Sunday, February 01, 2009

Your Planet Shouldn't Exist

This terrarium is at the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. By ascending a series of passageways one passes through all levels of a rainforest, from underwater to above the treetops. Hopefully we will build such domes on the Moon someday.

San Francisco State University is often overlooked in favour of those other colleges across the Bay. At SFSU Geoffrey Marcy and Paul Butler became the first extrasolar planet hunters. At first no one believed their findings, and they had difficulty getting published. Today science recognises hundreds of planets in other solar systems. Dr. Debra Fischer continues the planet hunt at SFSU today. (Disclaimer: Dr. Marcy also taught in Berkeley, and gave the writer an A in Honours Physics.)

From the time of Pierre Laplace, scientists have thought that planets coalesce from rotating disks of gas surrounding stars. New computer simulations by Joseph Barranco of San Francisco State University call this old theory into question. Using hundreds of parallel processors, Barranco made the first 3D simulations of planet formation. These more complex simulations introduced turbulence from Coriolis forces and vertical shearing. Because of these forces, early planets would have been torn apart. According to the simulation, our planet should not exist.

The old theory of planet formation has long suffered flaws. If particles collide at orbital speeds, they would ricochet rather than stick together. Small particles would need the masses of mountains to form planets. Planet hunters have also found many “hot Jupiters,” giant planets orbiting very close to stars. Under the old theory, such worlds should not form. Heat from the star would boil their surfaces and tidal forces would tear them apart. The old theory of planet formation needs something else to work.

The Big Bang may have created many billions of tiny Black Holes. They would have formed from quantum fluctuations grown large by expansion of the Universe. A primordial Black Hole would have the mass of a mountain, yet be smaller than an atom. Quietly orbiting in Space, they would be very difficult to detect. Tiny holes could be ubiquitous, even within our solar neighbourhood.

When our solar system was nothing but a cloud of gas, small Black Holes would have drawn the gas into their influence. The Black Holes were too tiny to suck everything up, but the tiny amount they did eat made the rest grow hot. Eventually a Black Hole would be surrounded by rock with a hot center. This was the birth of the planets.

If our Earth contained a tiny Black Hole, outward radiation pressure would prevent us from being eaten. Earth’s centre would be a whirlpool of charged particles surrounding the Black Hole. Radiation from the core would reach the surface as volcanic heat. If the Black Hole rotated, it would generate a magnetic field whose axis would not necessarily be parallel with Earth’s spin axis. Our planet behaves exactly as if it contained a Black Hole.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is twaddle. When Marcy was ready to publish his results on planet detection, the world was extremely receptive. He is recognized as the world's expert and he has received many honors for his hard work.

If Marcy had any trouble, it was getting support prior to his first detection. He was hardly the first planet hunter. There had been many before with bogus results, thus there was strong skepticism towards yet another attempt, and one that required exquisite accuracy and care with the observations.

Once he demonstrated results in 1995, the interest in his work sky-rocketed, as well as the resources needed to do it.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

Your missing something, I don't know what it is your missing but its missing! I think your singularitys are on the inside!

12:03 PM  
Blogger Dr. Gerry Santoro said...

I've read your blog for a while and enjoy it very much! My field is not Astrophysics but I suspect you are onto something! Please keep writing!

2:26 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Thanks, Dr. I am very glad that you enjoy the blog.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Louise. You might want to have a look at

The model has nothing to do with the crap I made a year ago.

You may also find interesting the 2003 and 2004 papers by Casado that I mention in the abstract.

One critical point is that the fine structure constant
alpha = e^2 / 2 epsilon0 hc
must be really constant. There are two ways to achieve that with varying c. Notably, the two ways yield the same relationship for redshifts.

Cheers, Parvulus.

4:48 PM  
Blogger OilIsMastery said...

For an alternative explantion you can check out my blog Oil Is Mastery. I say gravity is electromagnetic.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

"Your atom shouldn't exist!"
Interesting viewpoint. I applaud your bold statement and I encourage your further development of the idea. While I don't know enough to say our planet is "exactly" like accretion around a black hole, it sure is reasonable.

I'll briefly augment your point to suggest that all time-stable configurations (atoms, galaxies) would not exist without each maintaining a fortuitous balance. This is like the anthropic principle of matter. It exists because it is stable; it has time-momentum.

But what about the origin of the earth? Did it fragment from a larger body? Did it coalesce/condense from a hot primordial gas?

I can't very well distinguish among the alternative theories, except I will make one point: unstable particles are known to fission into other particles. Each still maintains a center of rotational symmetry and now contains its own singularity. A single gravitational center may split into two.

If the earth contains a black hole, could it have "spawned" from a parent black hole? (The earth-as-a-fragment idea) Similarly, does the moon contain a black hole, and did it fragment from the earth?

And back to the original point: does every massive "particle" (at every scale) contain a black hole? We know black holes have many configurations...

Thank you for the thought-provoking post, I'll check back for more!

5:05 PM  

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