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Fomalhaut C Has a Huge Cometary Debris Ring And, Potentially, Exoplanets

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the ready-to-stake-my-claim dept.

Space 32

astroengine writes "Astronomers scoping-out the vicinity of the famous star Fomalhaut have discovered that its mysterious stellar sister is also sporting a rather attractive ring of comets. Located 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Austrinus, Fomalhaut A is one of the brightest stars in Southern Hemisphere skies. The bright blue giant is notable in that it hosts a gigantic ring of cometary debris and dust. Fomalhaut C is a red dwarf star and was only confirmed to be gravitationally bound Fomalhaut A and Fomalhaut B in October. Fomalhaut is therefore a triple, or trinary, star system. The small red dwarf star may be the proverbial runt of the Fomalhaut stellar litter, but it appears to share some common ground with its larger sibling. 'It's very rare to find two comet belts in one system, and with the two stars 2.5 light years apart this is one of the most widely separated star systems we know of,' said astronomer Grant Kennedy, of the University of Cambridge and lead researcher of this work. 'It made us wonder why both Fomalhaut A and C have comet belts, and whether the belts are related in some way.' One of the reasons why Fomalhaut A's cometary disk is so bright is down to the presence of its exoplanet, stirring up comet collisions. Fomalhaut C may be experiencing the same mechanism."

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so famous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45731187)

i've never heard of it

Re:so famous (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#45731523)

i've never heard of it

It's also known as The Eye of Sauron [wikimedia.org]

Re:so famous (2)

sunwukong (412560) | about 8 months ago | (#45733233)

Also known as Cthugha [wikipedia.org] .

Re:so famous (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#45738113)

Also written about by damned near every sci-fi writer there ever was. I'm wondering what someone who has never heard of it is doing at slashdot? Since he's AC he's probably a jocktroll. The lack of capitalization suggests he's a young jocktroll who wishes he was smart enough to be a nerd.

Word life (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45731207)

This is basic thuganomics.

Isn't "exo" a bit redundant here? (3, Insightful)

caywen (942955) | about 8 months ago | (#45731245)

To say another star has an exoplanet seems redundant. Why not just say it has planets?

In fact, seems to me that all stars have exoplanets, by definition.

Re:Isn't "exo" a bit redundant here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45731333)

It's not only redundant, but it's wrong; you're right, the IAU are horrible.

Re:Isn't "exo" a bit redundant here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45731341)

To say another star has an exoplanet seems redundant. Why not just say it has planets?

In fact, seems to me that all stars have exoplanets, by definition.

Speaking of planets, Pluto IS a planet - Earth, unfortunately is not, you human scum.

Re:Isn't "exo" a bit redundant here? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#45731793)

To say another star has an exoplanet seems redundant. Why not just say it has planets?

In fact, seems to me that all stars have exoplanets, by definition.

Exi-planets would probably mean something like, they are being absorbed into the star.

Exo-planets is the sort of thing we live on. Scienterrific types like terminology, it's what they write White Papers with rather than "Y'know, there's like a bunch of stuff out there", which is meaningful, but isn't going to get you anywhere in a scientific body.

Re:Isn't "exo" a bit redundant here? (2)

similar_name (1164087) | about 8 months ago | (#45732619)

Planets orbit Sol. An exoplanet is a planet that orbits any star that is not named Sol. Maybe it's useful to say 'we've discovered X number of exoplanets' at this point of discovery, but I imagine it will get dropped eventually. Scientist don't usually stick with anthropocentric terminology.

Re:Isn't "exo" a bit redundant here? (1)

Urkki (668283) | about 8 months ago | (#45735971)

To say another star has an exoplanet seems redundant. Why not just say it has planets?

For practically all practical purposes, everybody who uses both words "planet" and "exoplanet" in practice, the difference matters. Language is a tool, and it is practical to have words which are a compromise which between avoiding ambiguity, being short, being consistent, and being practical.

For example, now and at least several decades into future, you can resolve the disk of "planets" with telescopes, and even see most of them with Eyeball Mk1. Contrast this to "exoplanets", at best for a few cases you can capture a few photons you can be pretty sure came from the "exoplanet", and this is not going to improve much until most if not all current IAU members, who decided on the terminology, are pushing daisies.

Aw crap (3, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 8 months ago | (#45731263)

Fomalhaut C? I thought we left all that vendor-based extension stuff behind when we finally got ANSI C.

Re:Aw crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45731473)

At first I read it as "huge cemetery debris" and I was like "ffs, if you're going to make formaldehyde C, at least don't bring a shit ton of legacy crap!"

Re:Aw crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45731515)

Hurr hurr. U as funnay as Carlos Mencia!

Re: Aw crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45732369)

Or Dane Cook.

Re: Aw crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45732769)

Ouch! Ice buuurn!

Re:Aw crap (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 8 months ago | (#45731527)

Aye. If it was good enough for K&R, it's good enough for me. Function prototypes and void are for sissies.

Re:Aw crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45734533)

Fomalhaut C? I thought we left all that vendor-based extension stuff behind when we finally got ANSI C.

We never did that. Pretty much all compilers have their quirks.

Porting hell is real and very prominent in for example software that is written for gcc in a way to be portable among many architectures. Trying to compile it with another compiler isn't fun.

link to the triple-star discovery (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#45731271)

As the summary notes, it was only recently discovered that this system has three gravitationally bound stars, making it the widest such group currently known. Paper from a few months ago [arxiv.org] on the arXiv, and a news write-up [phys.org] of that.

Re:link to the triple-star discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45732043)

"A student at the time, Jennifer Bartlett at the University of Virginia, was working with us on a sample of potentially nearby stars for her Ph.D. thesis, and LP876-10 was on it. Eric and I got to talking, and here we are with a cool discovery."

Sounds like another case of the grad student losing the credit she deserved.

Re:link to the triple-star discovery (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#45732149)

Jennifer Bartlett does seem to be 2nd author on the linked paper (out of 14 authors). It's true the news story doesn't seem to have interviewed her or given much credit, though.

Re:link to the triple-star discovery (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45732237)

The cool part: ""Fomalhaut C looks quite far apart from the big, bright star that is Fomalhaut A when you look up at the sky from Earth," added Mamajek. There are roughly 5.5 degrees between the two stars, which is as if they were separated by roughly 11 full moons for an observer on Earth. Mamajek explained that they look this far apart, in part, because Fomalhaut is relatively close to Earth as stars go – approximately 25 light years."

Re:link to the triple-star discovery (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45732507)

The width of the tips of three fingers when held at arm's length is used by amateur astronomers as a a quick approximation of a 5 degree arc.

Thanks for the links (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45733463)

I appreciate the source links, thanks --- discovery.com is utterly unusable owing to Javascript infestation.

multiple star viewpoints? (1)

ndwelsh007 (3461959) | about 8 months ago | (#45731485)

is it true that ground shakes and multiple star viewpoints appear?

Re:multiple star viewpoints? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45732199)

I, for one, have no idea what you mean.

Re:multiple star viewpoints? (1)

ndwelsh007 (3461959) | about 8 months ago | (#45732737)

no meaning or not understood? provoke explanation?

Re:multiple star viewpoints? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#45736481)

Exactly.

Re:multiple star viewpoints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45738493)

You're writing gibberish. Gibberish such as "my hovercraft is full of eels!"

I think you should ask for your money back from that ESL class. It did you no good at all, the words you strung together have no meaning together.

fuck beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45732491)

Give us the old slashdot back.

More important things to do, like play Spelunky (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#45732679)

Wake me up when the folks from Fomalhaut C get here.

And tell them to bring beer.

Ascendancy (1)

JigJag (2046772) | about 8 months ago | (#45738649)

Whenever I hear the name Formalhaut, I think of the excellent 4X [wikipedia.org] game Ascendancy [wikipedia.org] , since it was often a name chosen for a stellar system.

If you haven't played it yet, I strongly recommend you try now. Apparently LogicFactory made a port to iDevices, but I've only played the x86 version.

JigJag

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