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Solar system may be one of a kind
Reuters ^ | Thursday, August 5, 2004

Posted on 08/05/2004 10:56:29 AM PDT by presidio9

Our solar system may be unique after all, despite the discovery of at least 120 other systems with planets, astronomers said on Wednesday.

All the other solar systems that have been found have big, gassy planets circling too close to their stars to allow them to be anything like Earth or its fellow planets, the British and U.S.-based researchers said.

If that is the case, Earth-like planets will be very rare, the astronomers write in the latest issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

"Maybe these other extrasolar systems ... contain only the giant planets," said Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Livio and colleagues took a close look at what is known about the other planetary systems that have been discovered.

(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Astronomy
KEYWORDS: astronomy; serialrantsjackass
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1 posted on 08/05/2004 10:56:29 AM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9

It's obvious...I mean, what are the odds that ANOTHER Democrat Party could exist somewheres else?


2 posted on 08/05/2004 10:58:00 AM PDT by ken5050 (We've looked for WMD in Iraq for LESS time than Hillary looked for the Rose Law firm billing records)
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To: presidio9

Jupiter has moons almost as big as Earth. It is possible, but not likely, that these close-in giant gas planets around other stars could have a "moon" that has life on it since the temperature itself may be OK.


3 posted on 08/05/2004 10:59:18 AM PDT by RockinRight (Liberalism IS the status quo)
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To: presidio9

The universe is just too big for us ever to know, but it is clear that a planet like ours is rare.


4 posted on 08/05/2004 10:59:25 AM PDT by Always Right
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To: presidio9

Isn't it harder to observe and detect solar systems like ours at interstellar distances precisely because the planets are so small?


5 posted on 08/05/2004 11:02:45 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: ken5050
It's obvious...I mean, what are the odds that ANOTHER Democrat Party could exist somewheres else?

I would have thought space itself would be littered with democrats. After all, they seem well suited to life in a vacuum.
6 posted on 08/05/2004 11:04:55 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (No animals have been hurt in the making of this tag line)
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To: presidio9

It's also possible that current technology can ONLY detect planets that are large, therefore gaseous, therefore not sustaining life.


7 posted on 08/05/2004 11:05:58 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: presidio9
In an infinite universe there are infinite possibilities.

LBT

-=-=-
8 posted on 08/05/2004 11:08:16 AM PDT by LiberalBassTurds (Al Qaeda needs to know we are fluent in the "dialogue of bullets.")
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To: reagan_fanatic

outstanding...can't top that..can't even come close..


9 posted on 08/05/2004 11:08:58 AM PDT by ken5050 (We've looked for WMD in Iraq for LESS time than Hillary looked for the Rose Law firm billing records)
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Impossible.
humans think with a little science they can understand and comprehend the entire universe. of course it's not one of a kind. there are how many solar systems in our galaxy alone? how many more galaxies? how many more galaxies we can't even see?


10 posted on 08/05/2004 11:11:20 AM PDT by Legion04
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To: presidio9

I'll put this up there with sayings like "The Earth is flat", "Man was never meant to fly", "We'll never harness atomic energy", and "We'll never land on the moon". Such statements are foolish at best...


11 posted on 08/05/2004 11:11:50 AM PDT by theDentist ("John Kerry changes positions more often than a Nevada prostitute.")
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To: Izzy Dunne

Precisely. They detect these planets by looking at the gravitational 'tug' it places on the star as it orbits. The bigger the planet, the more noticeable the tug.

I can't believe they'd actually write an article like this. According to my eyesite, there are no other people on planet earth farther than 1 mile from me at all times, even less at night!


12 posted on 08/05/2004 11:12:59 AM PDT by ruiner
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To: RockinRight

Either that or our ability to detect gravitational influences of smaller planets like Earth and Mars inside what we believe to be the "living zone" of their stars isn't well enough developed yet....

Detecting the gravitational distortions of a gas giant close to a star is easier than detecting them from a much much smaller planet further away from the star.

Time will tell eventually.


13 posted on 08/05/2004 11:13:02 AM PDT by HamiltonJay ("You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.")
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To: presidio9

I have been saying that this for years. In a finite universe someone HAS to be the first. We are here. There is no 'real' evidence of life off of Earth. Anything else is speculation, guessing, and/or just lies. I won't believe there is anything else out there until it comes through the StarGate and says 'HI'


14 posted on 08/05/2004 11:13:42 AM PDT by Conan the Librarian (I am a Librarian. I don't know anything....I just know where to look it up.)
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To: reagan_fanatic

Oh man, you have discovered the missing mass in the universe: Teddytrons. They are very very heavy.


15 posted on 08/05/2004 11:14:30 AM PDT by eno_ (Freedom Lite, it's almost worth defending.)
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To: LiberalBassTurds
As far as we know, the universe is not "infinite" in the senses in which that observation would matter.
16 posted on 08/05/2004 11:14:46 AM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: presidio9

Dear Presidio,
This is a great article and thanks for bringing it to my attention. Kee up the good work.

Signed,
Nobody


17 posted on 08/05/2004 11:14:58 AM PDT by SerialRants (http://www.serialrants.com)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

My lay read of this (I are no astronomer), is that the technique used to look for planets around other suns is by looking for "wobble" in the star.

That approach make it much more likely to find stars with large planets in close, as the larger/closer the planet the more "wobble".


18 posted on 08/05/2004 11:15:02 AM PDT by Deek
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To: Always Right
How would we know planets like ours are rare? The article EXPLICITLY states that the current techniques can't detect earth-sized planets! So this whole article is a heap of dung. Follow this logic: "in our current sample, which can't possibly include any examples of earth-sized planets because we can't detect them, we find only large gas giants so we conclude earth sized planets must be rare".

Yeah, whatever....

Alternately we could argue that ANY empty system (around which no planets have been detected) could be home to currently undetectable earth sized planets. Since there seem to be a lot of empty systems earth sized planets could be incredibly common!

In fact our limited gas-giant only detecting system may only be capable of identifying a very small and unusual subset of the real planet population out there. It would be like standing on a corner in Dallas Texas dressed in drag and wearing a Kerry/Edwards button trying to strike up a conversation with passersby about politics and then concluding that everyone in American is a pro-gay democrat since those are the only ones who talked to you!
19 posted on 08/05/2004 11:15:37 AM PDT by Huntingtonian
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To: Pearls Before Swine
Isn't it harder to observe and detect solar systems like ours at interstellar distances precisely because the planets are so small?

Exactly! We detect extrasolar planets by watching for stars that wobble slightly because of the nearby presence of something massive. Only very large planets can do that. We can't draw any conclusions about extrasolar planets until we have the ability to see smaller planets.

20 posted on 08/05/2004 11:16:35 AM PDT by BlazingArizona
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To: RockinRight

Juptier's moons are much smaller than Earth. The largest ones have a diameter around 1/8 that of Earth, meaning they are 1/512 the size of Earth.


21 posted on 08/05/2004 11:17:30 AM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: Pearls Before Swine
Yes but one can determine the distance the gas giants orbit theirs suns. Seems there is a narrow range in orbits that would permit liquid water and if a giant gas planet is in or near that range then an earth like planet could not be there too. And that assumes circular orbits, if any gas giant has an elliptical orbit then once again an earth like planet can not exist.
22 posted on 08/05/2004 11:17:32 AM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: LiberalBassTurds
Th universe is not infinite, it is finite but boundless.
23 posted on 08/05/2004 11:19:17 AM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: presidio9
Solar system may be one of a kind...

Then again, it may not.

24 posted on 08/05/2004 11:22:27 AM PDT by wireman
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To: ken5050
...what are the odds that ANOTHER Democrat Party could exist somewheres else?

That's not a Democrat, that's Uranus...

25 posted on 08/05/2004 11:22:41 AM PDT by martin gibson
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To: RadioAstronomer; PatrickHenry

ping


26 posted on 08/05/2004 11:24:46 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: ken5050
". . .may be unique after all,. . .".

Then again...may be not!

27 posted on 08/05/2004 11:25:36 AM PDT by Logic n' Reason (Don't piss down my back and tell me it's rainin')
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To: SerialRants

Since over 250 people have decided to read this thread in the half hour since you posted it and you are the only one who made a smart-ass remark, I guess you are in the minority.

Ususally people wait at least a week after signing up before instructing others on what is and what is not newsworthy.

But, then, I guess you are trying to get in as many lame one-liners as possible, since you won't be sticking around for too long.


28 posted on 08/05/2004 11:27:10 AM PDT by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does)
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To: Izzy Dunne
Bingo, the original article is bunk. We've only discovered "odd" solar systems to date because our current methods for detecting extrasolar planets are limited to detecting stellar "wobbles" or observing shifts in a stars brightness. Using these methods, it would be impossible for an observer around a nearby star like Barnard's to detect the presence of our own solar system, and yet nobody questions its existence. Why isn't it detectable? Because Jupiter is too small, its orbit is too regular, and its too far out to create the kinds of wobbles we're looking for. I believe I read somewhere that Jupiter shifts the orbit of our sun by about 30 feet, while the Earth shifts it by mere inches. These gas super-giants orbiting in wild elliptical orbits, in contrast, shift the orbits of their host stars by hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of miles, which our sensitive telescopes can detect.

Detecting planets using variations in brightness is even more troublesome because it requires that the planets be A) massive enough to reflect enough light change the brightness of the host system (Jupiter may be big enough to do this...if it were closer in). Or B) That the solar system face us "edge-on" so the orbiting planets partially eclipse the central star (an extremely unlikely alignment).

As telescopes get better and we gain the ability to actually see these planets rather than inferring their presence through their effect on their solar system, we will begin to find more "normal" terrestrial planetary systems. We'll never find another Earth, of course, because we've evolved as an isolated planetary system for billions of years and our biosphere is our own, but I have no doubt that we will find Earth-like planets, possibly even with life of their own (I'm not saying intelligent life, just life).
29 posted on 08/05/2004 11:28:13 AM PDT by Arthalion
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To: reagan_fanatic

one theory is that the big, gassy planets like Jupiter are made up of lots of democrats.


30 posted on 08/05/2004 11:31:42 AM PDT by drhogan
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To: Arthalion
Yall none science types are starting to piss me off with you “wobble” arguments. First the article is not about our ability to detect small earth like planets. Everyone knows we can’t do that yet. The article is about the MODEL used to explain how solar systems form. It seems that the MODEL might be incorrect, and if the MODEL is incorrect THEN maybe solar system like ours are rarer then we used to think.

Jezzz.

31 posted on 08/05/2004 11:33:55 AM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: js1138
Thanks for the ping. We had a very recent thread on this: Earth-like planets may be more rare than thought.
32 posted on 08/05/2004 11:35:34 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Since 28 Oct 1999, #26,303, over 194 threads posted, and somehow never suspended.)
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To: presidio9
There is speculation, and then there is dumb speculation.
I am sure that a flea on an elephant thinks there is only one elephant in the universe, too.
33 posted on 08/05/2004 11:35:53 AM PDT by Publius6961 (I don't do diplomacy either.)
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To: KevinDavis
Sping!
34 posted on 08/05/2004 11:36:07 AM PDT by TomServo ("I'm so upset that I'll binge on a Saltine.")
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To: reagan_fanatic
I would have thought space itself would be littered with democrats.

Kerry's wife - the Extra-Terezial - proves there's 'Rats in outer space.

35 posted on 08/05/2004 11:37:04 AM PDT by talleyman (John Kerry: The Manurian Candidate)
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To: presidio9

Hmm. 250 people read it. Any idea how many people took a glance at it and thought, "lame" and bypassed it? Of course not. So considering the thousands of visitors that carouse these forums and the only 250 that actually read the post in that half hour, perhaps I am not in the minority...

As for the 'waiting a week before signing up', I've been doing the FREE REPUBLIC thing for many years now. Not my fault sensitive people like you read them and cry and try and get me blocked.

Then again, a sense of humor probably wouldn't appeal to such an 'intellectual' like you. He can post this stuff all he wants, I could care less. In fact, I urge more posts like this. Please post more stuff from newscientist.com and slashdot.org. Perhaps I'll start a post of my own on 'UNIX Firewalls' and 'Scientists isolating the genome responsible for lamers like you'. Get a life.


36 posted on 08/05/2004 11:41:29 AM PDT by SerialRants (http://www.serialrants.com)
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To: presidio9
What has been seen up to now does not bode well for the main purpose of seeking other planets -- finding life outside our solar system

If that's true then why spend billions of dollars trying to find life on other planets?

Why not spend those billions exploring and colonizing our own system and beyond? That's a surer way of finding alien life then sending out expensive probes that almost always fail.

37 posted on 08/05/2004 11:41:30 AM PDT by Noachian (Judicial legislation without representation is tyranny)
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To: Arthalion
And Livio said as much later on in the article:

But he said it is hard to tell as planets outside this solar system can only be detected through indirect observation and these methods are not able to detect smaller planets like Earth.

38 posted on 08/05/2004 11:44:49 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: jpsb
Erm, read the article again. It is being proposed that the model might be incorrect because we haven't found any stable terrestrial planetary systems yet. My point was that we haven't found any stable terrestrial planetary systems because our detection methodology favors the location of elliptical gas giants. They are basing their suppositions about the formation of planetary systems on flawed and heavily biased data.

Nothing found to date invalidates the standard model for planetary formation, or even throws it into any kind of serious question.

39 posted on 08/05/2004 11:46:07 AM PDT by Arthalion
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To: LiberalBassTurds

Aha! Besides which, we theorize that there are what, eleven parallel universes? In at least one of these, I am happy, rich and successful beyond my wildest dreams. Smarter, too.


40 posted on 08/05/2004 11:46:07 AM PDT by hershey
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To: presidio9

Great topic to which I have nothing to offer at this time. So, I'll just get the popcorn and read along. : )


41 posted on 08/05/2004 11:49:20 AM PDT by new cruelty
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To: ruiner

"I can't believe they'd actually write an article like this."

Look at the source, Reuters. The combined IQ of all the Reuters reporters added together would get smaller, when squared.


42 posted on 08/05/2004 11:53:16 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage
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To: ruiner
This article is extremely disingenuous. Currently the planets are detected by observing the "wobble" on the star created when the planet orbits. How much of a wobble would a planet in Jupiter's orbit have with a 12 year orbit? You would have to observe the star for at least 12 years to see a wobble.
43 posted on 08/05/2004 11:53:51 AM PDT by Rich_E
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To: Arthalion

The orbiting earth detector telescope is due for launch in just a few years. Earlier they had looked back at earth to get our characteristic signature in case they spot another earth out there so they would recognize it.


44 posted on 08/05/2004 11:58:52 AM PDT by RightWhale (Withdraw from the 1967 UN Outer Space Treaty and establish property rights)
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To: RadioAstronomer

Science PING!


45 posted on 08/05/2004 11:59:01 AM PDT by Boomer Geezer (God Bless ALL of our military and Vets -- past and present!)
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To: presidio9

Of course all the newly discovered solar systems are big gassy planets orbiting close to their stars. Those are the only systems our science can currently detect.


46 posted on 08/05/2004 12:02:16 PM PDT by doc30
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To: SerialRants
Hmm. 250 people read it. Any idea how many people took a glance at it and thought, "lame" and bypassed it? Of course not. So considering the thousands of visitors that carouse these forums and the only 250 that actually read the post in that half hour, perhaps I am not in the minority...

Actually, its 650+ now. I have about as much experience in thread volume as anybody on FR. Maybe the most. This definitely qualifies as a high-volume thread. Yours is the only complaint. Therefore, you are DEFINITELY in the minority and your comment becomes more asinine by the minute.

As for the 'waiting a week before signing up', I've been doing the FREE REPUBLIC thing for many years now. Not my fault sensitive people like you read them and cry and try and get me blocked.

The only thing I can see is that you signed up last week. Should I take your word for it that you've been around for years? You sure don't act like it. Most people here grow up real fast. BTW, I have not "tried to get you blocked," though if others have in the past I can't say that surprises me.

Then again, a sense of humor probably wouldn't appeal to such an 'intellectual' like you. He can post this stuff all he wants, I could care less. In fact, I urge more posts like this. Please post more stuff from newscientist.com and slashdot.org. Perhaps I'll start a post of my own on 'UNIX Firewalls' and 'Scientists isolating the genome responsible for lamers like you'. Get a life.

Most people here will tell you that I have a fantastic sense of humor. That's not the problem. The problem is that you are not nearly as witty as you believe you are. You are not really even annoying. Your comment is just lame. It probably comes from hanging out at U Cal Berkely for so long.

I'm doing you a favor here. Take a break, and give it a rest until you get a better feel for what passes for etiquette here.

47 posted on 08/05/2004 12:12:53 PM PDT by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does)
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To: RightWhale
Well, it'll be more than just a few years. Kepler is due for launch in just a few years, but it's essentially just a Hubble tuned to stare at stars to detect brightness changes. It will be far more sensitive and detect far smaller planets than we are currently capable of picking up, but it will still be inferring the presence of the planets by the changes in the host stars brightness.

We won't have any technology capable of directly observing planets in distant systems until the TPF missions launch, and they're currently not planned until 2014 and 2020 at the earliest. It's nice to know that these questions will be answered in my lifetime, but it's still a frustrating wait for us amateurs :\
48 posted on 08/05/2004 12:19:02 PM PDT by Arthalion
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To: martin gibson

Astronomers have detected a gaseous discharge from the soft core of Uranus.


49 posted on 08/05/2004 12:24:11 PM PDT by steve8714
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To: martin gibson

Sorry, I've been saving that for just such a thread.


50 posted on 08/05/2004 12:26:39 PM PDT by steve8714
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