194: WASP-76b


In fifteen seconds guidance journal Chan nine ignition sequence spence nats to space Gielgud. Hello and welcome to another edition of the space nuts. Podcast my name is Andrew Dunkley your host and with me as always Fred Watson Astronomer Lodge. Hello Fred Low Andrew. How're you doing quite well? Corona virus free in my district at the moment. But I'm sure that will change the way these things running around the planet as fast as What International Space Station as fast as you say bolt okay? Yeah but despite the fact that we don't have any son of it here the moment where taking precautions that are being recommended. All all at sporting events are being put on the back burner and festivals. We had a couple of big music festivals. There were about to kick off so that been canned. And I'm sure that's just gotta be life as we know it for a little while but they've got to slow. This thing down is the way I understand it so that it doesn't overwhelm the health system. They're not going to stop it. They just got to slow it down. That's the logic behind it. All as far as I understand. So yes very disruptive to know malady but a little bit of disruption is better than a an avalanche of health. Problems would be my assessment. I guess yeah we had major disruption Because of canceled overseas travel. That's a big part of alive. Zia a lot of gigs that You know like astronomy festivals and things like that cancelled so but yes you can certainly put with that interest of coming out of the a reasonably in reasonably good shape. Everybody's everybody seems to be taking it very stoically. Yes Sifi except for those in need toilet paper exactly just about to say the same thing. I still don't understand that. Just a knee jerk reaction to something. Someone said. I heard a rumor that it was actually something that started as a prank and has just gone beserk. Which would not surprise me in the slightest. We had a trip. We'll have a trip scheduled for June. But it's starting to look less likely and portions of that trip have already been wiped out so we Kinda have to probably reschedule that as well just means we just got to stick on. Cape doing baseness absolutely. Yeah and people need to download a lot of books on a few really good ones. It's really bad to now today on space not spread. We're GONNA be talking about a planet that has a very strange psychological system and it's got nothing to do with water. In fact the the the motorcycle on this planet is something metallic which is fascinating and this one really interests me an ancient fossil from the Cretaceous period that has revealed that out days used to be much shorter quite a bit shorter in the scheme of things. So that's that's rather fascinating and we've got some audience questions. Someone asking a follow up question to us space time topic and someone else talking about looking back in time which we literally do every time we at beyond our planet. So we'll we'll tackle all those issues today. We'll start off with WASP. Nine six Bay Fred. This this planet. That's got a bit of a strange not water cycle. Yeah that's right. I think it was seven six B actually say. Who's counting did I say I thought seven six? That's what's written in front of me but my Brian Turns things upside down. Sometimes when you played by you'll find out what you said. You said ninety six people. Don't worry it's okay to which is very nice added twenty actually cut rate and you kinda add up. They've told you that was my family. Let's see if we get. Let's see if we can get this number is eight. Apparently three hundred ninety one light years away on. Take your word for it. Actually that I'll I'll do the calculation in my head because we astronomers don't really use light years in our professional work we use Something called which is quantity can measure. Econo- she measure like a year. But I think it's a three point. Three point two three or thereabouts At light years to a PASOK so what this means is that this planet three hundred ninety one light years away just over one hundred six away. Not that's on our doorstep really so that's not what we're really talking about though. This is a wasp seventy six discovered by a planet search programs ground-based rather than space-based like Kepler and test wasp. I think it's wide angle central planet. So something like that. It's a it's an installation that has small telescopes on many locations on earth so this planet was discovered some time ago. But what happened now? Is Astronomers using a very very fancy machine at the very large telescope in Chile the European Southern Observatory's facility that we here in Australia now have access to thanks to government strategic partnership with with these? Oh those telescopes four of them constituting the veil t the very large telescope? H. One eight point two meter mirror on one of them now is an instrument with a very fine name of espresso. Oh Nice one yeah espresso. The is an acronym. It's a slightly torch one. It stands for a shell spectograph for rocky exoplanet and stable spectroscopy observations. Sounds like they came up with the acronym first and then. Let's figure some words out that'll feet all Akron. Actually but no that's right. He does sound like that. Yeah and it's one of the The Group of the team of strenuous. Who is actually doing this? Work based in Switzerland of the Observer Twenty Geneve. He has he and his team have used espresso to measure not. Actually I think there's another one that they used not quite sure which one that is but anyway espresso was the was the was the principal on The the measurements made Wasp seventy-six be allowed the astronomers to look at the some of the elements they tell McCallum's in the atmosphere of the planet. So I we suspect it's probably bigger than a than a rocky planet. I'm I'm not actually sure what it sizes but it's it's kind of a a larger flight planet. I think is probably the best way to describe it but it has. The extraordinary took the extraordinary feature that there is iron vibrant atmosphere Which is being which he can measure using espresso the the instrument and it turns out that it looks as though this planet has a very hot day side on a very cold nightside on. Its those the temperature difference that suggests that you what you get as you hinted at the beginning. Iga rainshowers of ion multi in coming down. Wow that's damn hot. It is well. That's right. So the the the star is parents star is only five million kilometers away from Wasp. Seventy six eight remember. We are hundred fifty million kilometers from from the sun that would link so around one. Seventy one point eight days year and you know so. Close that its day. Side temperature is roundabout three thousand degrees Celsius. And that's more than the Actually more than the temporary which vaporizes it is not just molten. It's vapor that temperature but then it the the measurements that were made by this group of astronomers. Show the the nightside of Wasp. Seventy-six is about a thousand degrees cooler. Supposed to big temperature difference between them. It's still very very hot in escape things. I mean it's still two thousand degrees. Want the con- up pretty high but it means that you the ion would be well it would call into clouds probably I n clouds and You might get a rain of iron from that. Which is an astonishing. It's an astonishing scenario. We do know that it's possible. This happens with these failed stars known as Brown Dwarf Stars. How which there is a suggestion that you get. In rain from those as well because they've got atmospheres the so cool that actually similar temperatures to this planet this planet which is being heated by its parent star but a Brown Dwarf Star which doesn't have the normal nuclear reactions going on in its interior. It's got something called. Ut burning which gives you a low level of of He'd coming from the star once it's temperature in a similar region to what we've got here with with what seventy six P. and there is there is certainly a The idea that you might get iron rain in Brown dwarfs but I think this is probably the first time astronomers established that you could get. In rain on a planet. And he's just because of the extraordinary he till the day side contrasting with that frigid two thousand degrees Celsius on the on the nightside where you get I n. Reineck Maiden Fuller's iron snow. How about that? That's amazing? Just this suggests that they might be on revisit. Iron LIKES WELL. Yes because the If you've got an ambient temperature on the on the nightside that is enough that warm enough for to exist as a liquid. You could get liquid on flowing on the surface. The only thing is when you get to the day side as the planet turns an match not turn. It may be this distance. As suspected might well be tightly locked so one side is always facing the star near the sides always facing away from it and that means that on the nightside you might well get pools of molten iron. Otherwise it was turning what would happen will be the Steve Upright during the day because the temperature. So that's amazing stuff terrible place to go not only because of the temperature but we all hate awning. Actually I might be an exception to that rule. I find dining quite therapeutic. I do too but dental my wife. I'm not very good at it all shirts and she'll say now and I'll say why because I'll have to do them again. Then Yeah Yeah. She doesn't. That's on purpose but you know well that one for thirty years yes. She might listen to this though under. You're going to be careful what you say. That's very very true. I so this is a fascinating world. Another question that POPs up in my mind is could this be a failed binary star system that may be the case. I think have been so yes. So what you suggesting that? This is not actually planted browned war. That's just a question north suggestion but yeah if that's possible. It's a suggestion. My guess is that the there would have been enough evidence of internal nuclear activity a if the companion was at Brown dwarf rather than a planet a suspect team as Luke pretty closely. All the copy think of similar questions to what we do announced but seem pretty keen on the idea that is a planet to planet at this point in time but A fascinating one at that. Don't don't think it'd be much fun being under on Ryan. No I think you're right It's descended a little bit. On the hot side. You would literally become iron man itchy. Not Not in a good way. Well yeah that's right okay. That is wasp seventy six bay. Thank you we we say moated. You're listening to space nuts. Andrew Dunkley here with Fred Watson. Let's take a break from the show and hear a word or two from our sponsored. Grandma Ollie now. I have to say I'm a big Fan of Gramley because I've been using it for a few years now very helpful for authors but also really good for every day life. I've saved me on a few CASHMAN's particularly with spelling but also with a few issues that didn't quite make sense. It's built by linguists and language lovers and grammy's rotting APP fines. Correct hundreds of complex. Writing say you don't have to do it yourself. Would by word day-by-day you can easily copy and paste any English text into grandma's online text editor or just install grammy's free browser extension for chrome Safari Five Fox and quite a few others. Grandma'S ALGORITHMS flag potential issues in the text and suggests context specific corrections for Grammar spelling and vocabulary. Gremaldi explains the reasoning behind h correction. So you can make an informed decision about whether and how to correct an issue. Gramley helps you riot mistake free J. Male facebook twitter linked in and nearly anything else. You ride on the web for you. The listener of space nuts gramley is offering a free download of the Gramley software. So if you'd like to download Gramley today go to get gramley dot com slash space nuts again that's get Gremaldi dot com slash space nuts to download Gremaldi for free and let them know you came us all include the link in the show notes as well now back to spice nuts space nuts. Once again Fred. I would like to send sincere. Thanks to patrons we've got a few more. We I mean for five hundred patrons. We're not quite yet but it's an opportunity for you to want to put a little bit of money into the podcast voluntarily. It's not mandatory. We're not GONNA make you. We're not going to shut the door and say you can only listen if you pay but if you feel obliged to that it's wonderful and we really appreciate it and as a patron you get. Bonus material on our patriotic site. Patriot dot com slash space nuts. And you get a commercial free early edition of the space nuts podcast as well so Is also good reasons to become a patron and we're looking to build at numbers up steadily so and and it's getting so rather is fantastic. So thank you for supporting the space. Nuts podcast. It is certainly greatly appreciated. Now Fred This I love this story. I love the way. It's written to a chunk of rock that has been buried in ground for millions of years has become a new clock. This is an ancient fossil from the Cretaceous period that they talking baton it It's shown up one interesting aspect of of the world from seventy thousand seventy million years ago. I should say his gaze mathematics again that the the days were much shorter than they are now. That's that's correct. Yeah we sort of knew that Theoretically because the you know the day length is increasing as we speak which is why we have leap seconds occasionally. Yes and a lot of that is tied up with the interaction between the author. The Moon the moon the moon drifting away. He's because he's taking energy from the US rotation and slowing the rotation down so we do know. That process is ongoing. But this I absolutely agree with you. Andrea is a beautiful piece of work. Is They send. It's such a nice conclusion that stroll and yeah. I agree with you as well that it was very nicely written up and might give a shoutout to Michelle Starr. I've signed Selena to actually wrote this. You wrote the article on. This is very nicely done so what we got. Well we've got a fossil of a shallow bivalve shell. I think these things were probably quite a lot bigger than the mosques used to. Today I used to have one as a pet for it. Daiva yes in my fish tank and you fish tank. What was it called Fred? I'm not joking you go. What a prescient name to give to your Bible Guy. He'd lived under the gravel and just cleaned up all right. Yeah I wouldn't set a CACTUS. Cold plug actually belong to a friend of mine? He bequeathed it to me and plug plug lived on the kitchen windowsill many many years. Anyway I tell the story. What's the story with the Bible? They're shaped I guess a bit like as Michelle Star Star search shaped like a vase and with a vase if you're on the other side of the Pacific and but with the wider end. They've got this lead and they were. They were basically on ancient reefs. This particular species. I'm going to attempt to his name. Toria tolley. It's Sanchez that that's pretty close. I can rate and I'm pretty sure that's what a good we're all losing our faculties it's nearly the end of the year right. Not right anyway. The Cretaceous Tertiary Cretaceous Poly Gene. Apollo genyk extinction. This is the time basically when the dinosaurs were wiped out. The these this particular species was also wiped out so the now extinct. They don't exist anymore but they are of interest because we we have bivalves in the modern era. Nothing probably nothing quite as big as this but they really interesting aspect of this bivalve And you know disease coming into the the the ones we see around. Today they have a growth rate in shells which is one lap a day. I'm Da you know that's the that's the case of this research because it grows one let a day just like essentially you know in the same way tree rings put on a new ring every year but these things have one laugh a day so you can almost count the days when you when you look at the age of them and the the key thing though as that they also respond to changes in the season and so The the the well I just examples from Modern Day by a modern cloud on the one of those big clam shells in a winter time. The last night put on Daca and so with the same is true of of the sunshine. T- sunset she fossil a had Predations in it's not triggering but innings Growth so not only. Do you have a laugh for each day? If got a kind of marker for when the year changes for the seasonal changes and that is the crucial that smoking mullah's flirty. That's right so first of all the team that analyze this at the team. That did this work Basically they're actually I think the One of the Chemists who's involved with this Is at a university in Brussels in Belgium is to give them a shout as well as to whether they are but they they they used these these various les- to determine that this thing lived for about nine years. Yup which is good. So that means nine years with inflammation and they've got the daily Les- packed into that and the key thing is that they got the daily last fifty two a year with no three hundred and sixty five of them. But three hundred and seventy two. So that means the three hundred and seventy two days in a year about seventy million years ago. Which is the fossil. So how long was die? A brings it down to about twenty three and a half hours. Good soy you lose. Yeah if you do the calculation three hundred and sixty five to three hundred seventy two if you go further back. I suggesting the dice where even short and many more yes. That's right so this is a really nice snapshot of what things were like. Seventy million years ago when this fossil was laid down and you can sort of extrapolate back for the whole four point six billion years of the history but you come to a time when it looks as though the day basically was was very very short. The the best thinking on this which comes about from arguments to do with the the rotational energy of the moon system suggests that the fastest ever rotated. This was probably not long after the moon was owned was about one in four hours. Wow so linked to four hours about hate by Thea. Well that's right. It was probably after it was hit by because not sort of extrapolating from why we all now and the this interests as well from a historical point of view because there was a scientist by the name of George Darwin. I think you and I have talked about before. He's got a very famous surname because he had a very famous father. George is the son of Charles. Charles worked on the origin of species. George worked on the origin of the moon. He was in the struggling actually Cambridge an in the eighteen eighty S. I think it was. He developed this theory that very early in the history the had been spinning so fast. The debris spun off its equator. That was what for the moon but he couldn't eerie theory. Yeah but the reason why I got knocked on. The head is to do that. If I remember rightly the figures out that would have to turn once every two hours and the evidence seems to be that. It never turned that quickly. I'm not sure what that evidence is. I think it might be dynamical rather than geological but the thinking is that the could never have rotated quickly enough for that to happen. And that's why we now have the the Thea- impacted areas you just mentioned but that's not really anything to do with this work. Excuse me this this Bible study though. Is that really giving you a very nice pointer? Just a little measurement one and one period in history when we can see without any question until the day was shorter and actually shoulda nothing. That's an astonishing thing to be able to do. There's nobody around with o'clock seventy million years ago when this thing was living on its reef now in Tate and I suppose over the course of time the rotation slide the days of become. Longa so he he. We are but the other thing of course. Is that the moon is drifted away. The Moon would have been much much closer in the early history of the Earth Moon System. You know probably swung calculations on. I'm sure it's been done but I looked at it. You could work out. How far away? The Moon was seventy million years ago when this bivalve was alive. So if you study a bivalve today you'd find three hundred sixty five rings. Pre Dot is what you'd expect exactly giving daily a daily late lying down to the Ring Nora aware of of the of the show. Very Handy little creatures. Yeah this remarkable. It's just a remarkable piece of work and I think I love that stuff. That's a great story. All right and they gripe pets there. Dan Argue they themselves. I keep the place clean. I mean just like one of those robotic vacuum cleaners yes unlike unlike plug the CACTUS which did nothing except stillwater for itself dusty. I'm sorry to say that Fred did pass away after a couple of years. He is quite elderly when I got him. Okay yes the MILLIA now. That sounds like a nice little parable. You're listening to space out to Andrew directly with Fred. What's in the not bivalve burner space nuts also afraid just Thanks to a social media people the people who follow us in Youtube the people that follow us on facebook the space nuts. Podcast group that Basically talks amongst themselves on facebook. They're terrific. It's a great community. Get a lot of positive feedback about it and if you would like to join the space nuts podcast group or follow us on facebook by all means. Do you might also like to subscribe on Youtube and get numbers up. There will pasta fast and now one thousand one hundred and forty one thousand one hundred forty people but we appreciate them all. I got a really great one. He freight I've received a message from a fellow. Christopher in in Geelong Victoria said he just listened to episode one hundred ninety two plays down. Stop producing these podcasts gentleman. Also you mentioned someone requesting the link to the space not shop and how they take it. Well that was me Arrived today keep up the good work and their years? Can you say that posing with these shirts and I got a message from Hugh we have Polo shirts? Were really okay I'll I'll start getting interested in then they not on the on the On the shop yet but we will have them up very very soon. We've just got to do a redesign on the logo because we need a clear background but it's just that much closer to getting shirts and other beards and bulbs so that's fantastic now. Let's get into some questions and this one comes from. Russ add style bridge in the UK. Oh have pronounced that correctly. Hi Andrew You discussed frame dragging in the latest episode. Hypothetically if a very large masci neutron style would suddenly disappear just vanish would space time return to its normal state or returning to its normal state release energy. If so how much enough to create an explosion? I suppose I'm asking if is potential energy stored in the distortion of space. Time caused by frame dragging great a great question. Russ and I think the answer is yes. The thing is that you know okay. You've got Neutron Star it spinning its frame dragging and then it disappears now. That in itself is tricky situation. So who knows what might be the effect of that this thing disappearing but I think Ross's conjecture is correct that you would get the frame dragging an elastic phenomenon because space itself is elastic. Basle points of general relativity and so presumably it would return to its rest state and my guess is that it would indeed release energy of no idea how much or what for that might take a. Ross asks whether it will be enough to create an explosion. I suspect if it did it will be nothing. Compared with aftermath of the explosion caused by the disappearing neutrons star in itself is is a fairly thing but I think is a final sentence is really on the money I suppose Muskie if the potential energy stored in the distortion of space time caused by frame dragging and I think the answer to that is yes. Wow All right the rust you rod on the money. It didn't even cross my mind about energy storage in that. Kinda PHENOMENON GIVEN SPACE IN SPACE TIME. A liquid anything moving is an energy source expending energy creating energy energy just moves around in space just like everything else thus thus that sums it up very well that was a guess anyway. Thank you so much for the For the question. Russ I'll let's move onto the next question from Gavin in. Yes in New South Wales and I'm guessing the answer to this question might be. Yes now today to Andrew Undocked Fred Watson Asked a question before which was put in the too hard basket. But we'll have to try setup we should now he says we keep hearing that we look back in time when we look at the Sky. Also we can see so far back We can say the first galaxies being formed if that is so can we see back and look at the Milky Way being formed. I know wouldn't have a sign on it to tell us the difference from others just a thought to Cape the seventy three year old. Brian going to take it further. Could we look back six billion years? Say a seven billion year old Milky Way I don't believe so as the light should already be past. Thanks in advance Gavin in. Yes governance a great question. And you're you're right. That's looking out in. Space is equivalent to looking back in time but there are certain limitations on that so it's all about distance. It's the fact that time and distance become the same thing when you're looking into space a and that's simply because the liked from galaxies or whatever they take a saving stars and actually even the sun and moon. The light takes a finite time to reach us. The the moonlight comes to sit in about one point. Three seconds sunlight in about eight minutes the light from the nearest big galaxy and the andromeda galaxy takes about Twenty sorry two million years to get to us so the key thing is that in order to see something as it was at an earlier time. It has to be a long way away so you. That's why we can look at really really distant. Galaxies measured in tens imagining selling billions of light years and Ten eleven twelve billion light years these galaxies among the first generation of galaxies to form in the universe. We we're looking at very very distant objects very fine a long way off which is why we need things like the Hubble telescope to do that but the it's only because they have so far away that we can see them as they were that early time now the issue with the Milky Way is wearing it. We're actually part of it and so we can only see it as it is effectively now when we look at the when we look at the brought the bright stars around us the naked eye stars that we can see just by going out in the starry night especially one way. You don't have light pollution those styles within a thousand light years most of them so that the close that seeing them at the time in the past which is not that much different from today with with the Central Galaxy we see this in the constellation of Sagittarius which will be beautifully visible from Yes yes probably got reasonably dark skies located where it is North of camera the The the constellation of Sagittarius sits in the in the bulge of the of our galaxy. That's the sort of central hub of galaxies about twenty five thousand light years away. So you're looking back in time about twenty five thousand years but the galaxy that we can see Is Far enough away that we see appreciably back in time we don't see it evolving just because part of it so it's time and distance that related and you can't separate the time from the distance which was really the the number of Gavin's question keep up the good work gabbing. I'm nola about keeping ancient brains going because I try and do that myself too. That's why we started the space. And that's podcast to keep Fred's Brian going. Is that what it was? It was despite on your nothing to do with it nothing. Although Gavin rises that very interesting situation where there are probably things that have happened in the universe that we will say on earth but maybe not for a long long time because the because of the the the time that light takes to travel and the distances things are away from us so we could. We could write. We'll have several thousand music. That could have been something. That's happened that we haven't seen yet because it hasn't reached us in terms of the light. That's true exactly and becomes is true as well. The you know that might be distant galaxies that had a an expert and outburst from their supermassive black hole or something like that But that particular galaxy the the light from its output. It's outbursts went pasta years ago ten thousand years ago and so we missed it. The the reason why we can learn so much about the evolution of galaxies unsee these occasional outbursts the effective outbursts is because there are so many galaxies and they're all different distances so you've got a huge number to choose from and it's just finding the ones that show the phenomena that the one that phenomenon is it's actually it's light is getting to right now because of the distance of the galaxy. It's because it is because we've got lots of galaxies to choose from that we can learn such a lot of them. Yeah I suppose when you see multiple events that are similar you know that that's a common thing but one wonders if there is some unique event that we've never witnessed before that may or may not appear ask at some stage. Yeah I mean it. You know what you're saying. He's right because there are very rare events which might not be quite as rare as he thought they were when you start building two telescopes and what. I'm thinking of Radio Exactly what you said gravitational wives yet. We've we've only just got the technology to see these phenomena and and now we've got that technology we see that they're relatively common throughout the universe. Oh new phenomena strongness are always on the lookout for and why why? Stop it all the stuff. We can't explain now. Let's find more that we can't explain. Let's just do that. The great thing is when you do explain it. There's a Nobel prize. Yes indeed I can see on the mantelpiece behind you. I wish still plenty of time for it. The vast distances of space. Thank you for all I thank you for the question. Too much appreciated because it It lifted the lid on some interesting thinking Gavin. Serve much appreciate it and thank you. Everybody for listening Dan. The space not SHOP BITES DOT COM SLASH. Space nuts that. It said we're adding more and more of that occasionally but Everything you need is on that site including a way to get in touch with us. If you scroll down and then we've put it raw and the bottom line nobody goes. You can send dismisses the got Thank you. Fred is always terrific. Finding a really good program. This week was insightful. Questions is all not to mention the Bible Fred. This is under the always listened. Actually now sometimes I look at him and say something and he'd bury himself in the sand to Andrew. Mondays just wanted in is complaining about something so prominently the lack of food. That's probably what it is. The story the lack of toilet paper. That would be to see you. Thanks Fred Sale. At what's an astronomer at large and he's part of the dynamic duo that makes up space nuts including me. Thank you for your company will catch you again next week on another episode to this podcast available Apple podcast. Google spotify radio favorite Kaz plan. 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