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These planets are big

January 10, 2001 11:02 AM   Subscribe

These planets are big
Perhaps they are populated by a species of supergiants!
posted by rschram (9 comments total)

Whether this bulky companion is a planet, a dim failed star called a brown dwarf or some as-yet unidentified astronomical object is unclear, said Butler of the Carnegie Institution.


Both systems were known previously to contain one planet, but now appear to have two planets each orbiting a central star.

See, the Deathstars came in, with the Death...uhh...

Why is a moon-sized spherical spaceship called a star? What do you call a similarily shaped sun-sized spaceship? A Deathgalaxy?
posted by cCranium at 12:07 PM on January 10, 2001

Are supergiants even bigger than regular giants?
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:44 PM on January 10, 2001

No, it just means that they can run faster than a speeding bullet, and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

(It's because they're from larger, and therefore more dense planets, so when they come to our planet with it's negligible - to them - gravitational force, they're especially powerful. "Yellow sun" my ass.)
posted by cCranium at 12:47 PM on January 10, 2001

"Supergiant", of course, was a term invented to describe stars that were larger than the previously-defined class called "giant".

It's interesting that they're getting a handle on just how big a body must be to form a star -- 13x Jupiter, they say, although this discovery casts doubt on that hypothesis. (A generation ago there was speculation that Jupiter could be "ignited" under the right conditions. That still may be true, but it seems considerably less likely.)

As for weird planetary systems, I remember when all the sf stories talked about how you could find Earth by going to the system that had the ringed planet -- Saturn. Now that we know rings surround Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune as well, we have to revise our expectations about what "weird" is.
posted by dhartung at 1:30 PM on January 10, 2001

This article was very cool. The only thing that could have made it cooler would have been the mentioning of forest moons or something.
posted by Hankins at 1:34 PM on January 10, 2001

posted by waxpancake at 1:37 PM on January 10, 2001

Duh! *Obviously* the DeathStar wiped out any forest moons long ago. Weren't you reading?
posted by jpoulos at 1:39 PM on January 10, 2001

A generation ago there was speculation that Jupiter could be "ignited" under the right conditions. That still may be true, but it seems considerably less likely.

At least until we activate the monolith buried in Tycho crater. Then those dag-blasted aliens will fill Jupiter with zilions of monoliths, increasing its mass to the correct amount for star formation.

I say we call it 'Lucifer.'
posted by daveadams at 2:31 PM on January 10, 2001

Didn't Tycho defect from the Imperials to Rogue Squadron? :-) (Source, the Rogue Sqadron books)
posted by tomcosgrave at 3:03 PM on January 13, 2001

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