Hypothetical 'Rejuvenated' Planets

Spitzer_sig15-009_500

spitzer_sig15-009 June 25th, 2015

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

This artist's concept shows a hypothetical "rejuvenated" planet -- a gas giant that has reclaimed its youthful infrared glow. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope found tentative evidence for one such planet around a dead star, or white dwarf, called PG 0010+280 (depicted as white dot in illustration).

When planets are young, they are warm and toasty due to internal heat left over from their formation. Planets cool over time -- until they are possibly rejuvenated.

The theory goes that this Jupiter-like planet, which orbits far from its star, would accumulate some of the material sloughed off by its star as the star was dying. The material would cause the planet to swell in mass. As the material fell onto the planet, it would heat up due to friction and glow with infrared light.

The final result would be an old planet, billions of years in age, radiating infrared light as it did in its youth.

Spitzer detected an excess infrared light around the white dwarf PG 0010+280. Astronomers aren't sure where the light is coming from, but one possibility is a rejuvenated planet. Future observations may help solve the mystery.

A Jupiter-like planet is about ten times the size of a white dwarf. White dwarfs are about the size of Earth, so one white dwarf would easily fit into the Great Red Spot on Jupiter!

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/6069-sig15-009-Hypothetical-Rejuvenated-Planets

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Details

Image Type
Artwork
Object Name
PG 0010+280
Subject - Milky Way
Planet » Type » Gas Giant
Star » Evolutionary Stage » White Dwarf

Distance

Universescale1
495 light years
Spitzer_sig15-009_1280
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ID
sig15-009
Subject Category
B.1.1.2   B.3.1.7  
Subject Name
PG 0010+280
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)
Type
Artwork
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
sig15-009.tif
Metadata Date
2015-06-25
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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Universescalefull
495 light years