Saturday, 30 July 2016

Impossible Planets: Some Exoplanets Shouldn’t Exist, If Naturalistic Theories Were Right

HR 8799b is an “impossible planet.” Image courtesy of NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STSCI).

Joel Kontinen

Nature is smarter than our theories.”

This is how Roman Rafikov, an astrophysicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, commented on exoplanets that according to naturalistic planet formation theories are in the wrong place.

We can thank HR 8799b for this admission. It is a distant giant or a huge planet that orbits very far from its star.

Science has a longish article on how exoplanets don’t fit in with traditional naturalistic thinking:

When astronomers discovered the first exoplanet around a normal star 2 decades ago, there was joy—and bewilderment. The planet, 51 Pegasi b, was half as massive as Jupiter, but its 4-day orbit was impossibly close to the star, far smaller than the 88-day orbit of Mercury. Theorists who study planet formation could see no way for a planet that big to grow in such tight confines around a newborn star. It could have been a freak, but soon, more ‘hot Jupiters’ turned up in planet searches, and they were joined by other oddities: planets in elongated and highly tilted orbits, even planets orbiting their stars ‘backward’—counter to the star’s rotation.”

And this is hardly the end of the matter. The article introduces distant giants:

Ground-based telescopes … have found giant planets several times the mass of Jupiter, orbiting their star at more than twice the distance Neptune is from the sun—another region where theorists thought it was impossible to grow large planets. Other planetary systems looked nothing like our orderly solar system, challenging the well-worn theories that had been developed to explain it.”

Astronomers used to believe that giant planets migrated to the orbits they now follow, but some are not convinced by this explanation.

Science publications often describe exoplanets as ‘weird’, ‘anomalies’ or even ‘impossible.’ Some are so weird that no theory can explain their formation.

Recently, astronomers found a planet with three suns.

The diversity we are beginning to see in exoplanets is staggering. It’s a far cry from the one-size- fits-all model.

What is obvious is that Earth is a unique planet. Some astronomers are willing to admit that there’s no place like home in the entire universe.

So, if nature looks smart, there most probably is a reason for it. I would suggest that the answer is not blowing in the wind, but should be sought in the Supreme Designer, who is the Father of all Ingenuity.


Clery, Daniel. 2016. Forbidden planets: Understanding alien worlds once thought impossible. Science (28 July).