Monday, June 22, 2009

Standard theories cannot explain the size of many exoplanets

The size of many exoplanets (planets discovered outside our solar system) defy explanation by standard theories. (New Scientist) But a new theory by Princeton University astronomer Laurent Ibgui suggests elliptical orbits are the cause for some unusually large gas giants.

Following an elliptical orbit, a gas giant would be "squeezed and stretched" as they get closer and then move away from their stars (the gas would expand when the planet is closer, warmer). This would result in "tidal heating", an effect than can last for a billion years, goes the theory.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.