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20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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Old 04-25-2007, 09:28 AM   #1
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20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

The most enticing property yet found outside our solar system is about 20 light years away in the constellation Libra, according to a team of European astronomers.

Full story: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet - International Herald Tribune
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Old 04-25-2007, 09:41 AM   #2
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

I dont get how they decide what the hell this planet is like? Or what anything is rally like that we can't actually really see. Seems like a lot of supposition to me.
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Old 04-25-2007, 09:43 AM   #3
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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The most enticing property yet found outside our solar system is about 20 light years away in the constellation Libra, according to a team of European astronomers.

Full story: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet - International Herald Tribune
Cool, my kids got dibbs on ocean front property.
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:18 AM   #4
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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I dont get how they decide what the hell this planet is like? Or what anything is rally like that we can't actually really see. Seems like a lot of supposition to me.
It's a bunch of astrophysics stuff. They examine the star and calculate the size. Given that it's a red dwarf, they know the approximate density of it.

They then measure the pattern of fluctuations in the shape of the star, and they can determine that an object of x size orbiting the star would have enough gravity to pull on the star and cause the observed level of fluctuations in the star's shape. They can also calculate the approximate distance from the star that the object would have to be in order to cause the variances in the star's surface.

So they established the size of the object (about as big as Earth), they established that it is orbiting the star, and they've established how far away it is. Now, since they know how much heat a red dwarf star of that size generates, and they know how far away from the star this planet is, they can calculate the expected temperature on this planet's surface. They've determined the temperatures would be earth-like.

We don't have the technology to see something as small as an earth-like planet from 20 light years away. But we can detect and measure the size of stars from that distance. So they just study the star real closely and extrapolate the rest of the information based on the behavior exhibited by the star.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:42 AM   #5
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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Cool, my kids got dibbs on ocean front property.
Haha. Did you get a piece of the moon too? If not, you better hurry.

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Old 04-25-2007, 11:46 AM   #6
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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It's a bunch of astrophysics stuff. They examine the star and calculate the size. Given that it's a red dwarf, they know the approximate density of it.

They then measure the pattern of fluctuations in the shape of the star, and they can determine that an object of x size orbiting the star would have enough gravity to pull on the star and cause the observed level of fluctuations in the star's shape. They can also calculate the approximate distance from the star that the object would have to be in order to cause the variances in the star's surface.

So they established the size of the object (about as big as Earth), they established that it is orbiting the star, and they've established how far away it is. Now, since they know how much heat a red dwarf star of that size generates, and they know how far away from the star this planet is, they can calculate the expected temperature on this planet's surface. They've determined the temperatures would be earth-like.

We don't have the technology to see something as small as an earth-like planet from 20 light years away. But we can detect and measure the size of stars from that distance. So they just study the star real closely and extrapolate the rest of the information based on the behavior exhibited by the star.
Actually I know how it works but my point, not really conveyed well, is that for the most part there is a bunch of guessing going on.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:49 AM   #7
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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Actually I know how it works but my point, not really conveyed well, is that for the most part there is a bunch of guessing going on.
Word, it is a lot of extrapolation that's for sure.

And I'm not sure why we even care what a planet is like 20 light years away. It ain't like we're going to send anybody there to check it out! Kind of a waste of time, other than the 'oh cool' factor.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:54 AM   #8
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

Space is a huge head trip when you really try to wrap your brain around it.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:00 PM   #9
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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Space is a huge head trip when you really try to wrap your brain around it.
Speaking of, do you plan on seeing this?

Space Week
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:05 PM   #10
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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Speaking of, do you plan on seeing this?

Space Week
Nice, I'm all over that!

I've already seen some of those shows, if we had no moon, most of the universe is missing, and super black holes. The missing universe one really blows your mind.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:30 PM   #11
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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Nice, I'm all over that!

I've already seen some of those shows, if we had no moon, most of the universe is missing, and super black holes. The missing universe one really blows your mind.
You sound like me...I live on the Discovery Channel.

I don't hold much stock on these planets being the next earth anyway. I jumped on that bandwagon years ago, when everyone thought Titan had water. After a closer look, it was liquid gas.

Also, as of today, we can't reach somewhere that is 20 light years away in time to actually inhabit it. Even if we were lucky enough to send a space ship in the general direction, by the time we arrived, we'd be skeletons.

It always makes me nervous that scientists are so hell bent on finding a new planet. Are they indirectly telling us our planet is doomed?

That super black hole show freaked me out. I had no idea there were so many black holes, and they implied that life derives from black holes. It was very interesting...it gets you thinking.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:49 PM   #12
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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Haha. Did you get a piece of the moon too? If not, you better hurry.

Earth's Leading Lunar Real Estate Agency - Buy Moon Property
WOW. Had no idea they were selling property on the moon. Kind of stupid if you ask me. Not becuase they WON'T make communities up there, I believe we can...but because the moon is already getting closer and closer to the earth every day, put more weight on the moon and then we may see it crash into the earth.
Why are humans self destructive?
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:25 PM   #13
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

is there any possibility at all we could get anywhere near this planet? or the main point is, it could be life supporting?
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:29 PM   #14
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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WOW. Had no idea they were selling property on the moon. Kind of stupid if you ask me. Not becuase they WON'T make communities up there, I believe we can...but because the moon is already getting closer and closer to the earth every day, put more weight on the moon and then we may see it crash into the earth.
Why are humans self destructive?
Yeah, not to mention it is basically a desert. No rain, no weather, no water, no lakes -- just a bunch of sand dunes and craters. Kinda dull if you ask me.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:48 PM   #15
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Re: 20 light years away, the most Earthlike planet yet

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is there any possibility at all we could get anywhere near this planet? or the main point is, it could be life supporting?
As of now, we've got the capability to reach Mars in about 8 months. Mars is 35 million miles away.

This new planet is 20 light years away, or 120 trillion miles. If we go at the same speed we go when we head to Mars, it would take us 2,285,714 years to get there.

So no we can't get near it; not until Scotty invents the warp drive.
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