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Planet Found Basking in the Rays of Three Suns

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Planet Found Basking in the Rays of Three Suns

Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Jul 17, 2005 11:39 am

The many astronomy buffs on this forum are almost certain to find this article from yesterday's Los Angeles Times of interest....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby William » Sat Jul 23, 2005 5:29 pm

Yes, very interesting, Henri. This discovery was a surprise for astronomers, since it was thought that it is impossible for planets to form in multiple star systems. Just another example of how wrong science can sometimes be.

The newly discovered planet is interesting in that it takes just three days or so to revolve around the primary. It seems that many of the extra-solar planets that have been found in the last 10 years have very fast revolutions. Maybe that makes them relatively easy to find, I'm not familiar with the search procedures, and no doubt would not understand them even if they were explained to me.

I remember reading a few years ago a skeptic's view of the possibility of sentient life existing elsewhere (other than earth) in the galaxy. The writer believed that even if life does exist, we are very unlikely to find it. He pointed out that the predominance of binary and multiple star systems, plus the fact that so many stars are too massive, not massive enough, or too old or young to support life bearing plantes severely limits the possibility of discovering extra-solar life.

Seti people seem undeterred by the skeptics, and no doubt this new discovery will serve to encourage them.

As I recall a lot of factors are necessary to support "life-as-we-know-it". The planet must have a stable circular or almost circular orbit. This may require the presence of other bodies of various sizes such as exist int he Solar System. The planet's orbit must also be in what has been referred to as the "life zone" which I think means its orbit must be at such a distance from the primary that it has liquid water. Also the rate of rotation must be such that the planet does not grow too cold at night or too hot during the day.

And in order to avoid having the planet continuously blasted by particles blowing out from the primary, the planet must have a massive molten metal core thus to support a magnetic field, or so it is thought.

As I recall, the moon is very gradually moving away from the earth. Somehow the tides are involved in this process. I don't really understand the math, but apparently the process is causing the rotation of the earth to slow down. Eventually the moon's rotation and the earth's rotation will be synchronized at which time the process will come to an end. When this happens the earth's day will be hundreds of hours long. This of course means that average temperatures will be hotter than hell in daylight and colder than hell at night. Life-as-we-know-it would have ceased to exist on earth probably long before synchronous rotation is reached. I think there's a bunch of other things that are expected to happen that will sterilize the earth sometime in the next 10 million years or so.

Probably stargazer is more up to date on these matters than I.

William
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Postby KatyBr » Sat Jul 23, 2005 6:16 pm

William, Brian has been on about this exoplanet for a while in the original agora, I'm going to check out some links.

Katy
try http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7517 there is a streaming video, but it's hard ot undrestand exactly what you're seeing.
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Postby M. Henri Day » Sat Sep 03, 2005 4:22 pm

William wrote:... This discovery was a surprise for astronomers, since it was thought that it is impossible for planets to form in multiple star systems. Just another example of how wrong science can sometimes be....


On the contrary, the above strikes me as an excellent example of how so-called «normal science» is supposed to work. Predictions are made on the basis of theory and experience, but rather than allowing these to congeal as dogma, the search goes on - the process which Thomas Kuhn describes as «puzzle-solving» - often with help of new and better techniques, resulting at times in observations that contradict the predictions. Theory is adjusted, and work continues....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
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