Interesting news in extra-solar planetary astronomy today:
“…it was a tremendous surprise this week when astronomers discovered planets orbiting a metal poor star.
The discovery was made by a team of researchers from the University of Texas using the 9.2-metre Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory. They found a system of two Jupiter-like planets orbiting a star that’s so low in metals that it shouldn’t have planets at all.”
This surprise has some very exciting implications. Metal poor stars are born earlier than metal rich stars like our sun are. The metal abundance (elements heavier than H or He) comes primarily from the supernova explosions of stars which were born in the first waves of star formation in the Universe and the galaxies. (The metals are formed via fusion in the incredible explosive forces of the super-nova. Any thing made out of elements heavier than H and He comes from the remnants of such an explosion – including things like you and me.)
If there are planets orbiting such early stars, then planets are probably much more common than we’ve previously thought and there are way more stars have them then we imagined.
That will lead to changes in one of the values of the Drake Equation which is used to predict the likelihood of finding other life in the galaxy.
Read the rest here: Metal Poor Star Found With Planets
(Via Universe Today.)