September 17, 2007

Alien Planet Dense as Balsa Wood (TrES-4)

This artists depiction represents a newly confirmed gas giant named TrES-4. At more than 70% larger than Jupiter, it contains about 3/4 of Jupiter's mass.
Orbiting its star t a mere 4.5 million miles, the surface temperature on TrES-4 is super-heated to over 2,000 degrees Farenheit.
After doing the math, Manduchev, a Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Surveyor, says that this makes the density approximately that of balsa wood.
Manduchev says, "At this point the most valuable thing about this study is [that] it presents a challenge to our theoretical models. Most advances in science come from confrontations just like this one."
The solar system certainly is becoming a very strange place. The great thing about the field of astronomy and astrophysics is that we're always proven wrong and we currently are reworking our models.