news roundup again

I’m giving this News Roundup category another try. As I mentioned before: “Each post is a list of timely articles with excerpts but little or no commentary, perhaps updated over the course of the day.”

People power to warm new building in Stockholm (PhysOrg)

The body heat from hundreds of thousands of people who pass through the Stockholm Central Station each day will be used to heat a new office building nearby, the project leader said Wednesday.

“So many people go through the Central Station … We want to harness some of the warmth they produce to help heat the new building,” Karl Sundholm, of the Swedish state-held property administration company Jernhuset, told AFP.

He said the body heat would warm up water that in turn would be pumped through pipes over to the new office building, which will also house a small hotel and a few shops and is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2010.

Distant star sheds light on the birth of planets (PhysOrg)

Astronomers poring over a young star 180 light years from Earth have found evidence that stellar birth can lead to the formation of a planet only millions of years later, a mere blink on the cosmic timescale.

The mainstream theory is that planets are forged from a disc of gas and dusty debris that is left over from the creation of a star. How long this process takes is a matter of debate, though.

A team led by Johny Setiawan, an Indonesia-born astronomer at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, found a massive gas giant, between 5.5 and 13.1 times the size of Jupiter, orbiting within the dust disc of a well-studied star called TW Hydrae.

Light from the star suggests that it is between only eight and 10 million years old, which implies that planets can form even before the disc has been dissipated by stellar particles and radiation.