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Thread: Alien Planets

  1. #1 Alien Planets 
    Forum Sophomore GrowlingDog's Avatar
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    I recently watched a doco' on the History channel regarding alien planets and it got me curious about something. It's regarding the huge planets that are orbiting very close to a star. The ones that do not rotate on an axis, cant remember the name for them, in other words they have one side that always faces the star and the other side always faces away. Some are so hot that metal is turned into a gas. My question is, would these planets be much larger on the side facing the star than on the side facing away? If one side is hot then all that gas would expand that side of the planet, sort of. On the other side though, as you went further around to the darkside of the planet, all the metals would solidify and drop to the surface. Hmm, does this question make sense? Bulbous, gassy planet on one side, flat hard planet on other side. :?


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  3. #2  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    If such a gas giant was that close to the star, the heat differential would cause winds that would spread the gas around the planet. So it should have a pretty even temperature all around. IMO


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  4. #3  
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    Dog; Your probably talking about an object orbiting the star Pegasus 51, if you care to read more. This could be a the end of what was a twin star system, which is very common. Tidal lock (one surface facing) easily explained, where planet formation to a star should not happen,

    Atmospheric conditions, actual rotation and many other conditions are involved for guessing what temperature differentials could be. Gaseous planets do tend to have violent wind patterns which do equalize temperatures. Mercury, our closest planet to the sun, has a 58-59 earth day period and takes only 1 and 1/2 Mercury days to revolve around the sun. Temperatures range from minus (-) 173 C to +4270 C...
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    Forum Senior miomaz's Avatar
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    I like this question, what kind of premises must be set to obtain such a half-cut planet (where to material is carryed away though the heat of the sun)?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Junior Twaaannnggg's Avatar
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    I think the volume and density of the "atmosphere" - if you can say a gas-giant has something like an discernible atmosphere - will most likely change with the change of temperature. You can even see this here on earth. The thickness of the atmosphere and thus it's density varies quite a bit between the polar regions and the equator. This is why we have monsoon rains and other large scale climate events. I do not know how pronounced this effect is with a gas-giant 5 to 10 times the size of Jupiter and a coupled rotation (i.e. one side alsways facing towards the sun), but the effects would be quite spectacular. Rain of metal, storms of epic proportions and the like. Would it be measurable? If the spatial resolution of your instruments is good enough or you are close enough - quite likely.
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