Zombie planet Fomalhaut b may be on a “potentially destructive path”

Jan 9, 2013
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Zombie planet Fomalhaut b may be on a “potentially destructive path”

The zombie planet saw a return from the dead back at the end of October 2012, however based on some new information, this planet may be on what is being referred to as rogue orbit. Or rather simply, it was said that the planet is in an "unusual" elliptical orbit and that it is currently moving further away from its home star.

Touching a little on the back story here, the zombie planet is actually called, Fomalhaut b. This planet is about three times the size of Jupiter and according to astronomers, it is the first planet ever imaged in visible light. The zombie planet name arrived back in October when researchers confirmed (by way of the Hubble) that the "sharp inner edge of the ring is consistent with the presence of a planet that gravitationally “shepherds” ring particles."

In other words, the return to being a planet and the name zombie. Previous history aside though, the future for this planet is not looking all that certain at the moment. This stems back to the previously mentioned "unusual" elliptical orbit which according to astronomers, has it on a potentially destructive path. These astronomers noted that the planet is stuck in an orbit that is taking it through the star system's debris disk.

And at the same time, the zombie planet continues to move farther away from its home star. Further research notes that these items (the orbit and it moving away) combined could be clues to a future planetary disruption in the system. In other words, this star system could collapse at some point and perhaps more exciting for astronomers here on earth -- given this system is 25 light years from us, it could potentially offer something to see.

[via Science Recorder]


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