Good Thing We Don’t Have Two Suns

Bonnie Burton | September 12, 2007


(Tatooine’s twin suns)

According to The New York Times, astronomers are announcing that they have “discovered a planet that seems to have survived the puffing up of its home star, suggesting there is some hope that Earth could survive the aging and swelling of the Sun.”

The newly discovered planet is a gas giant at least three times as massive as Jupiter. It orbits about 150 million miles from a faint star in the constellation Pegasus known as V 391 Pegasi. But before that star blew up as a red giant sometime in the past and lost half its mass, the planet must have been about as far from its star as the Earth is to the Sun — about 90 million miles — the astronomers led by Roberto Silvotti of the Observatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy, calculated.

Dr. Silvotti said that the results showed that a planet at the Earth’s distance “can survive” the red giant and he hoped the discovery would spur searches for more like it. “With some statistics and new detailed models we will be able to say something more even to the destiny of our Earth (which, as we all know, has much more urgent problems by the way),” he said in an e-mail message.

Read more about it here:
Earth Might Survive Sun’s Explosion
(NY Times registration required)

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SOURCE
The New York Times

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