least.
What's next? a planet made of diamond with it's star orbiting it?

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 02:03 AM
Nothing can survive?
Don't you feel a TAD arrogant with that statement?


posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 02:16 AM
reply to post by Bspiracy

No.. it has a 4 day orbital period

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 02:24 AM
reply to post by Mr Mask

Well, very likely, with gravity like that, and being so close to its sun... there's simply no possible way for life to have developed. We're talking gravitational pressure that couple probably not only tear apart a water molecule, bu ignite its component hydrogen and helium in the process.

I do wonder what the planet is made of, or if it's just ultra-compressed.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 02:43 AM
over 9000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 02:59 AM
I wonder if the dense planet increases the magnetic fields of both it and the star. Its going so fast it may even act in part almost like a generator. Cool stuff, wish we could go see it ourselves.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 03:43 AM

Originally posted by STFUPPERCUTTER
over 9000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ugg that's the first thing that came to my mind as well. Internet, what have you done to me?

This is pretty incredible to imagine. How close it must be to have a 4 day orbit combined with its density. I wonder how much more mass it would need before it got pulled into the star.

[edit on 12/5/2009 by somedude]

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 05:37 AM
and what about Canis Majoris, our sun is a dot next to it

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 05:43 AM

I love a good read

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 05:49 AM
Great thread.

I think my signature says it all.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 06:17 AM
i need more proof this arrangement actually exists...

i read the attached article, and it says:

... It was discovered by COROT, an orbiting European Space Agency mission
-->> designed to look for stars that dip in brightness as an orbiting planet passes in front of them. That gives the size of the planet (the amount the light dims is proportional to the size of the planet).

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 06:48 AM
Wow! So COROT discovered a planet more than twice as dense as lead! Very interesting find, Alaskan Man, thanks!

I wonder what it's primary composition is and is it a gas giant? Plasma?

From ESA:

The search for planets with orbital periods less than 10 days orbiting close to the parent star has lasted almost 15 years. During this time, scientists have encountered planets with masses 12 times that of Jupiter, and stars 70 times as massive as Jupiter, but none in between. This is why the 20-Jupiter-mass COROT-exo-3b was such a surprise

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 07:03 AM

Originally posted by Alaskan Man

If I could stand on the surface of this planet, I’d weigh, over 9000 pounds!

In other words, nothing can survive

I have no idea why some people think life can't survive in high gravity. I fully expect some life forms could survive in high gravity if other conditions were right. Maybe we can't survive in gravity that high, but there are other forms of life. And if life evolves in high gravity, of course its evolution will make it adapted to that environment. One thing is for sure, I wouldn't expect any tall skinny creatures like giraffes in high gravity.

Now the high temperature is a problem, so if people say nothing can survive due to the high temperature that would make more sense, since life as we know it needs liquid water.

Fascinating discovery.

So what's denser than lead? Not a lot of naturally occurring substances on Earth, maybe the depleted uranium shells? That's pretty dense.

posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 08:05 AM
Finally, the birthplace of the current administration found, bravo!

Seriously though, interesting read, thanks.

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