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Astronomers find 'home from home' - 90 light years away!
spaceref.com ^ | 3 Jul 03 | staff

Posted on 07/03/2003 10:22:13 AM PDT by RightWhale

Astronomers find 'home from home' - 90 light years away!

Astronomers looking for planetary systems that resemble our own solar system have found the most similar formation so far. British astronomers, working with Australian and American colleagues, have discovered a planet like Jupiter in orbit round a nearby star that is very like our own Sun. Among the hundred found so far, this system is the one most similar to our Solar System. The planet's orbit is like that of Jupiter in our own Solar System, especially as it is nearly circular and there are no bigger planets closer in to its star.

"This planet is going round in a nearly circular orbit three-fifths the size of our own Jupiter. This is the closest we have yet got to a real Solar System-like planet, and advances our search for systems that are even more like our own," said UK team leader Hugh Jones of Liverpool John Moores University.

The planet was discovered using the 3.9-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope [AAT] in New South Wales, Australia. The discovery, which is part of a large search for solar systems that resemble our own, will be announced today (Thursday, July 3rd 2003) by Hugh Jones (Liverpool John Moores University) at a conference on "Extrasolar Planets: Today and Tomorrow" in Paris, France.

"It is the exquisite precision of our measurements that lets us search for these Jupiters - they are harder to find than the more exotic planets found so far. Perhaps most stars will be shown to have planets like our own Solar System", said Dr Alan Penny, from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The new planet, which has a mass about twice that of Jupiter, circles its star (HD70642) about every six years. HD70642 can be found in the constellation Puppis and is about 90 light years away from Earth. The planet is 3.3 times further from its star as the Earth is from the Sun (about halfway between Mars and Jupiter if it were in our own system).

The long-term goal of this programme is the detection of true analogues to the Solar System: planetary systems with giant planets in long circular orbits and small rocky planets on shorter circular orbits. This discovery of a -Jupiter- like gas giant planet around a nearby star is a step toward this goal. The discovery of other such planets and planetary satellites within the next decade will help astronomers assess the Solar System's place in the galaxy and whether planetary systems like our own are common or rare.

Prior to the discovery of extrasolar planets, planetary systems were generally predicted to be similar to the Solar System - giant planets orbiting beyond 4 Earth-Sun distances in circular orbits, and terrestrial mass planets in inner orbits. The danger of using theoretical ideas to extrapolate from just one example - our own Solar System - has been shown by the extrasolar planetary systems now known to exist which have very different properties. Planetary systems are much more diverse than ever imagined.

However these new planets have only been found around one-tenth of stars where they were looked for. It is possible that the harder-to-find very Solar System-like planets do exist around most stars.

The vast majority of the presently known extrasolar planets lie in elliptical orbits, which would preclude the existence of habitable terrestrial planets. Previously, the only gas giant found to orbit beyond 3 Earth-Sun distances in a near circular orbit was the outer planet of the 47 Ursa Majoris system - a system which also includes an inner gas giant at 2 Earth-Sun distances (unlike the Solar System). This discovery of a 3.3 Earth-Sun distance planet in a near circular orbit around a Sun-like star bears the closest likeness to our Solar System found to date and demonstrates our searches are precise enough to find Jupiter- like planets in Jupiter-like orbit.

To find evidence of planets, the astronomers use a high- precision technique developed by Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institute of Washington and Geoff Marcy of the University of California at Berkeley to measure how much a star "wobbles" in space as it is affected by a planet's gravity. As an unseen planet orbits a distant star, the gravitational pull causes the star to move back and forth in space. That wobble can be detected by the 'Doppler shifting' it causes in the star's light. This discovery demonstrates that the long term precision of the team's technique is 3 metres per second (7mph) making the Anglo-Australian Planet Search at least as precise as any of the many planet search projects underway.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Technical
KEYWORDS: astronomy; crevolist; planets; solarsystem; xplanets
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New solar system like ours but 90 lightyears away.
1 posted on 07/03/2003 10:22:13 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: RightWhale
how long is a "lightyear" might I ask?
2 posted on 07/03/2003 10:32:46 AM PDT by KantianBurke (The Federal govt should be protecting us from terrorists, not handing out goodies)
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To: KantianBurke
Lightyear is a measure of distance. If I remember correctly it's about 6 trillion miles.

Glad you posted this...I've been looking for an out of the way place for a vacation. ha.

3 posted on 07/03/2003 10:34:51 AM PDT by rvoitier (There's too many ALs in this world: Al Qaeda Al Jezeera Al Gore Al Sharpton Al Franken)
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To: KantianBurke
5.88 trillion miles
4 posted on 07/03/2003 10:35:26 AM PDT by Monty22
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To: KantianBurke
97,761,600,000 or so miles. 186,000 miles a second x 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 is my guess.
5 posted on 07/03/2003 10:37:57 AM PDT by Slicksadick
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To: Slicksadick
oopsie 5,865,696,000,000
6 posted on 07/03/2003 10:41:26 AM PDT by Slicksadick
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To: RightWhale
Oh great...another planet those evil white male Christian Conservatives can pollute with their gas-guzzling SUV's

/sarcasm
7 posted on 07/03/2003 10:41:54 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic
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To: RightWhale
Are they implying that earth like planets may also be orbiting this star?
8 posted on 07/03/2003 10:42:14 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: Sam Cree
Looks more like it's the first thing they've found with any analogues to any of the planets in our Solar System. In this case, to Jupiter, not Earth.
9 posted on 07/03/2003 10:46:41 AM PDT by m1911
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To: Sam Cree
We don't have scope resolution down to the level where we could see an Earth sized planet that close in to its Primary.

I'm curious though. Let's build a ship that can get us there and back again, and go find out for our selves. ;-)

10 posted on 07/03/2003 10:48:09 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (For an Evil Super Genius, you aren't too bright are you?)
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To: KantianBurke
how long is a "lightyear" might I ask?

It's like a light sabre but longer... ;-)

11 posted on 07/03/2003 10:48:54 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: Prodigal Son
how long is a "lightyear" might I ask?

Its about half the calories as a regular year.

12 posted on 07/03/2003 10:50:04 AM PDT by MrsEmmaPeel
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To: Dead Corpse
Orbit a dozen or so Hubbles and space them a couple thousand miles apart. They would form an excellent long baseline interferomerter and we would then be able to resolve the weather patterns on those planets that revolve around those stars in the neighborhood. A Scientific American article in the early 90s postulated such a scope.
13 posted on 07/03/2003 10:56:21 AM PDT by Young Werther
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To: MrsEmmaPeel
;-)

I was thinking about Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" when I wrote that. He was asking college students the question "If a light year is the distance light travels in a year- what is a light sabre?" One person answered "The distance light travels in a sabre?"

14 posted on 07/03/2003 11:02:20 AM PDT by Prodigal Son
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To: RightWhale
Well, if there is a planet out there, we need to send a sizable portion of our planet to go there immediately. We're running out of room on this planet and we're destroying mother earth, you know. (snicker.)

I think we need to send the liberals first, to make sure the new planet has a functioning welfare system and environmental regulations before the rest of humanity arrives. Or at least that's what we can tell them.
15 posted on 07/03/2003 11:07:08 AM PDT by Our man in washington
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To: Dead Corpse
Let's build a ship that can get us there and back again, and go find out for our selves

90 LY at warp 8 is only 32 days travel time each way.

16 posted on 07/03/2003 11:11:28 AM PDT by ASA Vet ("Those who know, don't talk. Those who talk, don't know." (I'm in the Sgt Schultz group))
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To: Sam Cree
Are they implying that earth like planets may also be orbiting this star?

Yes. Haven't seen any yet, but they will no doubt use the new NASA earthlike planet finder instruments to be launched in the next few years to look exactly there.

17 posted on 07/03/2003 11:12:26 AM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: Dead Corpse
Let's build a ship that can get us there and back again, and go find out for our selves

This should be NASA's first priority. (Just to lay out the suggestion that NASA needs something useful to do.)

18 posted on 07/03/2003 11:14:41 AM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: KantianBurke
The distance light travels in one year, approx. 6 trillion miles. The very notion of a light year would've shocked the ancients, and even most people right up until a couple of centuries ago, who thought light was instantaneous; i.e., travelled infinitely fast. But compared to the size of the Universe, it crawls (at least for outside observers).
19 posted on 07/03/2003 11:15:31 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: Young Werther
One of the planetfinder designs being built is something like that, I think. An array of detectors with a good baseline.
20 posted on 07/03/2003 11:16:15 AM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: Slicksadick; KantianBurke
That is very close, but take the lap years into consideration then the length of the year is 365.242198 days and not 365.

An approximate calculation is here
http://www.jimloy.com/astro/year.htm
21 posted on 07/03/2003 11:16:28 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: Sam Cree
Are they implying that earth like planets may also be orbiting this star?

They're suggesting that earth-like planets COULD exist in this system, not that they DO exist.

The point being that solar systems with Jupiter-like planets in highly elliptical orbits (which is typically what we find when we DO find an extra-solar planet, because they are easier to find) would cause unfavorable gravitational pertabations on any Earth-like planet in an Earth-like orbit, resulting in the earth-like planet being flung out into space in a relatively short period of time.

So, the system thay have found, with a Jupiter-like planet in a nearly circular orbit at a distance similar to Jupiter, is Earth-like planet compatible; all the others that have been discovered to date have not been compatible.

22 posted on 07/03/2003 11:18:34 AM PDT by longshadow
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To: AdmSmith
Sorry lap =>leap ;-)
23 posted on 07/03/2003 11:19:09 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: RightWhale; PatrickHenry; RadioAstronomer; Right Wing Professor; Junior
I'll let Junior and Patrick ping the rest.

Pretty cool stuff, thanks Rightwhale!!
24 posted on 07/03/2003 11:21:48 AM PDT by Aric2000 (If the history of science shows us anything, it is that we get nowhere by labeling our ignorance god)
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To: RightWhale
Can't wait for VLT to become fully operational. I believe it'll be able to image earth-sized planets out to 50ly or so. Too bad Europeans are running the show.
25 posted on 07/03/2003 11:22:01 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: RightWhale
PLAN 90 FROM OUTER SPACE

26 posted on 07/03/2003 11:23:08 AM PDT by rockfish59
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To: KantianBurke
I don't know how long a light year is, but the Millenium Falcon made the kessle run in under 5 parsecs. ;^)
27 posted on 07/03/2003 11:24:22 AM PDT by js1138
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To: RightWhale
Reckon they have liberals there?
28 posted on 07/03/2003 11:26:25 AM PDT by gitmo (We've left the slippery slope and we are now in free fall.)
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To: gitmo
Reckon they have liberals there?

Just microbes and nanobes.

29 posted on 07/03/2003 11:31:11 AM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: Our man in washington
Why wait to find a planet - let's pack up the liberals now and get them on their way. Better yet perhaps we could just get them all to cram in to a VW bus and send it down the Santa Monica pier.
30 posted on 07/03/2003 11:34:52 AM PDT by azcap
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To: VadeRetro; jennyp; Junior; longshadow; *crevo_list; RadioAstronomer; Scully; Piltdown_Woman; ...
Planets everywhere! PING. [This ping list is for the evolution side of evolution threads, and sometimes for other science topics. FReepmail me to be added or dropped.]
31 posted on 07/03/2003 11:42:09 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Everything good that I have done, I have done at the command of my voices.)
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To: azcap
No, that's a good idea, all the utopia lovers can go set one up.
32 posted on 07/03/2003 11:53:08 AM PDT by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: RightWhale
Hmmm. They may have found the Dagobah System.
33 posted on 07/03/2003 11:55:33 AM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: longshadow
I really want to say something about wildly eliptical orbits. My tongue is all bloody from biting it.
34 posted on 07/03/2003 11:56:34 AM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
I really want to say something about wildly eliptical orbits. My tongue is all bloody from biting it.

Me, too!

;-)

35 posted on 07/03/2003 11:58:41 AM PDT by longshadow
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To: ASA Vet
90 LY at warp 8 is only 32 days travel time each way

Unless there is a nearby worm hole. Then the trip would be less time consuming. Of course those who are on a ship traveling over the speed of light may not experience the same passing of time as those back on Earth ... but that's another story

36 posted on 07/03/2003 11:59:13 AM PDT by clamper1797 (Conservative by nature ... Republican in Spirit ... Patriot by Heart ... and Anti Liberal BY GOD)
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To: gitmo
Reckon they have liberals there?

I heard they left

37 posted on 07/03/2003 12:00:12 PM PDT by clamper1797 (Conservative by nature ... Republican in Spirit ... Patriot by Heart ... and Anti Liberal BY GOD)
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To: js1138
yeah... you know, I agree with that thread earlier getting pulled. I tried catching up with it this morning and just got sick of the nonsense.

I really hope the mods spend the time to see who it was (again) who destroyed what was a decent thread. In fact, I think it was you who posted late y'day afternoon about how polite it was due to the absence of a couple people. once those 2 or 3 showed up, the thread went Ape, then, when it was Already Losing Steam, it got very gor-y.

I'm now convinced those certain unnamed few do that to those threads on purpose. Why? Honestly, I don't know. It serves no purpose at all. Then again, the constant Hitler, Stalin, Nazis, Satan, etc garbage is inhumanly annoying as well.

The part that pissed me off was that I had pinned a creationist to the wall with his minifig experiment and never got a reply.
38 posted on 07/03/2003 12:05:50 PM PDT by whattajoke
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To: RightWhale
btt
39 posted on 07/03/2003 12:07:45 PM PDT by Cacique
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To: Cacique
Very cool thread.

How rare are circular orbits, anyway?
40 posted on 07/03/2003 12:33:40 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (Happy Independance day! We owe our Freedom to Patriots, like JR.)
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To: colorado tanker
the Dagobah System

Yoda would not be pleased to find the planet showing up on star charts again. More tourists.

41 posted on 07/03/2003 12:34:31 PM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: RightWhale
YODA: You must not go!
42 posted on 07/03/2003 12:46:43 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: MonroeDNA
How rare are circular orbits, anyway?

The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia

30 June: 7 new planets:

Looks like elliptical orbits of eccentricity .3 are common.

43 posted on 07/03/2003 12:48:06 PM PDT by RightWhale (gazing at shadows)
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To: js1138; longshadow; whattajoke
Ah, but self-restraint is a hallmark of good breeding, education, intelligence, etc. After a time, those who lack such qualities will be discovered for what they truly are...sad little souls with no clue and no roadmap. :^D
44 posted on 07/03/2003 1:21:07 PM PDT by Aracelis (Oh, evolve!)
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To: Prodigal Son
Marty Biron



Ht/Wt
Catches
6’1"/154#
Left
Birthdate
Hometown
8/15/77
Lac St. Charles, Quebec

45 posted on 07/03/2003 1:29:29 PM PDT by mikrofon
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To: Monty22
Ok, but how fast can we reasonably travel? How long would it take us to go 90 lightyears?
46 posted on 07/03/2003 1:31:18 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: KantianBurke
how long is a "lightyear" might I ask?

Is that a trick question? It's a year. Or the distance light travels in a year.

Light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.
31,536,000 seconds in a year.

5,865,969,000,000 miles.

47 posted on 07/03/2003 1:42:41 PM PDT by AFreeBird
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To: DannyTN
90 lightyears? With current technology?

Millions of years. We might be able to get what, 250k miles per hour with nuclear propultion? Even that would take a very long time.


48 posted on 07/03/2003 1:44:50 PM PDT by Monty22
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To: Monty22
250,000 miles an hour. That's it? Lets see 90*5.88 = 572 trillion miles. If my math is right.

That would take us over 2 billion years!!!!!

Anyone up for a road trip?
49 posted on 07/03/2003 1:52:48 PM PDT by DannyTN (Note left on my door by a pack of neighborhood dogs.)
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To: DannyTN
I think you messed up some zeros.
The Pioneer spacecraft is now doing 25 000 miles/hour.

With this velocity, a one-way trip takes 2.5 million years.
50 posted on 07/03/2003 2:02:32 PM PDT by Tac12
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