Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

  1. Jul 11, 2003 #1

    Check this out. This Jupiter-sized planet is practically as old as the universe. Go figure.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    this is absolutely fascinating. it is a 10 July 2003 newsarticle
    talking about an article in "this week's Science" magazine and
    Stein Sigurdsson is at Penn State and was using the Hubble
    Space Telescope. To my pitifully conventional mind this has all
    the signs of being genuine. have to take it seriously

    They found a planet in the M4 globular cluster!!!!!!

    It has been known for a long time that globular clusters are
    very old among the oldest objects, and all the stars in them formed at about the same time, and their metal-poor spectra show they are old and their H-R diagrams are all shot to hell from old-age. Globular clusters are so extremely well studied. So this is the opposite from wild speculation.

    A planet in a globular cluster strongly indicates that at least the stars that the planet orbits are 12.7 or so billion years old.

    They found it by wobble.

    M4 cluster is 7200 light years away

    There is a whole bunch of clusters like that swarming around the MW galaxy.

    Maybe someone will think of a way the planet could have formed more recently and got attached to an old star. But the simplest explanation seems to me just what Sigurdsson said----it is a 12.7 billion year old planet. Whoah!

    Article says 100 year period, with distance to the pair of central bodies being like that from sun to Uranus or so.

    Thx quantumcarl, being told about such things is one of the biggest reasons I like coming to PF
  4. Jul 11, 2003 #3
    I guess it is back to the drawing board to come up with yet another provincially miniscule and meaningless age for the universe!!
  5. Jul 11, 2003 #4
    some feedback on that theory..

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/oldest_planet_030711.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  6. Jul 11, 2003 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    Just out of curiousity (no, I don't want to argue about it in this thread) how old do you think the universe is?
  7. Jul 11, 2003 #6
    ...on which theory?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  8. Jul 11, 2003 #7
    Re: Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    i thought the leading estimate was around 13-14 billion years?
  9. Jul 11, 2003 #8
    Re: Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    I don't think it has an age. There is no sense in assuming a creation ex nihilo....
  10. Jul 11, 2003 #9
    Re: Re: Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    There are known structures in the Universe that would have taken ~150 billion years to create.
  11. Jul 11, 2003 #10
    A minor correction.....

    One of the articles linked herein, (kleinma's link) and the one I read in the paper today, both stated that it is 2.5 times the size of Jupiter.

    (Not anything serious though, neat age, but no pictures awwwwww!)
  12. Jul 11, 2003 #11
    Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    Marcus, your knowledge of this section of the universe astounds me... that's one reason I come to PF!!!

    Wobble creates a readable wave, no? What a unique way to find planets! There is also the ecliptic method only seen when a planet eclipses its solar host... that's a lot more uncommon since the coordinates of our planet must line up with the orbit of a planet which eclipses the sun in question. ****ing far out... no kidding!

    I can see a Jupiter-like planet forming not long after the BB. I would think its a simple collection of plasmas, radiation etc... that had 1 or so billion years to congeal enough to go spherical and be caught in a sun's gravitational field.

    I mean, if a sun can form during the first billion years after the BB, why not a psuedo sun like Jupiter?
  13. Jul 11, 2003 #12
    Re: Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    The galaxies at the very limits of astronomical perception do not look embryonic whatsoever. In fact they look exactly the same and they have the very same distribution of old and young stars as the galaxies in the immediate vicinity. The furthest galaxies would have time for a mere 2 or 3 rotations!!! Do you suppose that their rotational winding structure could have formed in that time-frame?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2003
  14. Jul 11, 2003 #13

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    Yes it is! What do you think are the implications? Does this present a big problem for current theories of planet formation? Obviously some thinking must be modified, but this seems to have the overtones of a catastrophe for the standard model.
  15. Jul 11, 2003 #14
    Re: Re: Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    This is a perplexing issue when it comes to proving the age of the universe. I would suppose nothing and let the astromathematitians have fun with that one.
  16. Jul 11, 2003 #15
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 12.8 Billion Year Old Planet!

    exactly...we need not even suppose an age at all...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2003
  17. Jul 12, 2003 #16


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    how did they calculate the age of the planet?
  18. Jul 12, 2003 #17
    I'm not sure how they do it.

    It may be a similar process to calculating the age of a palientological fossil by its association with the substrate its found in. As long as it is in "situ"... (or close to the original spot is fell when the animal/plant died)

    So, when I find a Trilobite fossil in the Mesolithic layer of the geographic layers of the earth... and it seems that it has not been disturbed by humans or upheavals of volcanic or other disturbances... then i can safely say the fossil is from that period, 350 million years ago.

    so, when the astronomers find this planet in an area of the universe that suggests it is around about the original place it formed... this area, according to its red shift and other factors, helps to determine the age of the object of interest by association.

    I'm sure there are other spectral analyses that can be used to do determine an age of a celestial object.

    What is far out is that the researchers of this particular phenomenon have somehow determined that the planet used to be in a different orbit around a different sun... then was bounced out of it into its current one.

    How does one arrive at that conclusion?
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2003
  19. Jul 12, 2003 #18
    I'm going to root for an OLDER universe idea! I won't guess just how old, just OLDER!

    Maybe (just maybe) that big bang is not such a big deal after all;
    just a kind of LOCAL bang. Maybe.

  20. Jul 12, 2003 #19


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    they calculated the age of the globular cluster (of roughly a million stars) in which the planet was found

    hundreds of globular clusters have been studied carefully for
    a long time and their statistics worked out

    it's pretty well established that all the stars in a cluster formed at around the same time
    the age of the cluster can be determined from a statistical chart called its H-R diagram
    that shows that the bigger faster burners have already left the main sequence and only the littler slower burners are still
    in normal life

    glob clusters are something they seem very confident about dating

    and they tend to be old relative to spirals

    like within a billion or two billion of the overall age of the U

    that planet is in glob cluster called M4

    google has stuff on globular clusters---a favorite topic of
    study and discussion for astronomers for over 50 years
  21. Jul 12, 2003 #20
    We used to call O'Henry chocolate bars "Globular Clusters". Some of them were pretty old. One had worms, it was so old... no... that was an Eat-More.

    Thanks for the info Marcus.
  22. Jul 12, 2003 #21
    Problems with the "stellar evolution" interpretation of the HR diagram

    There are many observational inconsistencies with the "stellar evolution" interpretation of the HR diagram.

    {Phobos deleted reprinted text which could be construed as a violation of copyright law...follow the link instead}

    from :http://www.electric-cosmos.org/hrdiagr.htm
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2003
  23. Jul 12, 2003 #22
    three links with definitions:

    http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~umchuteb/agb.html [Broken]


    http://www.seds.org/~spider/spider/Vars/rCrB.html [Broken]

    specific research paper:

    http://cdsaas.u-strasbg.fr:2001/ApJ/journal/issues/ApJS/v114n1/36470/36470.html#sc4.2 [Broken]

    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  24. Jul 14, 2003 #23
    Mainly for quantumcarl:

    Just please don't confuse the O Henry candy bar with the sacred Goo Goo Cluster. The revered Goo Goo Cluster, like certain cosmic phenomena, actually improves with age.

    But, seriously folks... Galaxies collide. Asteroids are sometimes perturbed out of orbit. Why not an intragalactic analogue?

    I suspect a local star system passed too close to elements of the cluster and part of the star system was captured. It would be interesting to know whether this observation is at the 'edge' of the cluster. (The odds against this may be "astronomical" (I don't know) but I believe it's possible.)

    If not that or some other rational explanation; then we would have to re-evaluate our concept of Time, The Big Bang, etc. That's probably not going to happen.

    Thanks, Rudi
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2003
  25. Jul 14, 2003 #24


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Rudi, I had to laugh on rereading my post on this thread with all its references to "globular clusters"---now visualized as chocolate/nut confections.
    In any case I did not "get" all the excitement about this news item
    since the age question just involves the age of M4.

    The information has been around for a long time that those globs are nearly as old as the universe, so what's new? Finding that planet merely drew public attention to the fact that M4 and
    similar things are known to be very old.

    Maybe the more interesting consequences (though not so earth-shaking) of assuming that the planet is as old as M4---and not the result of some later fluke process such as you suggest----is that it would then have formed out of light elements.

    There would have been less time for heavier elements to be cooked inside an previous generation of stars and released so that they could be involved in planet formation.

    All that is at stake, so it seemed to me at least, is some ideas about whether or not heavier elements (by contributing to cores around which lighter matter can collect) play an essential role in forming planets. Maybe I'm missing something and there is more to it.

    BTW to confirm the alternative fluke possibilities----I think, maybe someone can correct me if I am mistaken, that globular clusters are compact enough that they can actually fall through (!!!) the less-dense part of a spiral galaxy disc. A swarm of more than 100 globs is actually orbiting the Milky Way, but at large distances like tens of thousands of LY. Their orbits are so long that they seldom do encounter the disc, but on the rare occasions when M4 was falling thru the MW it MIGHT in fact have been in a position to absorb disc material, maybe not enough to significantly change the statistics, but enough to account for a younger star or planet getting into the mix.

    The person who could clear up that possibility is Labguy, he posts here often and knows a lot of down to earth astronomy. Like, do globular clusters actually fall thru the MW disc on rare occasions?---he would probably know this.
  26. Jul 17, 2003 #25
    I posted an article in the last version of PF about the evidence said to confirm the fact that the Milky Way was once in a collision with another gallaxy.

    I forget the link or the name of the team to do the mapping of this anomaly. They found evidence of extragalactic material surrounding this galaxy... in a the shape of a doughnut through which we are passing.

    This adds a few more variables concerning the type of materials a globular cluster would pick up and their origin.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook