Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Miniature Solar System

It's so cool when scientists get things right. Take, for example, the (admittedly broad) theory of planet formation from a dust disc around a central star. This theory has been tossed around for decades. It's the accepted theory to go with for planet formation.

And then along comes Spitzer, with evidence to back that theory up. This is the beauty of a good scientific theory. It makes predictions and explains data. Of course, no one ever conceived of a planetary system actually forming around a brown dwarf, like the one the Spitzer 'scope found, but there's nothing in the planetary formation dust disc theory that says it can't happen. A brown dwarf, with several times the mass of Jupiter, could easily hold onto a bunch of gas and dust long enough for protoplanets to form. And from there, it's all downhill (pardon the gravity well joke).

I love science.


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"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain


Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu