Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















Unusual Older Stars Giving Birth To Second Wave Of Planets

in the beginning...
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 21, 2008
Hundreds of millions - or even billions - of years after planets would have initially formed around two unusual stars, a second wave of planetesimal and planet formation appears to be taking place, UCLA astronomers and colleagues believe. "This is a new class of stars, ones that display conditions now ripe for formation of a second generation of planets, long, long after the stars themselves formed," said UCLA astronomy graduate student Carl Melis, who reported the findings today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Austin, Texas.

"If we took a rocket to one of these stars and discovered there were two totally distinct ages for their planets and more minor bodies like asteroids, that would blow scientists' minds away," said Benjamin Zuckerman, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy and co-author of the research, which has not yet been published. "We're seeing stars with characteristics that have never been seen before."

The stars, which Melis says possess "amazing" properties for their age, are known as BP Piscium, in the constellation Pisces, and TYCHO 4144 329 2, in the constellation Ursa Major.

These two stars have many characteristics of very young stars, Melis said, including rapid accretion of gas, extended orbiting disks of dust and gas, a large infrared excess emission and, in the case of BP Piscium, jets of gas that are being shot into space. Planetesimals, like comets and asteroids, along with planets, form from the gas and dust particles that orbit young stars; planetesimals are small masses of rock or ice that merge to form larger bodies.

"With all these characteristics that match so closely with young stars, we would expect that our two stars would also be young," Melis said. "As we gathered more data, however, things just did not add up." For example, because stars burn lithium as they get older, young stars should have large quantities of lithium. The astronomers found, however, that the spectroscopic signature of lithium in BP Piscium is seven times weaker than expected for a young star of its mass.

"There is no known way to account for this small amount of lithium if BP Piscium is a young star," Melis said. "Rather, lithium has been heavily processed, as appropriate for old stars. Other spectral measurements also indicate it is a much older star."

As seen from Earth, some 75 percent of BP Piscium's radiant energy is being converted by the dust particles into infrared light, and about 12 percent of TYCHO 4144 329 2's. These are unusually high amounts, which Melis described as "spectacular" in comparison to other stars that are known to be not-young.

TYCHO 4144 329 2 orbits a companion star that has a mass similar to that of our sun; a second generation of planets is not forming around this companion, which appears to be an ordinary old star in all respects. By studying this companion star, the astronomers have deduced that TYCHO 4144 329 2 is just 200 light-years from Earth - very close by astronomical standards. They do not know precise age of TYCHO 4144 329 2, or BP Piscium's age or distance from Earth.

The astronomers are continuing to study these stars with a variety of ground-based telescopes and with space-based observatories, including NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, and they are searching for additional similar stars.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
University of California
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Rutgers And Penn State Astronomy Teams Discover Ancestors Of Milky Way-Type Galaxies
New Brunswick NJ (SPX) Jan 09, 2008
Astronomers at Rutgers and Penn State universities have discovered galaxies in the distant universe that are ancestors of spiral galaxies like our Milky Way. These ancient objects, some of the first galaxies ever to form, are being observed as they looked when the universe was a mere two billion years old. Today, scientists peg the universe's age at 13.7 billion years, so light from these galaxies traveled almost 12 billion years to reach Earth.







  • Environmental Tectonics NASTAR Center Announces Launch Of New Air And Space Adventure Programs
  • NASA inspector general comes under fire
  • ATK To Design And Build Solar Arrays For NASA's Orion CEV
  • SpaceDev Completes Completes Flight Test Plan For Dream Chaser

  • Ice Clouds Put Mars In The Shade
  • Scientists examine effects of wind on Mars
  • 2007 WD5 Mars Collision Effectively Ruled Out As Impact Odds Widen To 1 In 10000
  • Russia claims to be ahead in race to put man on Mars

  • Russia To Launch Two Telecom Satellites On Jan 28 And Feb 10
  • Boosting Capability: Santa Maria Station To Join ESTRACK
  • Thuraya-3 Satellite Successfully Launched To Orbit
  • Russia's First Space Launch Of 2008 Scheduled For January 28

  • SPACEHAB Subsidiary Wins NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory Contract
  • Radical New Lab Fights Disease Using Satellites
  • SKorea decides to terminate satellite: space agency
  • Japanese satellite flops at map-making: official

  • Happy Second Birthday New Horizons
  • The PI's Perspective: Autumn 2007: Onward to the Kuiper Belt
  • Data For The Next Generations
  • Goddard Instrument Makes Cover Of Science

  • NASA And Gemini Probe Mysterious Distant Explosion
  • Unusual Older Stars Giving Birth To Second Wave Of Planets
  • Rutgers And Penn State Astronomy Teams Discover Ancestors Of Milky Way-Type Galaxies
  • The Violent Lives Of Galaxies: Caught In The Cosmic Dark Matter Web

  • Amateur Radio Operators Asked To Tune Into Lunar Radar Bounce
  • With Moon Dirt In Demand, Geoscientist's Business Is Booming
  • NASA Announces Study Human Lunar Lander Design As Students Line Up For Moonbuggy Races
  • NASA Quest To Find Water On The Moon Moves Closer To Launch

  • Integral Systems Awarded Contract For GPS Next Gen Control Segment
  • Mercedes-Benz Moves To Evaluation Stage Of Columbus' Product
  • GPS Devices And Systems Will Surpass 900 Million Unit Shipments By 2013
  • Comtech Telecommunications Receives Movement Tracking System Orders

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement