Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Nasa has found a unique planet which wobbles on its axis - causing weather conditions to be even more erratic than those on Earth.

Astronomers were stunned to find the planet, designated Kepler-413b wobbles wildly on its spin axis, much like a child's top.

The tilt of the planet's spin axis can vary by as much as 30 degrees over 11 years, leading to rapid and erratic changes in seasons.

'Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat,' Nasa said. 

In contrast, Earth's rotational precession is 23.5 degrees over 26,000 years. 

Researchers are amazed that this far-off planet is precessing on a human timescale.

Kepler 413-b is located 2,300 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. 

It circles a close pair of orange and red dwarf stars every 66 days. 

The planet's orbit around the binary stars appears to wobble, too, because the plane of its orbit is tilted 2.5 degrees with respect to the plane of the star pair's orbit.

Astronomers using Kepler discovered the wobbling when they found an unusual pattern of transiting for Kepler-413b.

'Looking at the Kepler data over the course of 1,500 days, we saw three transits in the first 180 days -- one transit every 66 days -- then we had 800 days with no transits at all. 

'After that, we saw five more transits in a row,' said Veselin Kostov, the principal investigator on the observation. 

The next transit visible from Earth's point of view is not predicted to occur until 2020, because the orbit moves up and down, a result of the wobbling, in such a great degree that it sometimes does not transit the stars as viewed from Earth.

Astronomers are still trying to explain why this planet is out of alignment with its stars.There could be other planetary bodies in the system that tilted the orbit. 

Or, it could be that a third star nearby that is a visual companion may actually be gravitationally bound to the system and exerting an influence.

'Presumably there are planets out there like this one that we're not seeing because we're in the unfavorable period,' said Peter McCullough, a team member with the Space Telescope Science Institute and Johns Hopkins University. 

'And that's one of the things that Veselin is researching: Is there a silent majority of things that we're not seeing?'

Even with its changing seasons, Kepler-413b is too warm for life as we know it. 

Because it orbits so close to the stars, its temperatures are too high for liquid water to exist, making it inhabitable. 

It also is a super Neptune - a giant gas planet with a mass about 65 times that of Earth -- so there is no surface on which to stand. 

On a related topic, a blast of global warming hit the mid-west with crippling snow and ice. Meanwhile, Florida was struck with global cooling with temperatures one degree above normal.

All of this man-made, of course. No earth tilt. No sun spots. Nothing to see here...move on.


Xavier Onassis said...

Your post has no point other than to demonstrate that you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to orbital mechanics or global climate on this or any other planet.


You are embarrassing yourself.

Duckys here said...

Meanwhile, Florida was struck with global cooling with temperatures one degree above normal.
Talked to my niece in Orlando today and she told my it's in the low 80's.

Is that cool for February?

I can't get the accuweather report on Neptune.

Craig said...

All of this man-made, of course. No earth tilt. No sun spots. Nothing to see here...move on.

Cuz no one thought of that. I think XO already linked to some info on sun spot bunk. Ever hear of Milankovitch cycles?

Yes, Earth does wobble, about 3 degrees every 22,000 years. We (northern hemisphere) are are in the cooling phase of the cycle, but we're not cooling. It's indisputable that the earth is warming and it's most pronounced in the arctic. Any guess on the forcing that is overtaking astronomical cycles?

Changes in climate due to tilt occur over millenniums. Current changes in global temps are occurring over decades.

Seriously, Joe. You didn't come up with this hokum on your own. Can you tell us your source?

Joe said...

XO: No.

Ducky: As I said, it's 1 degree warmer than usual.

Craig: If all I mentioned was tilt, your comment might be useful. The sunspot link is not bunk.

Of course you guys are the only ones who read (albeit pretty selectively). The rest of us are much stupider than you. Sounds like rank liberalism to me.

Craig said...

Of course you guys are the only ones who read (albeit pretty selectively)

I never accused you of not reading. I really want to read what you are reading. Please share.

sue hanes said...

Joe - This planet is being strange this winter with all of the snow and the low temps. The
planet is wobbly - that's for sure. Let's get it back on track.

Duckys here said...

Joe, are you sure that climate scientists know that the earth revolves on its axis?

Maube you shold inform them, just in case.

Joe said...

Ducky: I'll check with them. If they don't know, I'll educate them, OK?