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Author Topic: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.  (Read 24093 times)

dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #75 on: October 16, 2010, 12:07:42 am »


The current evidence suggests earth like planets are very rare.




There's no requirement for scientific papers to support ones opinion here. 



How can you claim that current evidence suggests that earth-like planets are very rare, and then say that there is no requirement to provide that evidence? Current evidence simply does not support your assertions.
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justboatonic

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #76 on: October 21, 2010, 08:23:50 pm »



How can you claim that current evidence suggests that earth-like planets are very rare, and then say that there is no requirement to provide that evidence? Current evidence simply does not support your assertions.

Oh dear, you simply cannot read or, deliberately alter what others have said!

I said there was no need to produce scientific papers to support one's opinion here. You clearly have a problem understanding simple English.

I've noticed you have tried to use the argument that I have changed my opinion a few posts back. Yet another desparate attempt by you to try and and show an inconsistency where none exists. My opinion hasnt changed one jot. You, on the other hand, have merely used a couple of sentences that mean essentially the same thing but which I had phrased slightly differently.

Im more than happy to confirm to you my position and stance hasnt changed one jot. Current evidence does support my opinion that Earth like planets are very rare.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #77 on: October 21, 2010, 10:02:10 pm »


Im more than happy to confirm to you my position and stance hasnt changed one jot. Current evidence does support my opinion that Earth like planets are very rare.


And that evidence is?
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justboatonic

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #78 on: February 02, 2011, 07:34:40 pm »

Yet again, further evidence that our solar system is tending to uniqueness.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12333766

A solar system including six planets around a star 2,000 light-years away has been spotted by astronomers.

The planets range between two and four-and-a-half times the radius of Earth, and between two and 13 times its mass.

Five of the planets orbit the star closer than Mercury orbits our Sun.

All of the planets orbit their host star closely - five of them closer to their star than Mercury is to our Sun, and the sixth just beyond that distance. Two orbit at a distance just one-tenth as far as the Earth is from the Sun.

What is surprising is that all the planets are comparatively large; the system has a total of 10 times the mass of the Earth inside the radius of Mercury's orbit; here in our Solar System, there are only about two Earth masses contained in a radius five times that of the Earth's orbit.
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dreadnought72

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #79 on: February 02, 2011, 08:22:31 pm »

No, yet again this is early evidence extrapolated, by you, to suggest a bigger picture that may well not be the case.

I give up.

Andy
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #80 on: February 02, 2011, 11:31:00 pm »

No, yet again this is early evidence extrapolated, by you, to suggest a bigger picture that may well not be the case.

I give up.

Andy


It will be no surprise to find that I am in agreement with dreadnought72 - I would also point out that the first Kepler candidate planets for which we have had data released had orbital periods of a few hours or days.

These current candidates have orbital periods of around 10-50 days, and are correspondingly further out. It has been pointed out at some length that the first discoveries would be the short-period ones, and we will have to wait for the longer period planets in the habitable zone. It seems to me that Kepler is proceeding according to schedule - first the 1 day length orbits, and now the 50 day orbits. I assume another six months or so will be giving us some 100-200 day orbit candidates, and then we will start being able to talk about earth-like planets. Until then, ALL the Kepler findings will by definition be unlike the Solar System....
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flashtwo

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #81 on: February 03, 2011, 09:21:05 am »

Hi,

When my daughter was doing a school science project some years ago, in order to get some visual perspective of the solar system, we made a tiny 2mm diameter "model" of the Earth, covered a netball (850mm dia.?) with yellow tissue paper to represent the Sun and placed them 25 metres apart in the garden. It was almost a profound experience seeing the vast emptiness of space even within the Earth's orbit (it also showed how unlucky we were to be hit by a giant meteor!).

When the scientists describe these vast Jupiter size planets within the orbital distance of Mercury, it seems that it would be too crowded of have six of them, but, having built the "model" described above, it does allow one to have an appreciation of the size of the Universe that no amount of equations, books, TV images and the like, can give you.

Ian.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #82 on: February 03, 2011, 01:22:59 pm »

Hi,

When my daughter was doing a school science project some years ago, in order to get some visual perspective of the solar system, we made a tiny 2mm diameter "model" of the Earth, covered a netball (850mm dia.?) with yellow tissue paper to represent the Sun and placed them 25 metres apart in the garden...

Those figures seem a little out to me. They suggest that the Earth is about 30 sun diameters away from the sun, which is much too short a distance? In reality it's about 100 diameters away. Without doing the calculation, I would guess that the netball should be about 30mm diameter, or the distance should be about 80m....

...(it also showed how unlucky we were to be hit by a giant meteor!)...

Of course you have to allow for the fact that, from time to time, clouds of debris pass through our orbital position. These clouds are orbiting the sun in a similar fashion to ourselves, thus making contact more likely. The early years of the Solar System featured quite a lot of impacts, as the surface of the moon indicates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Heavy_Bombardment gives an example...
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malcolmfrary

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #83 on: February 03, 2011, 02:13:33 pm »

Using the materials and space available, it was a pretty good representation of the scale of things, and perfectly good for perception of the way things are in our system.  Much better than an astrolabe, even if the relative motions could not be shown.  No doubt many people still think of the relative sizes and spacings as being accurately depicted in the drawings on encyclopaedia pages in the manner of an engineering drawing for construction of a new one.
Any chance of taking the overall diameter of the netball as being the Sun and its corona?
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #84 on: February 03, 2011, 02:51:17 pm »

Using the materials and space available, it was a pretty good representation of the scale of things...Any chance of taking the overall diameter of the netball as being the Sun and its corona?

I don't think there is any agreed diameter for the corona. It varies in size, of course, sometimes down to near-zero and back out to about 1 solar radius, so you could certainly have the netball as the corona.  :-)) :-))

It's definitely a much better representation of the Solar system than the usual encyclopedias give, so I'm certainly not knocking it... In practice, of course, if you try to make a really accurate representation, even of the crowded area of space around our sun, you soon run into practical difficulties. At your scale, Saturn would be about 250yds away, and Neptune about half a mile....
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flashtwo

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #85 on: February 03, 2011, 07:05:56 pm »

Hi,

Whoops - Obviously not many netball players on Mayhem then!

I meant to say the Netball was about 220mm diameter, I must of been thinking of the Sun's diameter of 860,000 miles. I think the 850mm Netball is reserved for the alien netball players on the recently discovered giant worlds!

If we take the 25 metres as representing the 93 million miles between the Sun and the Earth (excuse the mix of units) then the Earth would be about 2mm and the Sun 215mm, which is about right.

If you visit the Kent village of Otford (just north of Sevenoaks), there is the Millenium Solar System ( http://www.otford.org/solarsystem/ ), which provides annother perspective of space.

Ian.
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justboatonic

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #86 on: February 03, 2011, 11:04:58 pm »

No, yet again this is early evidence extrapolated, by you, to suggest a bigger picture that may well not be the case.

I give up.

Andy

Give up? I thought you had just started looking?

Seems like this person has no problem extrapolating information to support his view point ""The fact that we've found so many planet candidates in such a tiny fraction of the sky suggests there are countless planets orbiting sun-like stars in our galaxy," said William Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center" And you know what, I dont disagree with him because likely there are many planets.

Seriously, no its not early evidence whatsoever. But you keep thinking these results may well not be the case.

It is further evidence that what is out there is pointing in the direction that our solar system isnt common.

Of some of the earth sized planets discovered by Kepler and recently announced by NASA "Five of the potential planets are near Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of smaller, cooler stars than our sun. ie even these solar systems are different.
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justboatonic

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #87 on: February 03, 2011, 11:10:20 pm »

Hi,

When my daughter was doing a school science project some years ago, in order to get some visual perspective of the solar system, we made a tiny 2mm diameter "model" of the Earth, covered a netball (850mm dia.?) with yellow tissue paper to represent the Sun and placed them 25 metres apart in the garden. It was almost a profound experience seeing the vast emptiness of space even within the Earth's orbit (it also showed how unlucky we were to be hit by a giant meteor!).

When the scientists describe these vast Jupiter size planets within the orbital distance of Mercury, it seems that it would be too crowded of have six of them, but, having built the "model" described above, it does allow one to have an appreciation of the size of the Universe that no amount of equations, books, TV images and the like, can give you.

Ian.

Further analysis of these 6 large planets that orbit so close to the star is required to determine if they 'grew' in the position they currently occupy or, formed further out and migrated inwards.

Either way, its yet another exo system unlike our own.

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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #88 on: February 04, 2011, 12:56:35 am »


...Either way, its yet another exo system unlike our own...


ALL the early Kepler detections MUST be unlike our own system, because they are detecting CLOSE-IN planets first. So ALL the first detections will show planets much close in than ours.

Now, there may be no planetary systems out there with worlds similar in size to the Earth, orbiting a star the same size as ours at between 300 and 400 days orbital period. Or there may be lots. We just can't tell until Kepler has been looking long enough to detect these. Kepler CANNOT find ANY of these with the data it currently has, so it's not surprising that it has found none. The fact that it has found short-period planets says absolutely NOTHING about the possibility of finding long-period planets later.

The time to have an opinion about earth-type planets based on evidence will be towards the end of this year. Until then, any opinion is simply speculation.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #89 on: February 04, 2011, 11:16:04 am »


If we take the 25 metres as representing the 93 million miles between the Sun and the Earth (excuse the mix of units) then the Earth would be about 2mm and the Sun 215mm, which is about right.


Whoops - sorry! I estimated the Sun at 30mm, when it should have been 30cm.

I hate SI..... :(( :((
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justboatonic

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #90 on: February 04, 2011, 11:59:30 am »

Some interesting information. So, Kepler has increased the number of exo planets found todate which was to be expected. The number of exo planets has increased from around 400. From the article it looks like kepler has found another 1235. That seems to suggest the total number of exo planets stands at over 1600?

Its important to understand however that most of these 'exo planetary' finds are candidates which means they could be large asteroids etc and further investigation is required to confirm them as exo planets.

Despite this, very few multiple planetary systems have been found, in the region of 170 exo solar systems with 2 or more planets. Only 68 of kepler's 1235 exo planet candidates are less than 1.25 times the width of Earth. A mere 2 dozen appear less than the width of the Earth.

Of planets found in the HZ of a star, only 5 are small enough to be rocky like the Earth (according to this article).

The kepler data or at least all the articles I've read so far, none of the host stars with planets in the HZ appear to be main sequence stars like our own and, are perhaps more red dwarfs?


http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20079-found-dozens-of-planet-candidates-smaller-than-earth.html

NASA's Kepler space telescope has found the smallest planet candidates yet, some of which are even smaller than Earth. It has also spotted 54 planet candidates in the habitable zones of their stars, where liquid water and therefore perhaps life could exist on the planets' surfaces.

Kepler launchedMovie Camera in 2009 on a mission to determine how common Earth-sized planets are in the habitable zones of their stars. It detects planets by watching for the slight dimming that results when a planet passes in front of its parent star as seen from Earth an event called a transit.

Now, mission scientists say they have found 1235 planet candidates in data taken during the telescope's first four months of observations, from mid-May to mid-September 2009. Kepler has continued to make observations since then, but team members are still analysing the data.

The newly announced candidates include:

    68 roughly Earth-sized candidates, each less than 1.25 times as wide as Earth
    288 super-Earth candidates, between 1.25 and 2 times the size of Earth
    662 Neptune-sized candidates
    184 Jupiter-sized or larger candidates
    170 possible multi-planet systems, with two or more candidates orbiting the same star

About two dozen of the candidates appear to be smaller than Earth. Some of these are about the size of Mars which is half the size of Earth said Kepler's chief scientist, William Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. If confirmed, these would be by far the smallest planets ever found around normal stars. The current record is a confirmed planet found by Kepler that is 1.4 times Earth's width.

Of the planets in the habitable zones of their stars, five are small enough to be rocky like Earth, spanning between 0.9 and 2 times our planet's width. The others are giants like Neptune or Jupiter, which have no solid or liquid surface on which life could take hold. But these could still have Earth-sized moons that are habitable, Borucki said.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #91 on: February 04, 2011, 04:10:38 pm »


The kepler data or at least all the articles I've read so far, none of the host stars with planets in the HZ appear to be main sequence stars like our own and, are perhaps more red dwarfs?




Red Dwarfs are Main Sequence stars - they are just further along in their life span. We are a G type star - when considering star types which might support life on their planets it is common to consider F, G and K as possibilities, eliminating O, B, A and M.

I don't think the Kepler team are providing the star types for all their candidates, and would be interested to see a reference if there is one. Quite a lot (most?) planets seem to be being found round F, G and K types - it seems to be where astronomers look!

Looking at F, G and K types, you would expect the HZ to be at about 300-400 days orbit, so they will not occur yet in the Kepler data. The only planets which are in the HZ with a 50 day or less orbit will be going round small stars.

Once we have Kepler data which covers a 1-2 year orbit we will start to detect Earth-type planets. Or not. Either way, we really cannot expect to see any at the moment, or draw any conclusions from the fact that there are few currently known...
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Bryan Young

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #92 on: February 04, 2011, 05:00:23 pm »

As someone who finds the complexity of our own planet difficult to digest, never mind the composition and vagaries of "possible" planets that have yet to be discovered, and as a rather bemused reader of this topic....I'm at a total loss as to where it's all going.
First of all, will someone please (in words of one syllable, if that's possible) explain just what "Kepler" is. Is it an Earth based and purely scientific electronic programme, or is it based on something like an up-graded "Hubble" sort of thing? Or is it a combination of the two.
The definitions of "life" seem to zap between some sort of humanoid (be it carbon, silicon or even granite based) and something more akin to a lichen. You'll be discussing Triffids next I suppose. And as for that rather weird discussion about brain sizes...surely it isn't the physical size of the brain, but what it's capable of doing. And how quickly (which leaves me out).
But where do the regulars on this topic visualise the eventual outcome? Or is it going to just meander on until the end of "time" as we know it?
Just a simple (ex) sailor asking a question. BY.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #93 on: February 04, 2011, 05:36:41 pm »


First of all, will someone please (in words of one syllable, if that's possible) explain just what "Kepler" is. Is it an Earth based and purely scientific electronic programme, or is it based on something like an up-graded "Hubble" sort of thing? Or is it a combination of the two.


You can look for planets going round other stars in lots of ways. The most common one for ground-based telescopes involves looking for the slight wiggle the star makes as a planet goes round it. This will generally pick up big planets that cause a big wiggle, but won't find small ones.

You could find small ones by looking for the slight dimming of the star as a small planet passes in front of it, but the variations in the atmosphere make that tricky to do from the ground. If you send up a space telescope that problem goes away, and you can then find small planets. The way you do this is to stare at some stars for a long time, and if you get regular dips in brightness you can can calculate that there is a planet there. If a planet orbits in 10 days you probably have to look for about 30 days to confirm this - if it orbits in 1 year you need to look for about 3 years...

That's what we've done. The space telescope is called Kepler, and it is in orbit round the sun, a comfortable distance from Earth. It was launched in 2009, and started reporting short-period planets in 2010. It found a lot, and so there is quite a lot of interest in it. The rest of the project sits on the Earth, and does a lot of calculation. We have data on planets with orbits up to about 50 days at the moment...




And as for that rather weird discussion about brain sizes...surely it isn't the physical size of the brain, but what it's capable of doing.


Yup, that's true.



But where do the regulars on this topic visualise the eventual outcome? Or is it going to just meander on until the end of "time" as we know it?



Oh, no! A lot longer than that...

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Bryan Young

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #94 on: February 04, 2011, 06:31:19 pm »

Well thanks for that. As always a lucid reply from the Dodgy Geezer.....but...and there's always a "but".
I was always taught that stars were so far away that any magnification would only result in a larger "dot", as opposed to a nearby planet that could be magnified.
And to be honest, I more or less still believe that to be a truism. So from what your'e telling me, do I gather that stars so far distant that the human brain can't comprehend the distances involved are now being observed as more than just points of light?
Even if that's the case, then that light comes from so far away that "we" are only seeing what was once was. And that makes a nonsense of all the postulations aired on this thread.
I keep reading about "chances of life" being found on planets orbiting a star (or galaxy, even) but without much regard for the fact that the light being observed pre-dates any lfe on our lump of rock by the number '1' followed by more zeros than this forum could handle.
So my conclusion is that for all the posturing and sometimes pseudo-science that's been promulgated, you're all talking out of the back of your heads.
Prove me wrong. BY.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #95 on: February 04, 2011, 09:16:53 pm »

I was always taught that stars were so far away that any magnification would only result in a larger "dot", as opposed to a nearby planet that could be magnified.
And to be honest, I more or less still believe that to be a truism. So from what your'e telling me, do I gather that stars so far distant that the human brain can't comprehend the distances involved are now being observed as more than just points of light?

Err...yup. Here are two images you might find interesting: the surface of Betelgeuse and three planets in orbit around Fomalhaut

Fomalhaut is about 25 light years away, Betelgeuse about 500. The Betelgeuse picture was taken using a 'long baseline interferometry' technique. This is a trick to get more resolution. Resolution depends on the diameter of the lens aperture, but it is hard to make a very wide lens/mirror. Instead, we can use two telescopes together and pretend that each one is a bit of a giant lens which is stretched between them. The Betelgeuse picture was taken using one telescope in Arizona and another just outside Paris - making an apparent 5000 mile wide lens. When we start doing this kind of thing in space we will effectively have lenses many millions of miles wide....

 
Even if that's the case, then that light comes from so far away that "we" are only seeing what was once was. And that makes a nonsense of all the postulations aired on this thread.
I keep reading about "chances of life" being found on planets orbiting a star (or galaxy, even) but without much regard for the fact that the light being observed pre-dates any lfe on our lump of rock by the number '1' followed by more zeros than this forum could handle.

The distances involved aren't particularly great. You can think about our Solar System as our back yard, our Galaxy as our town, and other Galaxies as other countries. We are wandering about in our Solar System now, and looking at stars near to us in our Galaxy. Here is a link to a list of confirmed exo-planets. You will see that their distances vary between 20 light years and about 5000 light years - most are less than 100 light years away. That's not a very long time ago....
[/quote]

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Bryan Young

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #96 on: February 04, 2011, 09:55:37 pm »

One hundred light years is not so long ago? Yeah, feels like yesterday. I'm not even going to bother getting my calculator out for that one....I just know there'll be a lot of zeros on the end of it.
And that's a close one? Really, just what are you trying to achieve here?
I'm (honestly) trying to be serious about all this....believe it or not. But if you send out a signal to Betelguese now, that may or well not have blasted itself into smithereens over 100 light years ago....just where do you think your signal is going to be picked up at? And when? And then, will we still be here to receive the reply?
I can understand the reasoning behind the research, but for the life of me I can't understand how some people think there's even a remote possibility of getting actual communication. Pie in the sky.
We may or may not be the only sentient beings in this cosmos....but as sure as God made little apples, we ain't going to be able to talk to them. BY.
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dodgy geezer

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #97 on: February 04, 2011, 10:36:30 pm »


One hundred light years is not so long ago? Yeah, feels like yesterday. I'm not even going to bother getting my calculator out for that one....I just know there'll be a lot of zeros on the end of it.
And that's a close one? Really, just what are you trying to achieve here?
I'm (honestly) trying to be serious about all this....believe it or not. But if you send out a signal to Betelguese now, that may or well not have blasted itself into smithereens over 100 light years ago....just where do you think your signal is going to be picked up at? And when? And then, will we still be here to receive the reply?


Um? Who said anything about communicating? I certainly didn't. We were talking about examining the stars in our current locality to determine if they have planets. We may go on from there to see if we can detect any form of life on them - perhaps looking for radio activity or analysing their atmospheres, both of which are things we could do with current or near-future technology. We would, of course, be examining a planet between 5 and a few hundred years in the past, but I can't see that that will make a lot of difference to the results of the analysis.

I would anticipate that sometime in the next 50 years we will be thinking of sending a probe to the nearest stars - perhaps a 10-year trip at 0.5 light speed. It seems like a good idea to have a look at them first and decide which ones look interesting....

P.S. Did you like the pictures?
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Bryan Young

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #98 on: February 05, 2011, 04:16:52 pm »

I see before me a list of columns and numbers that I neither understand or have any intention of ploughing through....no thanks, life (on this world, at least) is too short for all that. Betelguese didn't look like that through my old sextant thank goodness!
I really didn't understand the Jeanna Brynar pictures. Very pretty, as are all the photos I've seen of the "void" called "space". But basically meaningless to a pleb like me.
Yes, perhaps you as an individual didn't specifically mention "communication" with ET...but others on this thread certainly have. Two camps here...one is to leave it well alone, and the other to welcome it. Can't get much more polarised than that.
    Actually, I'm quite keen on the idea of inter-stellar exploration, if only to increase the sum total of human knowledge...if such knowledge can make "people" draw back from the self destructive path we seem hell bent on pursuing.
    But some of the respondents on this thread seem to delight in delving into the realms of fantasy, whilst others require a Masters Degree in astro-physics to even get a glimmer of understanding.
    But...and always another "but"...there's a glaring hiatus within this entire thread. And that's the perceived influence of "religion".
Not that I want to get anywhere close to that subject, but the very idea of a "God" does pervade the human psyche, and as such should be allowed a certain amount of credence when the physical/metaphysical aspects of this particular universe is being discussed. BY
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Notes from a simple seaman

justboatonic

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Re: Kepler mission adds more weight to our solar system not being the norm.
« Reply #99 on: February 10, 2011, 09:02:48 pm »

I see before me a list of columns and numbers that I neither understand or have any intention of ploughing through....no thanks, life (on this world, at least) is too short for all that. Betelguese didn't look like that through my old sextant thank goodness!
I really didn't understand the Jeanna Brynar pictures. Very pretty, as are all the photos I've seen of the "void" called "space". But basically meaningless to a pleb like me.
Yes, perhaps you as an individual didn't specifically mention "communication" with ET...but others on this thread certainly have. Two camps here...one is to leave it well alone, and the other to welcome it. Can't get much more polarised than that.
    Actually, I'm quite keen on the idea of inter-stellar exploration, if only to increase the sum total of human knowledge...if such knowledge can make "people" draw back from the self destructive path we seem hell bent on pursuing.
    But some of the respondents on this thread seem to delight in delving into the realms of fantasy, whilst others require a Masters Degree in astro-physics to even get a glimmer of understanding.
    But...and always another "but"...there's a glaring hiatus within this entire thread. And that's the perceived influence of "religion".
Not that I want to get anywhere close to that subject, but the very idea of a "God" does pervade the human psyche, and as such should be allowed a certain amount of credence when the physical/metaphysical aspects of this particular universe is being discussed. BY

Interesting! On a couple of points.

I find it disappointing that anyone wants to raise religion in this thread. IMHO, it has no place in this thread which was started as a purely 'astrological' one. I could well imagine someone starting a religious thread being, rightly, upset if they started such a thread and astronomy was introduced as an alternate view.

Never mind.

In both this thread and the 'There's no one out there!' thread, I hoped it would be as you say, in plain ordinary language that doesnt get bogged down in too technical explanations or demands. Unfortunately, again, IMHO, one or two notable posters seem to have gone out of their way to do just that ie technical terms and demands of scientific papers to support a number of posts or argue down an alternative view.

Again, hey ho.

Regarding Kepler, I find these comments interesting. Although I cannot say they are directly attributable or made by anyone connected to the Kepler Mission, the information appears to be Kepler based.

These comments are "On 2 February 2011, the Kepler team announced the results from the data of May to September 2009. They found 1235 planetary candidates circling 997 host stars, more than twice the number of currently known exoplanets. This haul included 68 planetary candidates of Earth-like size and 54 planetary candidates in the habitable zone of their star. They estimate that 6% of stars host Earth-size planets and 19% of all stars have multiple planets."

I have bolded that last sentence. So, it seems that when it suits, extrapolation on a (relatively) small sample is ok. But, there we have it, 6% of stars could host Earth size planets. Of course that figure could increase. But it could just as easily decrease.

Im not going to do the maths but its reasonable to assume that not all those Earths are going to be in the habitable zone of their host star. Hmmmmmmmmm.

EDIT Forgot this "All of the habitable zone candidates found thus far orbit stars significantly smaller and cooler than the Sun (habitable candidates around Sun-like stars will take several additional years to accumulate the three transits required for detection)."
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