A group of international astronomers has recently discovered a new planet. The planet currently called HD 106906 b orbits a far away star at a distance of about 60 billion miles or 650 times the distance that the Earth orbits the Sun.
The problem is that this, according to commonly held beliefs about how planets form, shouldn’t be possible.
*put’s on brainy specs*
So what is the proper way to form a planet and how has the vivid orange giant (it is 11 times the size of Jupiter) defied these rules.
A planet is believed to form by bits of debris getting pulled into a star’s gravitational field and condensing but due to the massive size of the planet and its distance from its star this process would have been too slow to have formed the planet.
Now the race is on to name this new planet because HD 106906 b doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue. Sci-fi nerds (of which I am one) have started a massive petition to name the new planet Gallifrey, the home planet of The Doctor. The sudden appearance of the planet followed the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who which featured the Doctor saving his long thought destroyed Gallifrey by placing in a pocket dimension. Fans have noted the similarities between the fictional Gallifrey and HD 106906 b both are larger than Earth and bright orange in hue. Could it be that due to some time-whimey trickery truly Gallifrey falls no more?
The possible new and different methods that helped to form HD 106906 b has yet to be explained by scientists. For now it being dragged by 13 Doctors into our universe to prevent The Time Lords and The Daleks from destroying all of creation is at the bottom of the list of possibilities (I still have yet to removed it from my top 10 list of possible explanations) but it just goes to prove that sometime life is stranger than fiction.
Here is the link to sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/international-astronomical-union-name-the-recently-discovered-planet-hd-106906-b-gallifrey-in-honor-of-doctor-who-s-50-years