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Super-Earths 'in the billions'

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by MelT, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Super-Earths 'in the billions'

    \t\t \t\t\t\t\t \t \t \t\t \t\t\t \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t[​IMG] \t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\tBy Jonathan Amos \t\t\t\tScience correspondent, BBC News, Manchester \t\t\t \t\t [​IMG] Liquid water is considered essential if a planet is to support life
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    There could be many billions of planets not much bigger than Earth circling faint stars in our galaxy, says an international team of astronomers.
    The estimate for the number of "super-Earths" is based on detections already made and then extrapolated to include the Milky Way's population of so-called red dwarf stars.
    The team works with the high-precision Harps instrument.
    This is fitted to the 3.6m telescope at the Silla Observatory in Chile.
    Harps employs an indirect method of detection that infers the existence of orbiting planets from the way their gravity makes a parent star appear to twitch in its motion across the sky.
    "Our new observations with Harps mean that about 40% of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet," said team leader Xavier Bonfils from the Observatoire des Sciences de l'Univers de Grenoble, France.
    "Because red dwarfs are so common - there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way - this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone."
    The Harps team came up with its numbers after surveying 102 carefully chosen red dwarfs, which are dimmer and cooler than our Sun.
    The group found a total of nine super-Earths (which are defined as planets with one to 10 times the mass of the Earth), with two judged to be orbiting inside their stars' habitable zones.
    Putting all its data together, including observations of stars that did not have planets, the team was able to produce an estimate for how common different sorts of planets are around red dwarfs.
    This assessment suggests super-Earths in the habitable zone occur in 41% of cases, with a range from 28% to 95%.
    Given how many red dwarf stars there are in close proximity to the Sun, it means there could be perhaps 100 super-Earth planets in the habitable zones of stars that are less than about 30 light-years distant.
    "The habitable zone around a red dwarf, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on the surface, is much closer to the star than the Earth is to the Sun," commented co-researcher Stephane Udry from the Geneva Observatory.
    "But red dwarfs are known to be subject to stellar eruptions or flares, which may bathe the planet in X-rays or ultraviolet radiation, and which may make life there less likely."
    The latest Harps research will appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics [PDF].
     
  2. #2 AlexanderTheGr8, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2012
    Ut oh, maybe we're not the only ones out there!!

    [​IMG]

    [insert spacey music here]
     
  3. Amazing..With those planets out there + the building blocks for life on meteoroids its impossible for other life not to existv:smoke:
     
  4. beeleeons upon beeleeons
     

  5. All other life forms are avoiding us.
    That is now clear.
     
  6. Yep. We are blowing each other up and destroying our own habitat draining it of all it's resources. I don't blame them, what kind of a fucked up species does that.. I wouldn't want to come here either.

    Can you imagine if this all became fact soon though, we actually find out there is life out there but nobody want's to even communicate with us because we are so stupid/destructive. They are all whizzing around having a good time laughing at us for fighting over what is effectively dead plants and animals from millions of years ago.
     
  7. Im sure thats exactly how it would be if intelligent aliens found us. We must look like a cancer to the earth.

    Unless of course, They are still blowing eachother up like we are. In which case, they will probbably try to blow us up haha.

    Either way sucks to be honest.
     
  8. I think that if there's intelligent life that can fly spaceships all the way out here, they totally could have like blown us all up by now if they wanted. Death star style.

    Instead they abduct us and stick shit up our asses
     

  9. Extra terrestrials need some form of entertainment right?
     
  10. [quote name='"x420xImNotSober"']

    I think that if there's intelligent life that can fly spaceships all the way out here, they totally could have like blown us all up by now if they wanted. Death star style.

    Instead they abduct us and stick shit up our asses[/quote]

    Why would aliens ever invade earth. Thats a pretty arrogant thought, that earth is somehow special enough to invade.

    There are literally billions of stars and planets Rich in resources that are uninhabitable and free for taking without invasion.

    Mercury venus mars and.the.asteriod belt contain trillions of times as many precious materials.as earth, and there is no wildlife to wory about not hurting. We could build a giant processor and literally just pour asteroids into it.
     
  11. [quote name='"Mat369"']
    Yep. We are blowing each other up and destroying our own habitat draining it of all it's resources. I don't blame them, what kind of a fucked up species does that.. I wouldn't want to come here either.

    Can you imagine if this all became fact soon though, we actually find out there is life out there but nobody want's to even communicate with us because we are so stupid/destructive. They are all whizzing around having a good time laughing at us for fighting over what is effectively dead plants and animals from millions of years ago.[/quote]

    Incorrect. All species act like us, we are just the best at it. Its not that we are more destructive, its just that we are less evolved.

    Id bet money that all advanced aliens went through this stage. We are like children.

    We will grow up eventually
     
  12. Actually just about ANY species will consume every available resource, and kill each other over resources. As a matter of fact we are the only species that works in teams spread across the planet, and the only species self-aware enough to even make any attempt to conserve the Earth's resources.
     
  13. This is one of those things we assumed to be true even without the evidence. It makes perfect sense when you consider the conditions around a newly lit star. The gust, dust and rock still orbiting the sun are all in a similar plane while the process of accretion occurs. Now you have planets.

    Now to see how this number fares in Drake's Equation.
     
  14. #14 M369, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2012




    Yeah, every species on Earth does. That is what i'm getting at. What if we are the odd one's out? I am well aware of the nature of other species here on planet Earth. And I haven't ruled out the fact that we are just a young civilisation waiting to grow up. But what if we are the only planet that acts like this? We really don't know. We don't even know if there is life out there for 100% fact, let alone how they evolve/ develop as a civilisation
    .
    Either way, if we are in a stage of evolution that every intelligent life form goes through, it still backs the fact that they wouldn't want to come anywhere near us due to our destructive nature at this time. Maybe until we reach a higher level and stop all our madness. Who knows.
     
  15. If there's intelligent life out there, we better hope we never meet it.

    We already know too well what happens when one culture comes into contact with another, and it's never pretty. That's on Earth, with members of the same species.
     
  16. [quote name='"Sark"']If there's intelligent life out there, we better hope we never meet it.

    We already know too well what happens when one culture comes into contact with another, and it's never pretty. That's on Earth, with members of the same species.[/quote]

    I like to think super advanced aliens would be beyond such things.

    After all we are. We Now have a black.president. Its only aatter of.time
     
  17. ok, so science is catching up to what many of us already assumed.
     
  18. I bet their are aliens that breath methane and drink sulfuric acid. We are but one type of.life.... carbon based
     
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