Thursday, 7 March 2013

Evil Empire Beware: Gas Giant Planets are Hard to Destroy

Full article at: Space & Astronomy news - Technology Org

Last year, physicists worked out the plausibility of a fully functional (if not fictional) Death Star being able to destroy planets, and found that the Galactic Empire’s technological terror could indeed destroy Earth-like rocky planets, but a Jupiter-sized gas planet would be a tough challenge.

Now, real but theoretical modeling confirms that gas giants like Jupiter would be really hard to destroy by any means, including by stars that undergo periodic outbursts. Actual stars, that is, not Death Stars.

Alan Boss is a noted astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, who likes to create three dimensional models of planetary systems. In his recent work, he created a 3-D model to help understand the possible origins of Jupiter and Saturn, two gas giants in our Solar System.

“Gas giant planets, once formed, can be hard to destroy,” said Boss, “even during the energetic outbursts that young stars experience.”

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