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back to article Boffins spot LONE PLANET roaming interstellar void

It's just a drifter in a big, cold universe, but it's causing excitement among the astronomers that spotted it: 80 light years away, there's a young planet six times the size of Jupiter, that isn't orbiting any star. While its loneliness makes the planet, PSO J318.5-22, unique in astronomical discoveries to date, it's also a …

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Anonymous Coward

A planet?

A planet? Don't you know your classics.... this is the Dark Star !!!! Darth Vador is coming for us :-)

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Re: A planet?

Mixing your memes a bit there AC.

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Re: A planet?

No he isn't. He is Hotblack Desiato's bodyguard, and he is responsible for his body, and he is not responsible for yours. So take it away before it gets damaged.

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Mushroom

Re: A planet?

I can confirm it's not Moonbase Alpha. I saw the crescent moon last night, still in orbit.

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Joke

Re: A planet?

It wasn't a cresent moon; it was a fully moon. That's all that's left of it; the rest is shooting off through the galaxy somewhere.

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Re: A planet?

it's He, but not under spindizzy drive yet.

Phil.

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Anonymous Coward

Imagine

Imagine if you were stuck in orbit around it, in a damaged spaceship with no communications. You might keep a diary, with decreasingly rational entries, until you start recording your suspicions that the ship's computer is plotting against you. Meanwhile, the ship's computer (damaged due to EMP bursts emanating from PSO J318.5-22), becomes increasingly homicidal. After a number of near death experiences, you flee the ship and head to a small moon in orbit around the planet.

Once there you switch on your communicator, and hear a rambling discourse from the ship's computer, ending with it begging for your forgiveness. It says it has managed to make repairs, and wants to rescue you.

You forgive the computer, then place the communicator on the ground and hide in a nearby cave.

A few minutes later there is a huge explosion as the ship's computer powers the ship at high speed into the moon at the exact spot where you left the communicator.

You are alone now. You miss the computer, which seems fitting because it also missed you.

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Re: Imagine

"You might keep a diary, with decreasingly rational entries..."

Would that be the "Lonely Planet" guide to the Lonely Planet?

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Headmaster

Re: Imagine

Imagine hearing a rambling discourse on your communicator from the computer on a spaceship with no communications ;-)

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Re: Imagine

So you think the BBC should buy it? Fan of theirs, are we?

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@Awil Onmearse (Re: Imagine)

Unless the computer wasn't lying, and it had actually made repairs.

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Re: @Awil Onmearse (Imagine)

Not bad. Something practically out of a Philip K. Dick "collected stories".

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Anonymous Coward

Daleks

Is this not the beginning of the Dalek planet slurping plan? If the boffins suddenly find it has a companion I'm going to hide under the stairs.

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Re: Daleks

A better idea would be to hide somewhere upstairs. At least that was the old advice, I'm not sure if it's the case anymore.

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Re: Daleks

They've forgotten him. But still best to hide. Just DON'T BLINK (especially if you live in the south of Manhattan or Staten Island).

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Re: Daleks

They can fly now. There is no escape.

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Re: Daleks

They still can't look up or down though!

...not sure that helps..sorry.

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Alien

Re: Daleks

Don't you all know? The only place that you're safe from all of Dr Who's enemies is behind the sofa?

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Re: Daleks

I always found that hiding behind a large cushion or your Dad worked too. Now that I am a Dad I'm thinking there is a flaw in this theory ...

Unless in becoming a Dad you acquire invulnerability to DWE's. Or perhaps you just acquire the appearance of such invulnerability. Hmmm.

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Re: Daleks

All Dads have super-powers ... ask any 6YO.

The ability to dispell all fear of creepy crawlies, imaginanary friends that have gotten toxic, and the various forms of bogeymen is one of the the best reasons to be a Dad ... that and the license to tell "Dad Jokes"

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Re: Daleks

"Unless in becoming a Dad you acquire invulnerability to DWE's."

Nah, granddads have invulnerability to DWE's.

All due to our possessing the universal ultimate weapon.

"Pull my finger."

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Naming of astral bodies

I'm going for 'The littlest hobo', and if you're over 40 you're now humming the theme tune...

#Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down... #

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Re: Naming of astral bodies

I'll be 42 in just under 2 days' time, and yes yes I am humming that tune. I HATE YOU!

Still 3 comments in a few minutes, my fellow commentards must be good.

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Re: Naming of astral bodies

Hey - you don't have to be over 40 to know that tune... i'm *only* 31 and i know the tune!

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Re: Naming of astral bodies

Kids. Always going one better. *rolls eyes*

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Re: Naming of astral bodies

Surely it should be named 'Kim-Jong-il' on account of being so ronery......

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Re: Naming of astral bodies

Down voted for still being under 40 and 9 years better off than me.

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DCA

Re: Naming of astral bodies

You are very, very cruel. I must now implant a worm to remove that from my head.

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*engage Arnold Rimmer mode* it's aliens

Lister: Your explanation for anything slightly peculiar is aliens, isn't it? You lose your keys, it's aliens. A picture falls off the wall, it's aliens. That time we used up a whole bog roll in a day, you thought that was aliens as well.

Rimmer: Well we didn't use it all, Lister. Who did?

Lister: Rimmer, ALIENS used our bog roll?

Rimmer: Just cause they're aliens doesn't mean to say they don't have to visit the little boys' room. Only they probably do something weird and alien-esque, like it comes out of the top of their heads or something.

Lister: Well I wouldn't like to be stuck behind one in a cinema.

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Thought for the day.

Which is lonelier, that little star or the earth....

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It's 'He'

Coming visiting.

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Re: It's 'He'

Damn, you beat me to it - another old timer! Can't see New York yet.

Phil.

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Re: It's 'He'

Dunno about NY, but maybe we should be looking out for the Orbital Fort :)

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Nah..

It's the Pierson's Puppeteers heading out of the galaxy before it goes fooom....

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Re: Nah..

Where´s the Klemperer rosette then?

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Re: Nah..

Designed by Puppeteer Ballmer. It wouldn't fly.

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Alien

No, it's.....

Krikkit!

The size is misleading - what they are seeing is the dust cloud surrounding Krikkit.

I wonder if they still sing those wonderful songs? At only 80 ly away, we should be able to pick up their radio transmissions one of these days.

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Alien

Obviously it's a Dyson's Sphere. Camouflaged with gas emissions. Hence no star y'see...

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Headmaster

Re: Dyson Sphere

Probably not. Assuming when they talk about size they're referring to mass, and assuming the average density of large gas giants to be similar (i.e. this has approximately the same density as Jupiter despite being 6 times more massive), then the ratio of radii is the cube-root of the size multiple, so in this case the cube-root of 6 = 1.817, so slightly less than twice the radius, or slightly more than 3.5 times the diameter if you prefer.

(NB: if they were talking about ACTUAL dimensions, then 6 times the ACTUAL size would of course make it 216 times more massive for the same density, although it is theorised that Jupiter is about as 'big' as a planet can get before the additional mass causes it to become 'smaller' but more dense - see the Jupiter wiki article.)

This gives it an approx. radius of about 126k km. Bit on the small side for a Dyson sphere - unless it was a very small, relatively cool star. For reference, Jupiter would need to be about 75 times more massive to fuse hydrogen properly and be a red dwarf. 50 times the mass and it'd probably be a brown dwarf in itself. This exoplanet still has a way to go then.

I'm sure someone will correct my maths if I've made a balls-up somewhere!

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Re: Dyson Sphere

Since we've finally managed to start a technical strand to this forum, can anyone tell me if this is technically a planet at all - my understanding was that Planets had to orbit a star, otherwise they were asteroids, comets or whatever, though I do realise that this one is "a little" unusual!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dyson Sphere

" Assuming when they talk about size they're referring to mass"

How can they tell its mass when it isn't orbiting anything?

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re Technically a planet?

Sorry, mate, you got drowned in memes again. FWIW, planet is from the Greek for 'wanderer', and this one is surely wandering!

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Re: re Technically a planet?

Literally correct, but otherwise confusing etymology and sociology. Are we sure there is no star it is (not) orbiting? Why, just the other week, they found another star in the Fomalhaut configuration. Obviously what they need is a Bigger Telescope (or perhaps a Bigger Machine to run a Bigger Database).

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Trollface

Re: Dyson Sphere

[4 BenR] To paraphrase my daughter when being told we were going to visit Kennedy Space Center:

"Blah blah science. Blah blah math."

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Anonymous Coward

Best not to turn it off then, lest we be turned into motiles to serve our great overlord MorningLightMountain :)

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Re: Dyson Sphere

> "Blah blah science. Blah blah math."

Your really want to introduce your daughter to Portal. And feed her potatoes

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Re: Dyson Sphere

"Since we've finally managed to start a technical strand to this forum, can anyone tell me if this is technically a planet at all"

-> Well that's actually a good one. Jupiter could (only semi accurately) be described as a "failed star" so presumably this discovery is a gas giant with the composition required for a star, but without the mass required to ignite and it would stand to reason that it will have stuff orbiting it that we can't see with the technology we are using.

Logically, you'd expect there would be quite a lot of these things around so i'm sure they will be spotted in the decades to come.

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Moonbase Alpha?

Which has escaped from a parallel universe by any chance?

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Alien

Re: Moonbase Alpha?

or an Excession!!

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Pint

Clearly the work of a Vogon Constructor Fleet.

They just missed a bit.

Beer, because I bet Vogons don't drink Carling Black Label.

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