ScienceCasts: Weird Planets

ScienceCasts: Weird Planets

[ music ] Weird Planets – presented by [email protected] News flash: The Milky Way galaxy just got a little weirder. Back in 2011 astronomers were amazed when NASA's Kepler spacecraft discovered a planet orbiting a double star system. Such a world, they realized, would have double sunsets and sunrises just like the fictional planet Tatooine in the movie Star Wars. Yet this planet was real. Now Kepler has discovered a whole system of planets orbiting a double star. The star system, known as Kepler-47, is located 4,900 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. Two stars orbit one another at the center of the system: One is similar to the sun in size, but only 84 percent as bright. The second star is smaller, only one-third the size of the sun and less than 1 percent as bright. Kepler found two planets orbiting this mismatched pair. 'The presence of a full-fledged planetary system orbiting Kepler-47 is an amazing discovery,' says Greg Laughlin, professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Science at the University of California in Santa Cruz. '[This is going to change the way we think about the formation of planets.]' The inner planet, Kepler-47b, closely circles the pair of stars, completing each orbit in less than 50 days. Astronomers think it is a sweltering world, where the destruction of methane in its super-heated atmosphere might lead to a thick global haze. Kepler-47b is about three times the size of Earth. The outer planet, Kepler-47c, orbits every 303 days. This puts it in the system's habitable zone, a band of orbits that are 'just right' for liquid water to exist on the surface of a planet. But does this planet even have a surface? Possibly not. The astronomers think it is a gas giant slightly larger than Neptune. The discovery of planets orbiting double stars means that planetary systems are even weirder and more abundant than previously thought. 'Many stars are part of multiple-star systems where two or more stars orbit one another. The question always has been — do they have planets and planetary systems?' says William Borucki, Kepler mission principal investigator at NASA's Ames Research Center. 'This Kepler discovery proves that they do.' Our own sun is a single, isolated star, with a relatively simple gravitational field that rules the motions of the planets orbiting it. But, as Borucki points out, not all stars are single. Astronomers estimate that more than half of the stars in the galaxy have companions. There are double, triple and even quadruple star systems. Any planets in such systems would have to navigate a complex gravitational field, tugged in multiple directions by multiple stars. In fact, for many years, astronomers doubted that planets could even form in such an environment. Kepler-47 erases those doubts-and poses a conundrum: 'These planets are very difficult to form using the currently accepted paradigm,' says Laughlin. 'I believe that theorists, myself included, will be going back to the drawing board to try to improve our understanding of how planets are assembled in [the dusty gaseous disks that surround many young stars.]' The Kepler spacecraft is on a mission to find Earth-like planets that might support life. Says Borucki: 'In our search for habitable worlds, we have just found more opportunities for life to exist.' For more news about weird planets-in the solar system and beyond- visit

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46 thoughts on “ScienceCasts: Weird Planets

  1. True i agree all the information they have there is other systems with double or triple suns
    -Alan Rojas

  2. /watch?v=ilNY35XtyYw watch this or skip to 36 min into it but you should watch the whole thing or the first 50 min

  3. theres a type planet orbit that orbits like an oval and goes really close to the sun then far away past all the other planets and that would explain planet x if we had one but why would the gov keep the a secret it would be pointless there are many planets like that in other solar systems though

  4. didnt find any thing that proved it and if there was a 10th planet, planet x it wouldnt look like a sun as it past by

  5. Please explain why we never saw two suns on dec 2012.
    Please explain why you posted such a stupid comment.
    Please talk about it.

  6. I'am Agree With your Idea.If there is a Moon like Titan It may be rich of living beings.. because titan has very thick atmosphere what critically need for a life.

  7. If they find more of these systems out there they should name one of the planets "Gallifrey"!! ;D

  8. We are just scratching the surface. I am so fascinated by these discoveries and I believe our understanding of space is still pretty damn basic. There's soooooooooooooooooooo much more to learn.


  10. Kepler-47b might be size of Neptune- therefore making it less earth-like…

    However, Neptune have thirteen moons, making it possible that maybe Kepler-47b might have natural satellites that supports life. 😀

  11. We can only hope that if we find intelligent life it will be friendly and not hostile especially if its more advanced then our race.

  12. You know thats probably not really that weird. Only to us because we orbit 1 sun. There are soooo many possibilities in the universe there probably are alot of planets that have multpile suns. I was watching a video on distant planets the other day and they mentioned a planet that had 3 suns in its solar system..

  13. Yeah and thats just the KNOWN planets. Thereis a new study saying that there is most likely at least 1 planet capable of supporting life in 1 in 6 solar systems. If that is true then that would mean that there are actually millions of stars just in our galaxy that can support life, and then there is millions more galaxies yet to be discovered. Just thinking about it is mind blowing.

  14. Well no duh… There are possible thousands of known planets that can support life in our galaxy alone and seeing as there could be millions of galaxys, I don't think we are alone.

  15. we believe that in the heart of large gas giants there may in fact be a surface…like Jupiter we believe has a metallic hydrogen core.

  16. I can't believe they didn't think a planet could form like this…come on, we see planets orbiting pulsars, why wouldn't we find them in multi-star star systems?

  17. so someone answer this question for me…a huge gassy planet that has no surface, would we were driving a spaceship, could we just go through the planet? assuming the ship could withstand the storms and pressure/gravity.?

  18. Lol how did I end up watching this vid???
    O was listening to bvb sweet blessphany and ended up watching this!?!?
    My computer must be a ninja!!!!

  19. thos planets not weird. they fine.
    what weird is how mcdonald always pop up
    or laser pointers for cats.

  20. Planet X which is commonly known as Nibiru is on its way.
    It's a Planet so it doesn't give out light.
    It'll only look like a second Sun when it's close to the Sun to reflect the light & heat.
    It'll cause serious natural disasters on Earth but I don't think it'll be the end of the World.

  21. No one will explain because there is not one. I know the whole brown dwarf rouge planet in the ort belt idea. Trust me, if it was on its way it would already look like another sun in the night sky. If it's too far for that, beyond the edge of the solar system, how the hell is it going to get here in 3 months? Faster than the speed of light? NASA can identified a galaxy nearly thirteen billion light years away this month, I think they could see a gigantic mystery planet/star in our solar system.

  22. Please talk about our weird 10th Planet (Planet X) which is a floating planet.
    Please explain why it takes 3,600 years to reappear & get so close to the Sun.
    Please explain why coming Dec 2012 we'll see 2 Suns in the sky due to Planet X.

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