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mikey23545
09-05-2012, 09:23 AM
Newfound 'Tatooine' Alien Planet Bodes Well for E.T. Search


The discovery of the first alien planet with two suns — like the "Star Wars" world Tatooine — residing in its parent star's habitable zone is good news for the search for life beyond Earth, scientists say.

The planet, known as Kepler-47c, is a gas giant and therefore probably not suitable for life as we know it. But its existence hints that smaller, rockier worlds may inhabit other two-star systems' habitable zones —that just-right range of distances where liquid water can exist.

And that's important, because there are a lot of binary systems out there, scientists say.

"Roughly half of the stars in the galaxy are in binary systems," study lead author Jerome Orosz, of San Diego State University, told SPACE.com. "I thought it would only be a matter of time before we found a system like Kepler-47 where a planet is in the habitable zone." [Gallery: The Tatooine-Like Kepler-47 System]

The Kepler-47 system, whose discovery was announced Tuesday (Aug. 28), dwells about 5,000 light-years away, in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). It is a close binary system, with two stars orbiting near each other at its center. Around these stars whirl two planets known as Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c.

They make Kepler-47 the first system seen with multiple worlds circling a pair of stars.

"If single stars and close binary stars can host planetary systems with an equal probability — that is not at all clear at the moment — then it would follow that life could be just as common on circumbinary planets as on planets with single stars," Orosz said.

Kepler-47c, which appears to be slightly larger than Uranus, is the outer world. It takes the planet 303 days to complete an orbit, placing it squarely in the system's habitable zone. (Kepler-47b is a bit smaller than its planetary sibling but much closer-in, making it likely too hot to host life.)

Kepler-47c itself is likely not a good bet to support life. But any large moons of the planet — if they exist — would be very intriguing to astrobiologists, said study co-author William Welsh at San Diego State University.

Scientists have already found several exoplanets that are Earth-size or smaller, and they hope to discover many more. NASA's prolific Kepler space telescope, which discovered Kepler-47b and c, is a key tool in this search.

Indeed, Kepler's main mission is to determine just how commonly Earth-size planets occur in their stars' habitable zones throughout the galaxy. The telescope detects alien planets by flagging the telltale brightness dips caused when they cross in front of, or transit, their stars' faces from the instrument's perspective..

"I expect that the transits of an Earth-sized planet will be very hard to spot by eye, so we will need to refine our automated search programs to work for binary systems," Orosz said. "As Kepler gets more and more data, the chances go up that we can identify the smaller transits due to terrestrial planets."

The scientists published their findings online Aug. 28 in the journal Science. They also detailed their results Aug. 29 at the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Beijing.

http://news.yahoo.com/newfound-tatooine-alien-planet-bodes-well-e-t-154537390.html

Saulbadguy
09-05-2012, 09:25 AM
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Discuss Thrower
09-05-2012, 09:34 AM
I wonder, if there is alien life, they turn a telescope to Sol and say something like "fuck, that's a lot of planets."

Fish
09-05-2012, 10:13 AM
I wonder, if there is alien life, they turn a telescope to Sol and say something like "fuck, that's a lot of planets."

You present an interesting scenario that most people don't think about...

If there is intelligent life out there, and they're looking our way, they aren't going to see any intelligent life from our planet. Because of how far away they are, they would be seeing the Earth as it was millions and millions of years ago...

http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/883/24091146854959316605719.jpg

Sofa King
09-05-2012, 10:17 AM
You present an interesting scenario that most people don't think about...

If there is intelligent life out there, and they're looking our way, they aren't going to see any intelligent life from our planet. Because of how far away they are, they would be seeing the Earth as it was millions and millions of years ago...



Well, what if that planet has had that technology for millions of years already. They'd be looking at us as we are today.



/that makes no fucking sense
//this guy's a dumbass
///wait a minute I think he's fucking with me.
//// Yup. He is. Bastard.

mdchiefsfan
09-05-2012, 10:23 AM
I understand the basis of searching the the "habitable zone" but what makes them think that all forms of life require water? That seems kind of like "the world is flat" kind of thinking. I guess you have to start somewhere.

Fish
09-05-2012, 10:42 AM
I understand the basis of searching the the "habitable zone" but what makes them think that all forms of life require water? That seems kind of like "the world is flat" kind of thinking. I guess you have to start somewhere.

They don't think that. They absolutely look for other forms of life too. But as a starting point, they go with what they know exists. Which is carbon based lifeforms that require water. There are lots of ideas and theories. Some of which can melt your brain if you think about it too long. There's lots of theories about silicon based life out there too. But carbon as a base works very well, it's super versatile, and very abundant in the universe.

Frankie
09-05-2012, 10:46 AM
I unpacked when I got to "is a gas giant" part.

NEXT!

alnorth
09-05-2012, 11:46 AM
Well, what if that planet has had that technology for millions of years already. They'd be looking at us as we are today.



/that makes no ****ing sense
//this guy's a dumbass
///wait a minute I think he's ****ing with me.
//// Yup. He is. Bastard.

If they are a million light-years away, they wont see intelligent life. We might see intelligent life if their civilization is millions of years old, but not vice-versa.

vailpass
09-05-2012, 11:48 AM
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

LMAO

Discuss Thrower
09-05-2012, 11:58 AM
Seriously, it just doesn't seem right that we can spot 1-3 planets in a solar system yet ours has 4 gas giants, four notable rocky type planets that are apparently smaller then average, and a slew of other bodies that the IAU has a grudge against and demotes them from planet status.

Let alone the dozens of satellites our planets have.

mikey23545
09-06-2012, 09:11 AM
Seriously, it just doesn't seem right that we can spot 1-3 planets in a solar system yet ours has 4 gas giants, four notable rocky type planets that are apparently smaller then average, and a slew of other bodies that the IAU has a grudge against and demotes them from planet status.

Let alone the dozens of satellites our planets have.

:spock:

-King-
09-06-2012, 09:17 AM
You present an interesting scenario that most people don't think about...

If there is intelligent life out there, and they're looking our way, they aren't going to see any intelligent life from our planet. Because of how far away they are, they would be seeing the Earth as it was millions and millions of years ago...


Yeah, I never thought of that. Interesting.

mikey23545
09-06-2012, 09:21 AM
You present an interesting scenario that most people don't think about...

If there is intelligent life out there, and they're looking our way, they aren't going to see any intelligent life from our planet. Because of how far away they are, they would be seeing the Earth as it was millions and millions of years ago...



Well, that's true if they are millions of light years away. If on the other hand, they are much closer...

I realize odds are that they would be farther away...

EDIT: I know also that they would have to be looking our way sometime after we had developed high powered radio transmitters, so that further limits how far away they could be and still detect signs of intelligence.

Sofa King
09-06-2012, 09:39 AM
If they are a million light-years away, they wont see intelligent life. We might see intelligent life if their civilization is millions of years old, but not vice-versa.

I put 4 extra lines of sarcastic responses and i still think you missed it, unless you're being sarcastic back of course. I can't tell if you're serious or not because you don't have 4 extra lines of sarcastic responses.