Skip to comments.Astronomers find new planet capable of supporting life
Posted on 04/27/2012 11:32:10 AM PDT by Red Badger
Astronomers have discovered their "holy grail" - a planet capable of supporting life outside our solar system.
The planet lies in what they describe as a 'habitable zone', neither too near its sun to dry out or too far away which freezes it.
And the discovery could help answer the question of whether we are alone in the universe, which has been plagued astronomers and alien fanatics for years.
Scientists found the planet, Gliese 667Cc, orbiting around a red dwarf star, 22 light years away from the earth.
Red dwarf stars are the most common stars in the neighbourhood of the sun, usually hosting planets called gas giants, which are not composed of rock matter.
Re-analysing data from the European Southern Observatory, the astronomers found Gliese 667Cc is a solid planet with roughly four and a half times the mass of Earth.
The University Göttingen and University of California scientists have calculated the planet recieves ten per cent less light from its red dwarf star than the Earth gets from the Sun.
As the light is in the infrared area, the planet still receives nearly the same amount of energy as the Earth, meaning water could be liquid and surface temperatures could be similar to ours.
Astronomers are hailing the plant as the 'Holy Grail' of discoveries, as 20 years ago scientists were still arguing about the existence of planets beyond our solar system.
Since the discovery of the first extrasolar planet in 1995, astronomers have confirmed the existence of more than 760 planets beyond the solar system, with only four believed to be in a habitable zone.
One of the most successful tools of planet hunters is the High Accuracy Radial Planetary Searcher (HARPS) telescope, which measures the radial velocity of a star.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Just exactly WHAT are you talking about??
A SciFi movie??
The scientists call Earth, in the Goldilocks Zone ..not too hot...not too cold
I don’t see what ID has to do with any of it.
Budget season already?
This and the Space Shuttle over NYC. Funny how that works out.
Big deal. How much can LIFE weigh anyway? Now MONOPOLY, there’s a heavy game.....put a few hotels on the board and see if that planet can hold it up.
Have you played the new version of Life lately?..............
There are some things that can certainly be known, given some known accuracy of the instruments.
Matters such as the orbits of distant objects and the nature of the stars they are orbiting are not things that can be fudged. Orbital mechanics is also very well understood and has been checked and rechecked ad infinitum. Its why we can reliably get spacecraft to our own stars planets.
Global warming theories depend on much more fuzzy concepts and complex processes (and hence being much closer to pure speculation) than those we are discussing here.
We must learn to communicate with them on earth if we have any hope at all of communicating with them across space
You’re absolutely right.
The habitable zone of red dwarf stars is so close to the stellar body that planets occupying this area are almost invariably tidally-locked and have a single face toward the sun. This in and of itself makes the planet unlikely to be habitable because massive temperature differences between the light and dark sides create tremendous winds as the atmosphere (if there even is one) stuggles to find temperature equilibrium.
Further, a tidally-locked planet is unlikely to have sufficient magenetic field due to a hugely diminished dyanamo effect to prevent the solar wind from stripping any atmostphere to begin with.
I suspect no matter what the hype, this planet at the very best is no more inviting than Mars. It is certainly not another Earth.
Too bad...A planet able to sustain humanity orbiting a red dwarf would be a huge insurance policy against extinction because they’ll burn for trillions of years. Our sun will be too brige for our oceans to remain liquid in mere hundreds of millions.
A trip like that needs wine, women and song. And a few friends.
Its mostly harmless...if you have a towel.
Re: “God must have created such a vast universe to support life.”
Or, for the more cynical among us, God created a vast universe to support NASA.
BZZT WRONG, the gravity depends on the density of the planet and mass and distance from the center of the planet. The Planet would have higher gravity than the earth, but it would be a less than 4.5G. Probably between 1.6 - 2.8 Gs
You are correct.
And I think the exact answer for the ratio of Earth Weight to Planet X weight is, given equal densities of Planet X and Planet Earth, the cube root of 4.5. That turns out to be very close to 1.65.
So you would weigh 65% more on Planet X than you do here on earth. Those aliens who now watching our late 80's TV will be shorter and fatter than we are. Well at least shorter assuming they haven't discovered fast food yet.
You mean the one where you take shots of Jack Daniels after each turn? Oh.....wait......that’s my real life......sorry.
To know what I’m talking about I guess you would have to view the video or read the book. I’m not that good at condensing the idea’s. Yes it is the Goldilocks zone plus multiple other factors that make life possible. The mathamatics of it make accidental life unlikely.
“capable of supporting life”
What is habitable for us, may not be for other life.
I would be surprised if we are the only technical species for 1000 light years. There could be species out there that achieved intelligence faster than we did, and thus achieve space travel before our time line.
Take it up with the writer. The scientists are saying very little.
Maybe they found evidence of a construct.
That would lead to Fermi's question: Where are they?
The odds against any life forming and evolving to a technological point in any reasonable amount of time are tremendous. Many conditions have to be just right and fairly stable for billions of years.
that being said, better a belief system of a positive caring faith than one whose system requires death to all who do not believe, like Islam.
Actually the gravity would only ~2Gs as the force is a fuction of mass and the distance from the centre. Because the diameter of the planet would be greater, so would the distance from the surface to the centre. Doubling the distance reduces gravity by a factor of four.
My own guess is that they’d be able to see infrared.
We only have experience with our own world. It might be different out there.
On our own world, life only makes up 3 parts in 10 billion of the mass of the planet. All the other real estate nearby is even more barren, probably completely. I expect that “out there” has the same laws of physics we do, which makes life so rare.
The Game of Life was updated in 1991 to reward players for “good” behavior, such as recycling trash and helping the homeless.
An updated version of the game’s 1991 format was released in 2005 with a few gameplay changes. The new Game of Life tried to add in extra elements to reduce chance, although it is still primarily chance based and still rewards players for taking risks.
It also has ‘situations’ like: Buy an SUV........