HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Latest Breaking News (Forum) » Habitable planet found ar...

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:22 AM

Habitable planet found around nearby star

Source: PTI

Melbourne, December 20, 2012 -

Scientists using an intra-galactic speed gun have detected five new planets, relatively close to Earth, and one of them is orbiting a star’s habitable zone, where conditions are suitable for life.

It would take only 12 years to reach the planets when travelling at the speed of light. Scientists analysing about 6,000 measurements of the star Tau Ceti’s velocity, believe that slight inconsistencies in its speed and direction are being caused by the gravitational pull of other celestial bodies, The Australian reported.

“We believe the star is going very slightly backwards and forwards and shows the evidence for doing that at five different periods,” said Professor Chris Tinney of the University of New South Wales. “We think five different planets are going around that star tugging on it making it move backwards and forwards,” Tinney said.

An international team of researchers from Australia, Chile, the United Kingdom and the United States believe one of the five planets orbiting Tau Ceti is within the star’s habitable zone, where conditions are suitable for life.

Read more: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Australia/Habitable-planet-found-around-nearby-star/Article1-976806.aspx?

49 replies, 5278 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 49 replies Author Time Post
Reply Habitable planet found around nearby star (Original post)
Turborama Dec 2012 OP
Fearless Dec 2012 #1
Posteritatis Dec 2012 #3
Fearless Dec 2012 #5
tclambert Dec 2012 #16
SWTORFanatic Dec 2012 #25
eppur_se_muova Dec 2012 #44
paleotn Dec 2012 #10
Sherman A1 Dec 2012 #2
rucky Dec 2012 #4
deutsey Dec 2012 #6
NoMoreWarNow Dec 2012 #11
hobbit709 Dec 2012 #7
Android3.14 Dec 2012 #8
tama Dec 2012 #14
marble falls Dec 2012 #18
Android3.14 Dec 2012 #22
tama Dec 2012 #38
Android3.14 Dec 2012 #40
tama Dec 2012 #43
Android3.14 Dec 2012 #45
tama Dec 2012 #47
Ganja Ninja Dec 2012 #9
NoMoreWarNow Dec 2012 #12
Xithras Dec 2012 #27
Ganja Ninja Dec 2012 #28
Xithras Dec 2012 #33
Posteritatis Dec 2012 #39
SemperEadem Dec 2012 #13
tclambert Dec 2012 #17
SemperEadem Dec 2012 #19
tkmorris Dec 2012 #36
tclambert Dec 2012 #46
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #15
struggle4progress Dec 2012 #20
FiveGoodMen Dec 2012 #34
struggle4progress Dec 2012 #37
AldoLeopold Dec 2012 #21
The Stranger Dec 2012 #26
AldoLeopold Dec 2012 #29
FiveGoodMen Dec 2012 #35
blackspade Dec 2012 #23
toby jo Dec 2012 #24
ZM90 Dec 2012 #30
NYC Liberal Dec 2012 #31
and-justice-for-all Dec 2012 #32
1monster Dec 2012 #41
underpants Dec 2012 #42
sarcasmo Dec 2012 #48
Bombero1956 Dec 2012 #49

Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:28 AM

1. Planetary size matters too though

Frequently they're gas giants it seems.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fearless (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:16 AM

3. These ones are 3-5 Earth masses

So probably a surface gravity somewhere around or under two Gs.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Posteritatis (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:20 AM

5. Could be interesting then!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Posteritatis (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:50 AM

16. So the people there would be short, fast, and tough.

All that helps cope with occasionally falling down. In 2 Gs humans get hurt pretty bad when they stumble on a crack in the sidewalk.

But it's unlikely there are people. Tau Ceti has only about 1/3 the proportion of heavy elements as our Sun. That makes rocky planets unlikely. Plus it apparently has much more debris (asteroids, comets, dust) orbiting it, making Chicxulub-like impacts more frequent. Not sure if that makes intelligent life more or less likely. I would think less.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tclambert (Reply #16)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:24 AM

25. Put me in a 2g environment for a couple months then send me back here

I'll be doing pullups

with one arm

:p

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Posteritatis (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 01:55 AM

44. Which one is Valeria ? nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Fearless (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:19 AM

10. It does....

The reason why so many gas giants have been discovered, particularly those close to their stars, is those are much easier to find vs. little rocky worlds like our own. Tau Ceti is quite similar to our star, which makes finding planets there very, very interesting, but much work is left to do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:38 AM

2. Cool!

Thanks for posting!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:17 AM

4. And this just one day before 12/21

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:28 AM

6. I'm going to start saving up for my ticket now

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to deutsey (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:32 AM

11. me too!

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:44 AM

7. That's not quite what it says.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:57 AM

8. Habitable? That's a reach.

Just because it is in the zone where water can exist in all three states doesn't mean there is water. What's wrong with the word "Possible" at the beginning of the headline? Oh wait. I forgot that accuracy means shite these days.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Android3.14 (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:18 AM

14. Accurately

 

the suffix -able signifies potentiality and possibility, not actuality and certainty. Headlines aim for brevity of expression, not tautology.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tama (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:23 AM

18. You HAVE to be a headline writer. If you are, it makes me glad to know there's still some ......

newspapermen working somewhere.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marble falls (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:06 AM

22. Actually, I am the headline writer

Proud member of the Maine Press Association and owner of my own newspaper.
Most people using English know that the suffix "-able" means "capable of".
tama's usage is incorrect.
Consider the word "acceptable". If something is acceptable, then it is capable of being accepted, not having the potential to be accepted.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Android3.14 (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:57 PM

38. Philosophy of potentiality/dynamis

 

goes way back. I'm not convinced your English language distinction is philosophically meaningful.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tama (Reply #38)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:15 PM

40. Philosophy? This isn't a question of philosophy. It is a simple definition.

Did I just walk onto the set of The Yellow Submarine? Jeremy? Is that you?

If something is affordable, then I am able to afford it. It's not a potential. It is a characteristic.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the suffix "-able" like this "Forming adjectives denoting the capacity for or capability of being subjected to or (in some compounds) performing the action denoted or implied by the first element of the compound."

The headline was misleading.

Something I find even more annoying than crappy reporting is the arrogant internalized belief of some moderately educated people that any statement they make, even when it is a bonehead statement, is accurate simply because they think they possess a large vocabulary.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Android3.14 (Reply #40)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:05 PM

43. For people with philosophical and poetic attitude to world

 

languages are a strange and funny beast, not just top down dictionary definitions... and you have full right to have nothing but contempt for philosophers and poets.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tama (Reply #43)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 07:11 AM

45. Contemptible

Poets and philosophers are fine. I've threaded a lemma or two in my time, taught poetry classes, and published a few vanity books of poetry myself. Language has been my job for decades. My contempt is for those who hide their own ignorance behind a clumsy pseudo-intellectual smokescreen.
Perhaps in your world, contemptible means something is only potentially worthy of contempt, but I found your response to this little debate was contemptible, using the definition of the suffix that the rest of the English-speakers on planet use.
I'd bet money you know exactly that means.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Android3.14 (Reply #45)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:12 AM

47. OK

 

You are native speaker of English, I'm not. Aristotle's definition of possibility or potentiality was that all potentials actualize, but no need to follow Aristotle's reasoning in headline writing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:18 AM

9. There are some drawbacks for a planet orbiting Tau Ceti.

Like a disk of dust and asteroids 10 times as dense as the one around our sun.

More on Tau Ceti here: http://www.exoplaneten.de/tauceti/english.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ganja Ninja (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:32 AM

12. just rain on our parade!

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ganja Ninja (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:45 AM

27. Its metal deficiency is also a concern

Spectroscopy suggests that it's a fairly metal deficient system. This could either mean that it's a very old star, or that it formed from a nebula relatively free of heavier elements. Neither possibility is promising for life.

If it's a very old star, the presence of the thick debris disk suggests that it can't have a planetary system anything like our own. Our solar system once had a very thick debris field, but our 8.5 planets sweeping through their regular orbits have swept them up and cleaned the system out over the past 4.5 billion years. If the low metallicity is caused by age, it would mean that Tau Ceti is substantially older than our own sun. The fact that its debris disk is still so thick would suggest that its planetary bodies have been far less efficient in doing the same thing. This could be caused by unstable orbits or a number of other things, but it's not promising.

The second possibility doesn't preclude life, but is a serious problem for surface life like our own. If the system has simply lacked heavier elements from the beginning, it's far less likely to have rocky planets. Even if it does, those planets are unlikely to have iron cores that would help to develop magnetospheres, essential for keeping solar radiation off the surface.

You could, theoretically, end up with a planet like Mars. Small, and with a fairly irradiated surface, but technically habitable. Given the amount of debris in the system, you may even find a Mars-like planet covered in a few miles of liquid water. That would be more than capable of supporting life, but probably not anything we could interact with. Still, alien fish would be pretty cool to see.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Xithras (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:38 PM

28. From what I've read it's thought to be a 10 billion year old star.

http://www.solstation.com/stars/tau-ceti.htm

Lots of information on that site. It covers all G type stars within 100 years of earth.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ganja Ninja (Reply #28)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:47 PM

33. Fascinating. Thanks!

Very cool site. One of the papers linked from that page also gives another third possibility for the dust cloud, though it's still not all that friendly to life. Apparently there's some evidence that the relative velocities of the material in the dust cloud are very high. Rather than accreting into larger bodies, collisions between cloud objects simply results in a spray of new smaller objects in new and random trajectories. The system, even today, is highly energetic. If it's really 10 billion years old, it must have been far more energetic earlier in its life. Any forming planets would have been continually bombarded and smashed apart by extremely violent impacts, and may continue to be so today.

It's also possible that any planets in the system are relatively young, even though the star itself may be old. The dust cloud around the star may have only recently (as in, the past few billion years) stabilized enough for the dust to begin accreting into larger bodies. If the planets are young, it might explain why so much dust still exists in the system.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Ganja Ninja (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:08 PM

39. So we bring helmets when we go there. Problem solved!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:51 AM

13. and the atmosphere

if there is one, consists of what exactly? Ammonia? Everything but sufficient oxygen?

How about reversing the behavior that's causing the damage being done to the planet we're on right now?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SemperEadem (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:53 AM

17. Well, you probably don't have oxygen without life.

Oxygen wants to combine with other elements. To have much in the atmosphere, something has to steadily replenish it. On Earth, that comes from green plants.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to tclambert (Reply #17)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:49 AM

19. no duh...

non sequitur...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SemperEadem (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:21 PM

36. ?? The poster was simply responding to your post

I'm not sure why you had the reaction you did. Take it easy, we're all friends here.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SemperEadem (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 07:26 AM

46. Well, not everybody knows that.

George Lucas, Frank Herbert, lots of Star Trek writers . . . they kept making up lifeless planets with oxygen in the atmosphere.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:25 AM

15. This is really exciting!

I really wish we would put more focus back on research, development and space exploration instead of all these stupid wars.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:52 AM

20. Traveling at 669 million mph, we could get there and back in only 24 years!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to struggle4progress (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:51 PM

34. But that turn-around at the far end would really be something!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to FiveGoodMen (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:50 PM

37. Yeah, well, mebbe we could chill there for a while before heading back. There must be

restaurant or coffee shop or strip club or something

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:02 AM

21. As others have pointed out

from what I understand being in the habitable zone doesn't make it habitable by us water bags. I hope they are - but all sorts of crazy stuff is needed from a breathable atmosphere heh.

I just learned the other day that we could never reliably terraform Mars because it has no magnetic fields of sufficient strength to buffer its atmosphere against solar winds - which is why it has a very thin atm. The solar winds just blow it off and thats probably why more complex lifeforms are unlikely to have ever evolved there. Bummer. I was looking forward to Utopia Planetia Shipyards, man.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AldoLeopold (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:35 AM

26. Amazing, isn't it, that us "waterbags" were given this incredibly beautiful planet as a home,

where we could live without environmental engineering, and we completely fucked it all up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Stranger (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 12:55 PM

29. It might just be our way

I have a pet theory, not originally mine, that there may be other forms of sentient life out there that, while sentient with complex cognitive abilities, simply do not behave as we do. Non-simian/homonid based I suppose you could say. Those species may survive and peacefully co-exist with their biosphere. We certainly do not. I suspect our innate behavioral traits will kill us and everything else before this tale is finished.

Like an r-selected species which becomes sentient by happenstance and not a K-selected predator. That may be the species that survives and goes to the stars or whatever. Like space-elk or something.

We may not be destined for survival simply because of who and what we are.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Stranger (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:53 PM

35. I don't think the word "given" is accurate

We are what arose from this planet.

Whether that was an amazing coincidence or just another day's work in the universe is still under debate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:12 AM

23. Very cool!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:14 AM

24. Sharing life intelligence with other beings - so cool

 

Bet on a right wing site this news would be met with - 'we need to have firepower to overwhelm them'
and, of course, control them, etc.

My guess would be that their scientists are pretty level headed folks, like ours. Maybe there'll be a great space meet-up, like the early rendezvous, and we can all warn and enlighten about our perspective cultures. Probably not so much in the physical sense, but more on a techno sense. Whatever space radio waves are about. I've always thought we're all related, anyhow. Universal glowy stuff, space karma.

Peace, guys.

So fascinating and interesting. I want to be an astronaut.

I wonder if this'll all happen kind of spontaneously, like so many of earth's cultural advancements. Like speech, artworks, metal-working, etc, appeared at relatively the same times in cultures around the world. The harmonic convergence was seen by people in different cultures around the world at the same time.

Our expanding stuff. I wonder. Going universal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:15 PM

30. Is this the same planet where Teabaggers come from?

I don't think they're from planet Earth.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:29 PM

31. Venus is in the "habitable zone" here.

Being in the habitable zone doesn't really mean much in and of itself.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 01:46 PM

32. I find at times that the scope in which they look for 'life'

is narrow. Sure, 'Earth like planets' are worth seeking but it is a narrow scope in which to look for life. Who says that a planet that is inhospitable to us is not the perfect environment of some other form of life, even intelligent life?

And if this planet is capable of maintaining human life, then I find that the effort to reach is worth investing in...we can not stay here.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:38 PM

41. Hmm... 12 light years. That's only 73,584, 000,000,000 miles away.

Our current record for top speed in space was set by Pioneer 11 in 1979 when it used Jupiter's gravity to increase its speed to 107,373 MPH (http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061014045651AA0UxCc ).

So at a 107,373 MPH it would roughly take only 78,232 years for a one way trip...

If anyone is interested in taking this trip, let me know. I'll see if I can broker some tickets for you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:45 PM

42. It's MAHVELOUS!! It's MAGNIFICIENT!! What I am doing there will be the BEST

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:23 PM

48. Kick!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turborama (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 06:02 PM

49. very good

Now we have a place to send NRA members and Republicans. They should start to pack their bags now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread