back to article Pandora plus Endor: Multi hab-moon motherworld discovered

Top astro boffins have announced the discovery of the first planet which could be the real-life parent world of fictional habitable moons Pandora and Endor. According to Blighty's top exomoonologist, there might even be more than one inhabited moon circling the newly discovered gas giant. Corot-9b orbits a G3 star not …


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  1. The Indomitable Gall

    Dr Boffin. DR BOFFIN?!?!?!?

    Come on guys, it's only the 22nd of March....

    And how did this guy rank with Jobs, Gates and Paris?

    1. Seanmon

      I for one... a long established fan of the estimable Dr Boffin, thank you.

  2. nichomach


  3. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    Ewoks vs Na'vi

    Given how easily they defeat mechanized armies with a handful of stones and arrows, if they came up against eachother their respective races would be wiped out in a matter of minutes.

    More likely there would be a dance, followed by some singing. Great.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    460 parsecs, eh?

    I maybe I won't hold my breath for the 280-odd years it'll take to get a reply to any interstellar A/S/L messages anyone choose to send

    1. Stuart Rogers

      Re: 460 parsecs, eh?

      > I won't hold my breath for the 280-odd years it'll take to get a reply to any interstellar A/S/L messages...

      Neither would I. 460 parsecs is about 1500 light years, so the round trip time for a message and response will be at least 3000 years.

    2. Graham Marsden


      ... Given that a parsec is a bit over 3.2 light years, you'll be waiting a bit more than 280 years.

      Try about 3000 years!

      1. Dr. Vesselin Bontchev

        Parsecs, eh?

        I'm sure the Millenium Falcon could make this run in less than 12 parsecs.

        BTW, "Endor" isn't the name of the Ewoks' moon - it's the name of the *planet* around which this moon orbits.

  5. David Evans

    Wishful thinking

    Kind of reaching here aren't you? There are a couple of big problems with gas-giant moons, rather than planets, as life-bearing candidates; first of all, tidal forces would be a bitch, which doesn't make life impossible, but certainly makes it harder; but more difficult would be radiation from the gas giant, which would overwhlem the magnetosphere of any moon (assuming it has one in the first place), making it a rather unwelcome place for anything biological.

    1. jonathan keith


      There you go, ruining all our fun with your "science" "facts". I've a good mind to report you to the moderatrix for corrective punishment.

      1. jai


        also though, would it not be the case the half the time that the moon takes to orbit the gas giant, it'll be in eclipse from the sun, and so be very very cold? that can't be good for life can it?

        so perhaps, less Ewoks and more Wumpa?

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

          No worries

          The moons of Jupiter spend only a short amount of time in the shadow of the planet. The more distant the orbit, the smaller the fraction of time in the shadow. It would have some effect on th etemperature, but not life-threateningly so

        2. Torben Mogensen

          Re: cold?

          "would it not be the case the half the time that the moon takes to orbit the gas giant, it'll be in eclipse from the sun, and so be very very cold?"

          Unless the moon's orbit is _very_ close to the planet, eclipses will be fairly short. Also, if the inclination of the moon's orbit around the planet differs even slightly from the plane of the planet's orbit around its sun, there would not even be eclipses every "month". For much the same reason that lunar eclipses don't happen every month.

          In short, though eclipses are likely to be a bit more common and a bit longer than lunar eclipses on Earth, they are unlikely to have any measurable impact on the climate.

    2. Brutus

      Bog off, spoilsport!

      We like our wishful thinking. And we can counter your objections with more entirely unjustified (and scientifically dubious) wishful thinking: the gas giant's radiation and tidal forces actually act as a spur to mutations and darwinian evolution, so the inhabitants will be incredibly tough and most likely highly advanced and we'd do well to accede to their demands for a tribute of earth women and chocolate.

    3. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Wishful thinking

      And the constant threat of your mother planet acting as a solar system vacuum cleaner for errant asteroids and Oort Cloud / Kuiper Belt nasties.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge


    Nuke the place from orbit, it's the only way to be sure!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I know what'll happen

    We'll tune into their TV signals ... and there'll be nothing worth watching.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    I for one, welcome our new Ewok overlords.

    (They're just the right size for drop-kicking...)

  9. Graham Bartlett

    @Evil Graham

    Re TV signals, consider the possibility that there's an Ewok equivalent of the Playboy Channel.

    (You may now feel the need to disinfect your brain. Muhuhuhuh!!!)

    Signed, the Even More Evil Graham.

    1. MJI Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Oh dear

      Sounds like you will get a prison sentence for extreme porn now

      1. Paul 129

        Think of the children!

        Ya at last something for the Think of the Children Brigade. Load them up into a rocket and send them off to ask these aliens to cease and desist.

        Word up the next lot that the first lot has been corrupted by the aliens, which is why they haven't returned by the following year.

        Rince and repeat. Might get a few thousand years of peace before they suspect anything.

  10. Sikas Aparat

    "clouds of methane and patio-gas"

    Love it.

    I for one welcome our new barbecueing overlords.

  11. grimreality

    COnvection ROtation and planetary Transits

    COROT standing for COnvection ROtation and planetary Transits

    CRAPt standing for Convetion Rotation And Planetary transits

    On another possible flame exomoonologist, sounds like something Labour would come up with to give another relative a job for life. (for all the flaming trolls I understand this may be meaning outside earth. But then again if it is a moon it is outside earth)

  12. eezatehgeeza

    Parsec hmmm...

    I wonder how many Brontosauruses (Brontosaurii?) there are in a parsec?

    1. eezatehgeeza

      Used ""my"" head...

      Google, Reg and "other" research materials plus Excel yielded the "facturd" that any ship would have to travel at approx. 565,718,840 Brontosauruses/second to make it there in the same time it took the "ISV Venture Star" to make it to Pandora!!!!

      Yes - work finishes in 5...4...

      1. Steve Roper

        Your head must have zero mass then

        Given that 565,718,840 Brontosauruses/sec is approximately 56.6 times the speed of sheep in a vacuum, the transit time would be closer to 0.0043 Mayan end-of-world cycles rather than the 0.00097 it took to reach Pandora - observer time. And you forgot to factor in relativity; since your ship would be travelling faster than the sheep, it would have infinite mass (unless it, like its pilot's head, had zero mass to begin with) and also be travelling back in time and get there before it left!

        1. eezatehgeeza

          Oh shit!

          My nose is bleeding!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          You neglected to factor in the carrot

          ...and as a result, your projections would be at least 0.1% of predicted Zamboni off.

    2. Rob 59


      No idea, I only work in the newer metric system of double decker buses

  13. Fibbles

    On the plus side...

    If we start receiving their TV signals all we'd have to do is tune into their version of the Discovery channel (which will no doubt be showing non stop repeats of How Stuff Works) and advance our understanding of science significantly...

    1. Britt Johnston
      IT Angle

      learning from aliens

      The main attraction of the Na'vi culture is that it doesn't have TV.

      They also have a built-in USB equivalent, a global add-free internet with ancestor channeling, and a working paperless office implementation.

  14. Trygve

    Prank call???

    I can only imagine the expression on the esteemed scientist's face as the questions from 'The Press' became increasingly deranged and excited.

    What a shame the discussion appears to have been terminated before El Reg got as far as quizzing him about the statistical probabilities of steamy interspecies bonkathons interrupting hostilities & leading to a pan-moon peace breakout.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    The slight problem with all this talk of habitable moons is that COROT-9b orbits its star at a distance where it receives roughly the same amount of heating as Mercury does from our Sun. I guess no-one bothered to do the simple calculation for stellar flux levels before jumping into the habitability hype. Given the evidence that habitable conditions meet their end at the hands of the runaway greenhouse instability at far lower levels of stellar heating, it seems more likely that if Earth-sized moons do exist around COROT-9b, the conditions would put those at the lead-melting surface of Venus to shame.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Artificial wormholes?

    Hmm. If some theories about multiple dimensions are true then it may be possible to use a modified superconducting >100T magnet to deform space-time enough to at least send a short message.

    In theory the "Wow" signal could have been just that. Shame we didn't have the receiving equipment set up to get much more than a blip.

    AC, because this is probably covered under the PATRIOT act or something...

    1. Guus Leeuw
      Paris Hilton

      100T magnet???

      Isn't that what the Large Hardon* Collider was built to provide?

      Paris because she is some form 100T magnet, attracting ... som'thin'

      * Typo intended

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Artificial wormholes - coming right up

      If the whacko's are to be believed, the LHC will spool one up for ya next week, by crashing some aircraft carriers into each other. Or something.

      Crowbars and HEV's ready everyone, we're off on a one way trip to club/cull some ewoks on Corot-9b!

  17. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    460 parsec? Pah!

    Let me get that hyperspace upgrade and I'll be there in mere minutes, Commander Jameson.

    1. Steve Roper
      Thumb Up

      Yeah, Pah!

      Minutes? I'll set my hyperdrive to jump in multiples of 655.35 light years and I'll get from Lave to there in SECONDS...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Commader Jameson

        ...unless he's got the Acorn Electron "downgrade" whereapon his ability to enter hyperspace was dictated by a semi-random process of frantic key jabbing for minutes on end...and even then his destination even more random. Though witchspace was a particularly favourite place to end up.

        Ah yes, them were the days...

  18. wayne 8

    Perfect destinations for Ark-B

    Shhh, about the downsides to possible habitation. This press release isn't for geeks and boffins, it's for marketing types and telephone sanitizers. The rest of us will be along shortly.

  19. John F***ing Stepp


    Are these handy dandy moons inside of the planetary Van Allen belts?

    Just wondering because it is always a concern while contemplating invasion.

    No one wants their throne room to glow in the dark fellows.

    (Oh, wait; they don't have oil? Never mind then.)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forget Avatar...

    .. This is the start of the plot of Serenity if ever I saw it!

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    But then

    Mr Kipping does make for exceedingly good speculation.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    ...why is the human race so utterly arrogant....

    Life cannot exist here because waffle, arrogance, busllshit...

    Just becuase this planet needs a "comfy" -+50c and water, why do we presume everything thing else needs what we call basics?

    For all we know there may be lifeforms that breathe fire, drink liquified helium, eat iron and shit plutonium.

    1. Martin Owens

      one out of 8

      We've got some good data that so far life doesn't just turn up on any old planet with any old conditions.

      [see sol system]

      1. Brutus

        yeah but

        your sample size is shit :-)

        8 planets <<< 100,000,000,000 stars in galaxy

  23. Steve Mann


    WTF is an "exomoon" FFS?

    Azathoth on a bike! If as much effort was put into getting *into* space as thinking up new names for perfectly ordinary objects seen in a telescope, we would be talking about these bloody moons in terms of decent names like Jinx, Wemadeit or Wunderland instead of carrot-9b or whatever stupid nonsense the so-called "scientists" responsible called it.


    Where's the Tylenol?

  24. Bizlaw

    Dream a little dream ... While it may be that there are moons around Cobot-9b with life, this is nothing more than speculation by these scientists! Facts: They found a gas giant plant orbiting a sun similar to our Sun. Uh, that's about it. They haven't even found a moon yet.

    Sure, I think there's life out there on other planets. But to concoct a story based on Avatar-Star Wars moon life just because a big ball of gas has been found in a solar system far, far away does not life make.

  25. C 2

    Inside the radiation belts, not IN them ...

    where the gas giant's magnetosphere blocks the stellar wind. Then even a relatively smaller moon can keep its atmosphere much longer, of course the moon would be tidally locked. As long as it is not inside the Roche limit it'd be fine.

    If its orbit is a matter of a few days or less, rotation relative to the parent star would be acceptable.

    As for the gas giant sweeping up asteroids and comets, they'd be headed for the more massive object then wouldn't they.

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