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The planet that should not exist

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The popular article in Futurism (see this) tells about a strange finding challenging the beliefs of the formation mechanism of planets. In the study published in Science, researchers out of Pennsylvania State described a surprising discovery: a Neptune-sized planet that’s 13 times the mass of Earth, which is orbiting a tiny ultracool star that’s with mass by a factor 1/9 smaller than the mass of the Sun.

According to the abstract of the article (see this) planets form in protoplanetary disks of gas and dust around young stars that are undergoing their own formation process. The amount of material in the disk determines how big the planets can grow. Stefansson et al. observed a nearby low-mass star using near-infrared spectroscopy. They detected Doppler shifts due to an orbiting exoplanet of at least 13 Earth masses, which is almost the mass of Neptune. Theoretical models do not predict the formation of such a massive planet around a low-mass star (see the Perspective by Masset). The authors used simulations to show that its presence could be explained if the protoplanetary disk were 10 times more massive than expected for the host star. To sum up, Neptune sized planets (mass is 17.1ME and radius 3.88RE) should not exist around stars with mass ME/9.

The analysis of these findings led to a considerably more detailed view of the formation of planets and also formation of stars.

TGD view of formation of planets

The TDG based proposal for the formation of planets assumes that planets have condensed from spherical shells of dark matter produced by “mini big bangs” as explosions of the star (see this and (see this)). These dark mass shells with a large value of heff would transform to ordinary matter around a seed giving rise to the core of the planet and the dark matter from the spherical shell would transform to ordinary matter and condense around this core. The seed region need not contribute much to the mass of the planet.

  1. The basic difference with respect to the standard model would be that the disk is replaced with a spherical shell of dark matter. The open question is whether the mass of the shell condensing to form the planet can have a mass ≥ 13ME for a star with mass as small as MSun/9 . The mass mass Δ M of the mass shell should have been of the order 10-4Mstar and gives Δ R/R≈ 10-4/3. Since Mstar∝ R3 is very sensitive to the value of R. Assuming Rstar≈ RSun, Δ R should be about 64 km. Δ R ≈ 1.22 RE is not far from the Earth radius Δ R ≈ 1.22 RE.
  2. Note that for the Earth-Sun system the thickness of the layer would satisfy Δ R/RSun≈ 1.1× 10-4 and give Δ R≈ 64 km, which happens to be the same value as for the Sun-Earth system suggesting that the thickness of the layer determines the order of magnitude for the mass of the planet. This inspires the question whether the outer giant planets are formed around cores with masses not from those of Mars, Earth and Venus. For Jupiter with mass MJ= 318.8ME one would obtain Δ R≈ 20,371 km.

How could stars form in the TGD Universe?

Also the mechanism for the formation of stars would be different in the TGD framework and is inspired by the predicted quantum coherence in astrophysical scales and the general view of TGD inspired view of what happens in state function reductions, which also leads to a theory of consciousness and life as universal phenomena present in all scales, even astrophysical.

  1. According to the standard model, stars condense from the interstellar gas, possibly from a material of a spherical or a disk-like structure. In the TGD framework this cannot apply to the first generation stars. Rather, the mass of the first stars could have come from the transformation of the analog of dark energy to ordinary matter as the energy of a cosmic string transforms to matter in a process analogous to the decay of the inflaton field. The string tension of the resulting monopole flux tube is much smaller and the process can repeat itself. This mechanism could play some roles later.
  2. The emerging matter could be mostly ordinary matter but can transform to a phase, which has a large effective Planck constant heff>h. These phases of ordinary matter would explain the missing baryonic mass (see this) and would have a key role in biology. Evolution as a gradual increase of heff serving as a measure of algebraic complexity conforms with this view.

The galactic dark matter in turn would correspond to the dark energy assignable to the string tension of very long cosmic strings orthogonal to the galactic plane and creating a transversal 1/ρ gravitational field explaining the flat velocity spectrum of distant stars.

  • This model for the generation of stars should explain the fact that there are star generations: stars die as supernovae and are regenerated later. Zero energy ontology (ZEO) (see this) provides a possible solution to the problem. The end of the life of the star as supernova could correspond to “big” state function reduction (BSFR) (the TGD counterpart of the ordinary state function reduction) in astrophysical scale changing the arrow of time. This process would be highly analogous to a biological death involving a decay process identifiable as supernova explosion.
  • After a supernova explosion the star would live a life with an opposite arrow of geometric time and reincarnate in the original time direction as a star which would partially consist of the decay products of the earlier star(s). The evolutionary age of the star increases steadily in this sequence of lives forth and back in geometric time although the cosmological age increases much slower. JWST has indeed discovered stars and galaxies older than the universe (see this). The model should also explain how the core of the daughter star is generated.

    1. The TGD based model is motivated by the problem caused by the fact that stellar fusion cannot produce elements heavier than iron plus the fact that the model for their production in supernova explosions has problems. Also the observed abundances of lighter elements are problematic. “Cold fusion”, which is usually admitted as a real phenomenon, is the third problem (see this, this, and this).
    2. The TGD based model assumes that the dark “cold fusion” of dark nucleons produces nuclei with much smaller binding energy than that of normal nuclei and can occur at low temperatures. The potential energy wall preventing the occurrence of fusion is much lower if it scales as the inverse size scale of the dark nuclei. This predicts the formation of dark nucleon sequences which can transform to ordinary nuclei by the reduction of the value of heff and liberate in this process almost all ordinary nuclear binding energy. This process would lead to the generation of the core of the protostar and when the temperature is high enough, ordinary nuclear fusion reactions begin.
    3. In this framework elements heavier than Fe would be formed outside stellar interiors during the period leading to the formation of the protostar. Also the formation of the cores of planets could involve this process but would not lead to the ignition temperature at which ordinary nuclear fusion begins. The seeds for the formation of stars could correspond to tangles of thickening cosmic strings producing ordinary matter as the energy of the string is liberated.

    Are the abundances of elements independent of cosmic time?

    The model predicts that effects of reprocessing, which are central in the standard model, would be weak and the abundances produced by the nuclear fusion itself inside the star should depend only weakly on cosmic time! The TGD Universe would be an expanding steady state Universe!

    ZEO strengthens this prediction. The sequence of reincarnations leads to an asymptotic state: the abundances of the nuclei in the interstellar space should not depend on time: this was actually one of the first “almost-predictions” of the TGD inspired model of nuclei as string-like entities (see this). Standard model makes different prediction: the abundances of the heavier nuclei should gradually increase as the nuclei are repeatedly re-processed in stars and blown out to interstellar space in a supernova explosion. What is the situation in real life?

    Amazingly, there is empirical support for this highly non-trivial prediction of TGD (see this). The 25 measured elemental abundances (elements up to Sn(50, 70) (tin) and Pb(82, 124) (lead)) of a 12 billion years old galaxy turned out to be very nearly the same as those for the Sun. For instance, oxygen abundance was 1/3 of that from that estimated for the Sun. Standard model would predict that the abundances should be .01-.1 from that for the Sun as measured for stars in our galaxy. The conjecture was that there must be some unknown law guaranteeing that the distribution of stars of various masses is time independent. The alternative conclusion would be that heavier elements are created mostly in the interstellar gas and dust.

    The findings of JWST, in particular the discovery of stars and galaxies which seem to be older than the Universe, conforms with this picture.

    See the article A model for planets or the chapter with the same title.

    For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.

    For the lists of articles (most of them published in journals founded by Huping Hu) and books about TGD see this.


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