View Full Version : What's the latest on pulsar planets?

2003-May-11, 11:49 PM
The thread about a binary system with a white dwarf needed for a sci-fi story got me curious about this. I had never thunk there could be a pulsar planet, seeing as how pulsars tend to be part of supernovae remnants, and being near a supernova is not a good career move for planets. However, they do exist, according to people who are much better at this sort of thing than I am. Again, that's what I get for thinking. Late last night I tried a look at one of the linked Astrophysical Journal articles http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/ApJ/journal/issues/ApJ/v479n2/35008/sc0.html but before I could figure anything out from it, a cat hair migrated into my poor little eyeball, causing great distraction, and by the time I rectified the situation, I was too sleepy to continue. This is my typical luck.

Today I found a couple of theories. One was that that neutron stars can result from the collision of two white dwarfs, and planets would thereby form out of assorted debris. The other was that an old pulsar or neutron star that used to be a pulsar could attract a massive companion, accrete enough mass from it to spin up to millisecond period again, and have some material left over to form planets.

Either those, or the original planet was very, very tough. Anybody know any different?

2003-May-12, 01:47 PM
Could the planet from from supernova debris? That is, the star explodes, leaving a nebula behind. The planet condenses out of the nebula. Although, thinking about it more, I suppose not since the explosion would probably blast any nebular material far enough away from the star that it wouldn't be detectable by our current instrumens if it DID form into a planet.

2003-May-12, 03:09 PM
Most certainly. Supernovae are a vital ingredient to the formation of new stars and planets. The problem of course with material clumping to form planets is that unless most of the material has already been used up (ie to form a star), then the planet will likely grow to become the star itself, or at least a brown dwarf.