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The Exoplanet Thread

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#41 RJDiogenes

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:11 PM

^^ Next time I'll throw in a "which is." :lol:  Sorry about your brain.  :(

Today we have another pretty promising Exoplanet.  BD-082823 c is a little gas giant (if that's not an oxymoron) of .33 Jupiter masses orbiting a star which is 137.6 light years from Earth. There are two known planets in the system.  The star is .74 solar masses and the planet's year is 237.6 days, putting it generally inside the equivalent orbit of Venus, which in this case is right in the middle of the habitable zone.  The orbit is fairly eccentric, bringing the planet outside the orbit of Venus for part of the year, but it never leaves the comfortable middle of the zone.
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#42 Elara

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:02 PM

The teacher of my 10th grade science class, was of the fairly popular belief that there was no possibility of other planets like Earth and absolutely no chance of any life. One day he and I got into a discussion on this subject and he asked me why I could think that there was the slightest possibility of other earth like planets. My response was: you mean beside the fact that there are billions of stars in our galaxy? I also think that the Earth is not flat.
He gave me such a comical look, then told me that everyone knows that and I was just being ridiculous. To which I reminded him that we were taught that people at one time believed it to be true, and they had to have it proven to them that it wasn't flat. I'm just jumping ahead and not waiting for proof.
We had a lot of great discussions after that, good class. :)

Keep it up, RJ. We'll find my planet, yet. "I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him" (from 'The Abominable Snow Rabbit' 1961) :D
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#43 RJDiogenes

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:28 PM

^^  I love that cartoon.

It's amazing and alarming to me how many teachers are complete Luddites. I once did a report on Ice Ages (or something similar) in 5th Grade and my teacher told me she would give me a good grade because what I wrote was in sync with accepted science, but that there was no way the climate had ever changed that drastically in the History of the Earth.  I didn't know the word at the time-- I'm not sure if the word existed at the time-- but she was a Creationist.  And she was teaching kids. Bloody Hell.

I've got a couple of interesting things today.  A new planet was just announced. It's a gas giant 1.71 Jupiter masses orbiting a star of 1.41 solar masses which is 1043.7 light years away.  It's a "Hot Jupiter" with a year of only 2.2 days.  What's interesting about it (aside from it being an Exoplanet-- we may be getting a bit blase here) is that it is in a retrograde orbit.  Apparently only six such retrograde Exoplanets are known and they are difficult to explain with current theories.

Today's potentially life-bearing planet (or planetary system) is HIP 79431 b, a gas giant 2.1 times the mass of Jupiter orbiting a star of only .49 solar masses which is 47 light years away.  It has a year of 111 days and a slightly eccentric orbit which takes it from well inside the orbit of Mercury to slightly outside the orbit of Mercury, which in this system is well inside the habitable zone even at aphelion.  It is the only known planet in that system so far.
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#44 RJDiogenes

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

Time for a new Exoplanet.  I'm trying to now focus on planets that not only lie in the habitable zone, but which never leave the habitable zone-- a lot of planets that come up in the filter have highly eccentric orbits that take them out of the warm and fuzzy place too long for them to be likely viable.

So today we have HD 212771 b, another gas giant; it is 2.3 times the mass of Jupiter and orbits a star of 1.15 solar masses and lies 427 light years away.  Its orbit is slightly eccentric and it does just touch the inner edge of the habitable zone, which is just outside the orbit of Earth, and swings out to about halfway between the orbits of Earth and Mars.  So far it is the only planet known in this system.
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#45 BklnScott

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

Excellent thread, guys.  I've been taken with the idea of "hidden" planets at the edge or just beyond the edge of our system for a long time.  I remember thinking that X-Files should have revealed that's where the EBE/oil aliens were coming from... Not some far off interstellar place but a "planet X" hidden at the edge of or just outside the Oort Cloud.

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#46 RJDiogenes

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

That's a very definite possibilty.  After all, there are already a couple of KBOs that are larger than Pluto, so something the size of Earth or Mars would not be surprising.  Do you read Jack McDevitt?  There is a story in his Cryptic anthology about just such a discovery.

Today's Exoplanet is kind of cool. It's a small gas giant less than a third the mass of Jupiter orbiting a star just about a third the mass of the sun.  The habitable zone of this star is entirely inside the orbit of Mercury and this planet, despite its eccentric orbit, stays entirely within the zone at all times-- it has a year of 41 days. So far, it is the only planet known in the system and it lies 36 lgiht years away.
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#47 Dex

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:04 PM

Exocomets............

http://www.space.com...ar-systems.html

There is much more "stuff / mass" out between the stars than was thought.
An interstellar comet, asteroid, planet, or protosun would be good way stations.

Dex

#48 BklnScott

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:41 PM

I'm interested in the interstellar stuff, obviously, but as I get older I find what I'm most interested in is the stuff I hope to see happen before I die: discovery of life, the first people on Mars, the first permanent, sustainable off-earth colony, etc.  The only thing on my list that's interstellar in nature is confirmation of the first "other Earths," which I suspect is coming in the next few years.

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#49 Nonny

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:15 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 04 January 2013 - 06:28 PM, said:

It's amazing and alarming to me how many teachers are complete Luddites. I once did a report on Ice Ages (or something similar) in 5th Grade and my teacher told me she would give me a good grade because what I wrote was in sync with accepted science, but that there was no way the climate had ever changed that drastically in the History of the Earth.  I didn't know the word at the time-- I'm not sure if the word existed at the time-- but she was a Creationist.  And she was teaching kids. Bloody Hell.

I can think of a few grade school teachers I'd love to share all this information with, and I might even graciously withhold my "neener."   :D
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#50 offworlder

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:30 PM

just wanna show, this Scientific American piece on the same topic, these super Earth types,
exo types, for anyone wants further commentary,
'
The great explosion of planetary information is coming courtesy of the Kepler telescope, which has been peering at one small slice of the night sky to search for momentary dips in brightness that happen when a planet passes in front of its host star. Kepler scientists announced that they have found an additional 461 planet candidates, bringing the total number of such Kepler-found candidates to 2,740. (These objects all look like planets, but could potentially turn out to be something else like a double-star system upon further examination. “It’s likely that 90 percent or more of these candidates are going to be bona fide planets,” according to astrophysicist Natalie M. Batalha of NASA Ames Research Center.)
Most of Kepler’s new planet candidates aren’t the big Jupiter-like planets that early planet scans were sensitive to—they’re Earth-like planets or so-called “super-Earths,” planets about twice the diameter of Earth.
Of course, Kepler can only find planets that are aligned just so—the planet must pass directly between its host star and us. There’s no reason to think that most planets are lined up this way. “For every transiting planet that we identify there are 10 to 100 more that aren’t transiting,” said Batalha. The question becomes: how many planets are out there that we don’t see? The answer: lots.
“Almost all sun-like stars have a planetary system,” said Francois Fressin, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who has been exploring statistical models of Kepler data. “If you travel to a sun-like star it will have a planet. We can’t say if it will be welcoming, but it will have a planet.”
'
http://blogs.scienti...ill-the-galaxy/
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#51 RJDiogenes

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:12 PM

^^ And Kepler has only imaged a small fraction of the part of the galaxy that it can see-- and it can only see a small fraction of the galaxy.  Check out the bottom half of this graphic:

Posted Image
All these thousands of fascinating planets-- and it's all less than a drop in the bucket.

View PostDex, on 08 January 2013 - 01:04 PM, said:

There is much more "stuff / mass" out between the stars than was thought.
An interstellar comet, asteroid, planet, or protosun would be good way stations.
I don't doubt that there's tons of stuff out there, or that other systems have everything that we're used to-- asteroids, comets, Oort Clouds, Kuiper Belts. After all, a solar system is just the debris left over from star formation and the laws of physics are the same everywhere.

View PostBklnScott, on 08 January 2013 - 01:41 PM, said:

I'm interested in the interstellar stuff, obviously, but as I get older I find what I'm most interested in is the stuff I hope to see happen before I die: discovery of life, the first people on Mars, the first permanent, sustainable off-earth colony, etc.  The only thing on my list that's interstellar in nature is confirmation of the first "other Earths," which I suspect is coming in the next few years.  
Yes, we're very close to that. We've found a planet almost identical in size to Earth at Alpha Centauri. There is even evidence (unconfirmed) of Mars-sized bodies. It's just a question of them popping up in the habitable zone. We've already got some potentially habitable Super-Earths. It won't be long....

View PostNonny, on 08 January 2013 - 05:15 PM, said:

I can think of a few grade school teachers I'd love to share all this information with, and I might even graciously withhold my "neener."   :D  
:lol:

Looks like I forgot to give the name of yesterday's Exoplanet:  It's HIP 57050 b.

Today we have twins!  Around a star of 1.44 solar masses 223 light years from Earth circle two gas giants, both of whom spend their entire orbits within the habitable zone (one just barely).  HD 200964 b is 1.85 times the mass of Jupiter and has a year of 613 days (1.68 years) and has a nearly circular orbit that is just a fraction outside the orbit of Mars and just at the inner fringe of the habitable zone.  HD 200964 c is .9 Jupiter masses has a more eccentric orbit (825 days, 2.26 years), which takes it from just a fraction outside the orbit of its sister planet b to around where the inner edge of our asteroid belt would be. It's amazing how close to intersecting the orbits of these two planets come.  Talk about an interesting sky!  :lol:
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#52 RJDiogenes

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:55 PM

I have a couple of interesting Exoplanet articles today.

First, the mystery deepens regarding the object orbiting Fomalhaut that is probably a planet, but may be... something else.

Second, Kepler and Spitzer scientists have actually imaged cloud patterns on a Brown Dwarf.

As for today's Exoplanet, we have HD 156411 b, a gas giant of .74 Jupiter masses orbiting a star of 1.25 solar masses which is located about 180 light years from Earth.  It has an orbital period of 842 days (2.3 years) which is fairly eccentric and similar to one of yesterday's planets-- it goes from just outside the orbit of Mars to around the inner edge of the asteroid belt, but stays comfortably inside the habitable zone at all times.
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#53 RJDiogenes

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:54 PM

Today's Exoplanet is interesting for being much smaller than most of the planets we've seen so far.  HD 69830 d is a planet of 18.44 Earth masses orbiting a star of .86 solar masses which is located 41.1 light years away from Earth.  It has an almost perfectly circular orbit of 197 days, which is just inside the orbit of Venus and puts it near the inner fringe of the habitable zone. Theoretically, this could be a life-bearing planet on its own, let alone one of its satellites.
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#54 Nonny

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:59 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 09 January 2013 - 06:55 PM, said:

First, the mystery deepens regarding the object orbiting Fomalhaut that is probably a planet, but may be... something else.

Something new for me to consider when I stargaze: how close individual stars are to us.  I didn't know how close Fomalhaut is, and never gave thought till recently that constellations have little to do with location, since they're all about appearance.  Mostly I think about how our ancestors looked up to the heavens and told stories about what they saw.
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#55 RJDiogenes

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:55 PM

^^  Yeah, constellations are optical illusions and do change over time-- slowly or quickly, depending on how close the stars are. But they are useful for locating and cataloguing stars.  Stars are frequently named for the constellations in which they reside-- for example, Alpha Centauri is in the constellation Centaurus.

Also interesting:  That strange planet-like object orbiting Fomalhaut was added to the Exoplanet database a couple of days ago, and not classified as controversial.  Its mass is given as three Jupiters.

For today's Exoplanet, we're back to the massive gas giants.  HD 10697 b is 106 light years away and is 6.38 times the mass of Jupiter, and it orbits a star 1.15 times the mass of our sun, which pushes out the habitable zone a bit-- Earth would be just barely at the inner edge.  The outer edge goes way beyond Mars to the beginning of the Asteroid Belt.  Our planet has a perfectly circular, but somewhat off-center, orbit that is a fair bit outside of Mars's orbit but always stays comfortably within the zone, though it does get pretty close to the outer edge.  Any large moons would be excellent candidates for life.
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#56 Orpheus

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

I don't know that I *believe* these conclusions, but it's an interesting read [even this article's title waters down the original paper's overstated premise],

Asteroid Belts of Just the Right Size Are Friendly to Life

IMHO, when it comes to the 'requirements for life', NASA has tended to wed itself too closely to "the example of one" and simple explanations in the interest of "hard science now", since at least Viking in the 1970s (a more prudent approach, IMHO, would be to gather data but accept that we may not have enough info for strident declarations for at least a full generation into the future, if then)

I think the mechanisms in this article are valid and interesting, but not necessary

#57 gsmonks

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:02 AM

Has there been any talk of putting up a planet-finding doohickey capable of identifying markers such as atmospheric content, pollution, candidate substances indicating technological civilisation, or such like? Seems to me that that is what the SETI people should be concentrating on right now.
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#58 RJDiogenes

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:18 PM

View PostOrpheus, on 13 January 2013 - 07:41 PM, said:

I don't know that I *believe* these conclusions, but it's an interesting read [even this article's title waters down the original paper's overstated premise],  
Yeah, I saw that study, too, and I don't believe it either, any more than I believe the Moon is necessary for life on Earth.  Comets and KBOs would bring more water to the inner solar system than asteroids would.

View Postgsmonks, on 14 January 2013 - 03:02 AM, said:

Has there been any talk of putting up a planet-finding doohickey capable of identifying markers such as atmospheric content, pollution, candidate substances indicating technological civilisation, or such like? Seems to me that that is what the SETI people should be concentrating on right now.  
Well, there was the Terrestrial Planet Finder, but that's been, sadly, cancelled.  I don't know if that was capable of atmospheric analysis, but given that existing spacecraft have imaged the cloud and weather patterns of a Brown Dwarf, I don't think it will be much longer before we're doing spectral analyses of Exoplanets.

Tonight's Exoplanet is a goody.  HD 176051 b is a gas giant of 1.5 Jupiter masses orbiting a star of unrecorded mass, but which has a habitable zone similar to ours, maybe just a bit farther out.  The system lies 48 light years from Earth.  The planet's orbit is just about as perfectly circular as you can get and lies just a bit outside the orbit of Mars, and just snugly inside the outer edge of the zone.  Any large moon orbiting this planet would be nicely placed for a temperate environment.
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#59 RJDiogenes

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

Today's Exoplanet is even more of a goody.  HD 9578 b is a gas giant 62% of Jupiter's mass orbiting a star of 1.12 solar masses. The system is 186.7 light years from Earth.  The habitable zone is just a bit farther out than ours and this planet has a year of 1.4 Earth years, putting it about halfway between Earth and Mars and about a quarter of the way through the zone.  Its orbit is nearly perfectly circular.  Talk about a sweet spot.  :cool:
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#60 RJDiogenes

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

Today we have a multi-planet system:  Gliese 876 has at least four planets and two of them are in the habitable zone!  The star is small, .33 solar masses, and lies about 15 light years from Earth.  The habitable zone, in its entirety, is way inside the orbit of Mercury.  The b planet is 2.28 Jupiter masses and has a year of 61.12 days. It has a pretty eccentric orbit that takes it from near the inner edge of the zone to just about exactly in the middle.  The c planet is .71 Jupiter masses and has a year of 30 days. It has a much more circular orbit and lies very comfortably within the zone. Both of these planets could very well have temperate moons with life.
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