Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

  1. #1
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    By Andy McSmith

    Scientists have discovered a planet not much bigger than Earth that could be covered in oceans and has the right temperature to support life. And it is only 20.5 light years away.

    By 2020, it should be possible for a telescope to take a close look at the planet, which has not yet been named, to see if there is any sign of life.

    The newly found planet is older than our solar system. It is revolving around the star known as Gliese 581, a red dwarf in the Libra constellation. Its year lasts only 13 days because it is 14 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun. But that is a good sign, because red dwarfs are less than half the size of the sun, and cooler.

    In the zone where the planet has been discovered, surface temperatures would be between 0C and 40C - just right for oceans to have formed and life to have begun.

    It is the smallest planet yet discovered outside the solar system, with a radius about one and a half times that of Earth giving it about twice the gravitational pull. Any living creatures on it would need thick bones and sturdy legs because they will be twice as heavy as on Earth.

    Dr Malcolm Fridlund of the European Space Agency said: "This is an important step on the road to finding Earth-like planets. The planets we've found so far outside the solar system have all been more like Jupiter or Neptune. If this is a rocky planet it's likely that it will have liquid water on its surface, which means there may also be life.

    "There are caveats, one being that the environment around a red dwarf is full of radiation. All red dwarfs have a lot of flare activity, but this doesn't necessarily exclude life."

    The planet was found by Swiss, French and Portuguese astronomers using the European Southern Observatory's 3.6m telescope at La Silla in Chile.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  2. #2
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    Apr 25, 2007 7:56 am US/Eastern
    New Earth-Like Planet Discovered

    (CBS4) UNDATED For the first time, astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable with Earth-like temperatures - a find researchers described on Tuesday as a big step in the search for life in the universe.

    "This is the most Earth-like planet yet, even if it's not an Earth," astrophysicist Steve Maran told Associated Press Television.

    Located by scientists working at the European Space Observatory facilities at La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile, the star Gliese-581 apparently has a rotating planet.

    The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away.

    But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.

    There is still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it.

    "It's an incremental advance in what we're learning about planets and stars," Maran said.

    Maran also said that a new research instrument at the European Southern Observatory was able to show trace of the planet through a "wobble" pattern of the red dwarf sun.

    The planet was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile, which has a special instrument that splits light to find wobbles in different wave lengths.

    Those wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds.

    "That's something really very slow by the standards of outer space, and it's a great technological achievement to detect it," Maran said.

    There are still a lot of questions that scientists need to ask.

    The results of the discovery have not been published but have been submitted to the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

    Red dwarfs are low-energy, tiny stars that give off dim red light and last longer than stars like our sun.

    Until a few years ago, astronomers did not consider these stars as possible hosts of planets that might sustain life.

    lc
    (© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  3. #3
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    04/25/2007 08:57 AM ID: 62019
    Earth-like Planet Discovered

    Astronomers believe to have found an Earth-like planet 120 trillion miles (20.5 light years) away orbiting a red-dwarf star. The planet is believed to be similar to Earth in size and temperature, and could possibly be habitable.
    A team of 11 European scientists discovered and is currently studying the planet. Fellow scientist, Michel Mayor, commented, “It's a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe.”
    Little is known about the planet and while scientists theorize the planet is “habitable”, it should be pointed out that Mars is also scientifically classified as “habitable”. However, it is the first planet outside our solar system in this category.


    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  4. #4
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    Potentially Habitable Planet Found




    HOLD FOR RELAESE 7 P.M. EDT; graphic profiles a newly discovered planet, GL-581 c, thought to be habitable; 2c x 4 inches; 96.3 mm x 102 mm

    By SETH BORENSTEIN
    AP Science Writer
    April 24, 2007


    WASHINGTON — For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for "life in the universe."


    The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.


    There's still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it's worth noting that scientists' requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth's with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.


    "It's a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe," said University of Geneva astronomer Michel Mayor, one of 11 European scientists on the team that found the planet. "It's a nice discovery. We still have a lot of questions."


    The results of the discovery have not been published but have been submitted to the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

    Alan Boss, who works at the Carnegie Institution of Washington where a U.S. team of astronomers competed in the hunt for an Earth-like planet, called it "a major milestone in this business."

    The planet was discovered by the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile, which has a special instrument that splits light to find wobbles in different wave lengths. Those wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds.

    What they revealed is a planet circling the red dwarf star, Gliese 581. Red dwarfs are low-energy, tiny stars that give off dim red light and last longer than stars like our sun. Until a few years ago, astronomers didn't consider these stars as possible hosts of planets that might sustain life.

    The discovery of the new planet, named 581 c, is sure to fuel studies of planets circling similar dim stars. About 80 percent of the stars near Earth are red dwarfs.

    The new planet is about five times heavier than Earth. Its discoverers aren't certain if it is rocky like Earth or if its a frozen ice ball with liquid water on the surface. If it is rocky like Earth, which is what the prevailing theory proposes, it has a diameter about 1 1/2 times bigger than our planet. If it is an iceball, as Mayor suggests, it would be even bigger.

    Based on theory, 581 c should have an atmosphere, but what's in that atmosphere is still a mystery and if it's too thick that could make the planet's surface temperature too hot, Mayor said.

    However, the research team believes the average temperature to be somewhere between 32 and 104 degrees and that set off celebrations among astronomers.

    Until now, all 220 planets astronomers have found outside our solar system have had the "Goldilocks problem." They've been too hot, too cold or just plain too big and gaseous, like uninhabitable Jupiter.

    The new planet seems just right _ or at least that's what scientists think.

    "This could be very important," said NASA astrobiology expert Chris McKay, who was not part of the discovery team. "It doesn't mean there is life, but it means it's an Earth-like planet in terms of potential habitability."

    Eventually astronomers will rack up discoveries of dozens, maybe even hundreds of planets considered habitable, the astronomers said. But this one _ simply called "c" by its discoverers when they talk among themselves _ will go down in cosmic history as No. 1.

    Besides having the right temperature, the new planet is probably full of liquid water, hypothesizes Stephane Udry, the discovery team's lead author and another Geneva astronomer. But that is based on theory about how planets form, not on any evidence, he said.

    "Liquid water is critical to life as we know it," co-author Xavier Delfosse of Grenoble University in France, said in a statement. "Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X."

    Other astronomers cautioned it's too early to tell whether there is water.

    "You need more work to say it's got water or it doesn't have water," said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran, press officer for the American Astronomical Society. "You wouldn't send a crew there assuming that when you get there, they'll have enough water to get back."

    The new planet's star system is a mere 20.5 light years away, making Gliese 581 one of the 100 closest stars to Earth. It's so dim, you can't see it without a telescope, but it's somewhere in the constellation Libra, which is low in the southeastern sky during the midevening in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Before you book your extrastellar flight to 581 c, a few caveats about how alien that world probably is: Anyone sitting on the planet would get heavier quickly, and birthdays would add up fast since it orbits its star every 13 days.

    Gravity is 1.6 times as strong as Earth's so a 150-pound person would feel like 240 pounds.

    But oh, the view. The planet is 14 times closer to the star it orbits. Udry figures the red dwarf star would hang in the sky at a size 20 times larger than our moon. And it's likely, but still not known, that the planet doesn't rotate, so one side would always be sunlit and the other dark.

    Distance is another problem. "We don't know how to get to those places in a human lifetime," Maran said.

    Two teams of astronomers, one in Europe and one in the United States, have been racing to be the first to find a planet like 581 c outside the solar system.

    The European team looked at 100 different stars using a tool called HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity for Planetary Searcher) to find this one planet, said Xavier Bonfils of the Lisbon Observatory, one of the co-discoverers.

    Much of the effort to find Earth-like planets has focused on stars like our sun with the challenge being to find a planet the right distance from the star it orbits. About 90 percent of the time, the European telescope focused its search more on sun-like stars, Udry said.

    A few weeks before the European discovery earlier this month, a scientific paper in the journal Astrobiology theorized a few days that red dwarf stars were good candidates.

    "Now we have the possibility to find many more," Bonfils said.

    ___

    On the Net:

    The European Southern Observatory: http://www.eso.org
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  5. #5
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    Life exists beyond our world. No doubt.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  6. #6
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    Planet find gets British bookies scared of aliens

    British bookmakers wasted no time slashing the odds on aliens being discovered after astronomers announced Wednesday that they had discovered an Earth-like planet.


    William Hill cut the odds on proving the existence of extra-terrestrial life from 1,000-1 to 100-1.


    "We felt we had to react to the news that an Earth-like planet which could support intelligent life had been discovered -- after all, we don't know for sure that intelligent extra-terrestrial life has not already been discovered, but is being hushed up," said spokesman Graham Sharpe.


    Astronomers reported they they had found a "super-Earth" more than 20 light years away, the most intriguing world found so far in the search for extra-terrestrial life.


    For William Hill to pay out on an aliens bet, the prime minister has to confirm officially the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life within a year of the bet being placed.


    "We have come a cropper before when, in the early 1960s, we offered 1000/1 about man walking on the moon before 1970," said Sharpe.
    About five times the mass of Earth, the planet orbits a cool, dim "red dwarf" star in the constellation of Libra, the team from the European Southern Observatory said in a press release.


    "Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extra terrestrial life," said Xavier Delfosse, a team member from France's Grenoble University.
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  7. #7
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    New 'super-Earth' found in space
    BBC News ^ | Wednesday, 25 April 2007 | BBC News



    Astronomers have found the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date, a world which could have water running on its surface. The planet orbits the faint star Gliese 581, which is 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.


    Scientists made the discovery using the Eso 3.6m Telescope in Chile.
    They say the benign temperatures on the planet mean any water there could exist in liquid form, and this raises the chances it could also harbour life.


    "We have estimated that the mean temperature of this 'super-Earth' lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid," explained Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory, lead author of the scientific paper reporting the result.


    "Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth's radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky - like our Earth - or covered with oceans."


    Xavier Delfosse, a member of the team from Grenoble University, added: "Liquid water is critical to life as we know it."


    (Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    200
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    I posted this yesterday on AN, no responses as of this morning. So I come here to find Rick talking to himself and apparently noone else. What gives? Is this not exciting? If we can't get a rise out of this on these sites, no wonder support for the space program is deemed to be waning. Reckon ET'll have to "land on the White House lawn" to get noticed.

  9. #9
    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    24,721
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 69 Times in 68 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    MTS, I find it absolutely fascinating!

    I just don't know if I want to go to a planet where I'd weigh more than I already do on Earth!

    But in all seriousness, I think that finding a planet like this (larger than Earth and orbiting a red dwarf) is a first step on hopefully finding even more Earth-like planets (closer to our size and orbiting a star more like our Sun). Remember how all they were previously finding were those extremely hot gas giants?

  10. #10
    Expatriate American Patriot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    A Banana Republic, Central America
    Posts
    48,602
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 27 Times in 27 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    I always talk to myself, according to the kooks over on Anomalies. lol
    Libertatem Prius!


    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    200
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Re: 'Earth-like' planet discovered orbiting red dwarf

    Fellows, this is a really touchy subject to me. As I've said before, I REALLY expected our exploration of space to be a wee bit farther along by now, certainly I didn't expect us to be planning our RETURN to the moon in another decade or so. Just how long do these movers and shakers think us space nuts have left? Then, for salt in the wound, I turn on the news to find out American Idol is what "REAL AMERICANS" are interested in! News my ass!! Maybe if Carrie Underwood wears an "I LUV NASA" t-shirt we can grab some valuable PR. BAH!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •