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Possible Baby Picture of a Giant Planet

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the planets-first-spin dept.

Space 32

astroengine writes "Acquired by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT), an infrared observation shows a portion of the disk of gas and dust around the star HD 100546, located 335 light-years away in the constellation Musca. By physically blocking out the light from the star itself by means of an opaque screen, the light from the protoplanetary disk around HD 100546 can be seen, revealing a large bright clump that's thought to be a planet in the process of formation (PDF). If it is indeed a baby planet, it's a big one — as large as, or perhaps even larger than, Jupiter."

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Aawwwww (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#43064389)

Jupiter was soooo cute when it was just an asteroid. Just look at that little adorable red spot!

Re:Aawwwww (3, Funny)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 2 years ago | (#43064559)

We need to throw it a baby shower!

Re:Aawwwww (4, Interesting)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 years ago | (#43064623)

what an amazing time to be alive... pictures of a planet forming hundreds of light years away... how long will it be until we find one that's just right, and start planning a trip with orion?

Re:Aawwwww (3, Informative)

Titan1080 (1328519) | about 2 years ago | (#43064935)

depends on how long it takes one of the asteroid mining companies to hollow out the generation ship for the trip.

Re:Aawwwww (0)

jez9999 (618189) | about 2 years ago | (#43066003)

Trouble is, when we get there we'll discover that's what it was like a million years ago, and now it's turned into another Venus. :-)

Re:Aawwwww (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | about 2 years ago | (#43065831)

Remember that time you got drops of it in your hair?

Re:Aawwwww (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 2 years ago | (#43068767)

We need to throw it a baby shower!

Perhaps a meteor shower?

Solved! (1)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | about 2 years ago | (#43064427)

Looks like a picture to me. Rest easy folks.

Re:Solved! (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#43064457)

I was going to get annoyed at TFA for showing an 'artists conception' of the protoplanet but then I glanced at the paper. The pictures there look like a doughnut that ate a bunch of psilocybin. Had to squint and cross my eyes before I could figure out what the authors where talking about.

I want to see actual pixels, dammit.

Re:Solved! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43064689)

No kidding. What the hell is it with these science stories of astronomers finding a picture of something that require an artists impression of said picture to be up front and at the top of the article?

Astronomers take a picture of the accretion disk of a black hole. So here is a picture of what an artist thinks it looks like.

Astronomers take a picture of an earth sized planet light years away. So here is a picture of what an artist thinks it looks like.

Astronomers take a picture of a star getting devoured by a black hole. So here is a picture of what an artist thinks it looks like.

I hate to imagine what the artist's impression of the Pale Blue Dot [wikipedia.org] photo would look like today.

Re:Solved! (1)

steelfood (895457) | about 2 years ago | (#43067199)

Because the actual image is not very pleasing to the eyes. Usually, astronomers are working with individual pixels. They're also working with multiple images of the same object taken at different wavelengths.

For the untrained eye, the actual images would look like noise zoomed-in at the pixel level. I'm not sure the science journalists who write and edit these things would be willing to make pixelated blobs the primary image of their article. You should count yourself lucky to even see them in the body of the article.

Re:Solved! (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#43070921)

For the untrained eye, the actual images would look like noise zoomed-in at the pixel level. I'm not sure the science journalists who write and edit these things would be willing to make pixelated blobs the primary image of their article.

'cause you know, that would make the headline seem like a load of bull and disappoint readers. It doesn't do much to help the public image of the scientists either.

OTOH I saw an hour long video of some NASA woman explaining the Kepler mission. It was fan-fucking-tastic and showed how they analyze data that's just a pixel or 2 and determine how many planets some stars have. It showed how you take a visually useless image and get real information from it.

So the failing is on the authors who either don't know enough or don't care enough to write high quality stuff.

Re:Solved! (2)

Artraze (600366) | about 2 years ago | (#43069101)

> What the hell is it with these science stories of astronomers finding a picture of something that require an
> artists impression of said picture to be up front and at the top of the article?

Because they don't find a picture in the first place? They find about ~100 pixels at best from a number of different wavelengths (usually not like what we can see to boot). Most people can't really understand what's going on in such images, and they aren't generally very interesting. The artist can take data from the various images and current theory and construct a picture that looks good and gives a more meaningful representation than the raw data.
Also, if you want the actual pictures just click the second or third links (the paper and another "science story" respectively). That's usually a given so it's a bit silly to complain about the practices of a few news outlets when people wanting the raw data can so easily find it.

In this particular case, though, I will grant you that the infrared picture is uncommonly scrutable and the artist's interpretation is particularly bad. The former has a lot to do, I'd expect, with this being a particularly distant planet (~47AU, about Pluto's maximum distance) so the interference from the star is more manageable. When it comes to the hot supergiants or maybe X-ray images of black holes, for example, they often have some value.

> I hate to imagine what the artist's impression of the Pale Blue Dot [wikipedia.org] photo would look like today.

I guess this is hyperbole because obviously what makes the Pale Blue Dot interesting is that it's a real photo from far away. There's no value in an artists interpretation because we already know what Earth looks like. If we didn't, though, and the Pale Blue Dot was the best image we had, I'd probably like to see an artists interpretation, based sampling spectographic information, distance from the sun, etc to come up with what the planet might look like.

Re:Solved! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43065061)

Bingo.

If I wanted an artists conception of something I could visit the Louvre.

Fucking crap article from /. and the link

Re:Solved! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 2 years ago | (#43065541)

If I wanted an artists conception of something I could visit the Louvre.

Luckily, the actual paper [google.com] can be found though a link in TFA. The images in question are at the top of pages 3 and 4. An artist's impression was probably thought necessary for the less erudite (i.e. the ignorant masses, including most graduates in business and liberal arts).

Re:Solved! (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#43065477)

You mean this picture [bit.ly] ? I don't see it.

Baby Huey? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43064467)

Sell the IP holders the naming rights?

*shrugs* would sure beat getting sued over just using a name like that which should have long since been public domain. Now what other big baby names could they tell them they are in competition with for the naming rights? Of course could just call it a parody and move along but IANAL.

Watch out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43064549)

Those space storks are HUGE.

Nifty (4, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#43064687)

When I was a youth the idea that there were other planets in other solar systems was pure science fiction. Now we can an at least semi credible chance we we can actually directly see a planet in the making. At times like this I wish I was an astronomer instead for a living. I think this has got to be the golden age of astronomy that we are in now.

Think about it, we are in the age when books written, with good intentions, by well respected figures from even twenty years ago are so far out of date that they should not be used anymore. We have learned so much in the last twenty years it makes me wonder if we will ever again see a period of time like this in the future.

Re:Nifty (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#43064775)

We have learned so much in the last twenty years it makes me wonder if we will ever again see a period of time like this in the future.

We will be dead by when a new "astronomy golden age" will come.... the current one hasn't yet finished.

Re:Nifty (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#43064867)

I think he was talking about it happening in other fields.

I, for one, would like to see a "golden age of interplanetary exploration", since that's a logical next step.

Re:Nifty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43065269)

I like this idea. Engage.

Re:Nifty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43065313)

Do you have any references to these vastly out of date books that you are talking about? Exoplanets were never sci-fi, and the first confirmed one was in 1988. Twenty years ago was 1993. I wonder what this tendency is among geeks for reverse nostalgia and hyperbole?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrasolar_planet [wikipedia.org]

Re:Nifty (2)

MadKeithV (102058) | about 2 years ago | (#43065383)

You know you're getting old when someone says "that was twenty years ago", and you still think of the eighties.

Re:Nifty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43068831)

We're also in the golden age in the sense that, in a few thousands of years in the far flung future, we won't be able to see much past our own galaxy. Expansion will have pushed everything farther away than light will have time to travel to earth.

Re:Nifty (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#43077919)

What I find nifty is that this is actually happening right now. If it is only 335 lightyears away, then the image is 335 years old. This is not some image of a supernova that happened and the soon-to-be-ex-star was in fact already gone. but the formation of a planet is sloooooow. We can be watching this now for a long while (longer than our lives) and get a lot of information from it. As telescopes get better, we'll get a better view too.

Goldilocks (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#43064781)

Nap time story for a planet.

Goldilocks said, "This planet is too hot. This planet is too cold. But this planet is just right!"

prediction/bet (1)

Titan1080 (1328519) | about 2 years ago | (#43064925)

We will find a verifiable, habitable and/or inhabited exo-planet by 2030.

Maybe it will shine a Moon, as well ...? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#43065685)

That ought to be very interesting for astro-folks. They have a lot of theories of how our Moon was created. This would actually allow them to observe that process, as well.

Krikit (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#43065853)

It must be Krikit with the dust cloud of HAL...

boy do I hate the obligatory artist's impression (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#43071093)

Natura artis magistra.

31 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43073719)

Now this story has 31 comments.

You're welcome.

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