Thursday, January 10, 2013

Zombie Planet....

Astronomers have found a mysterious 'zombie' planet circling a vast debris disc inside the 'Eye of Sauron' star system.

The newly released NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of the eye shaped star, officially called Fomalhaut, and a mysterious planet, called Fomalhaut b, may provide forensic evidence of a titanic planetary disruption in the system.

Astronomers were surprised to find the debris belt is wider than previously known, spanning a section of space from 14 to nearly 20 billion miles from the star.

The images have also allowed a team of astronomers to calculate that the planet follows an unusual elliptical orbit that carries it on a potentially destructive path through the vast dust ring.

The planet, called Fomalhaut b, swings as close to its star as 4.6 billion miles, and the outermost point of its orbit is 27 billion miles away from the star.

It has been dubbed a 'zombie planet' because after its discovery in 2008 it was instead thought to be a dust cloud, until it was resurrected in 2012 after new observations.
Photos and video at the link above.

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