Monday, July 30, 2007

The Four Suns of HD 98800

click on image to enlarge
Illustration Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Explanation: How would it look to have four suns in the sky? Planets of the HD 98800 system, if they exist, would experience such a view. HD 98800 is a multiple star system about 150 light years from Earth -- right in our section of the Milky Way Galaxy. For years it has been known that HD 98800 consists of two pairs of double stars, with one pair surrounded by a disk of dust. The star pairs are located about 50 AU from each other -- in comparison just outside the orbit of Pluto. Recent data from the Earth-trailing Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, however, indicate that the dust disk has gaps that appear consistent with being cleared by planets orbiting in the disk. If so, one planet appears to be orbiting at a distance similar to Mars of our own Solar System. Pictured above is an artist's drawing of how the HD 98800 system might appear to a nearby observer.


Tommy said...

Holy shit, they really found God after all!

Stardust said...

tommy...if there is a planet with life on it in the solar system HD 98800 I wonder if there are sun worshippers that worship the FOUR SUNS? Maybe that is where the FOUR HORSEMEN are hanging out till they are needed for the end of times here on Earth. Wow...that would be a great sci-fi story, wouldn't it? And it would appeal to the Christian fundamentalists...a real huge money-maker! All I would have to do is pretend to be a god believer!