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Astronomers find water on extra-solar planet


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#1    Owlscrying

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 03:06 AM

July 11
‘Extra-solar’ planets are those outside our Solar System and more than 200 have been discovered orbiting stars close to our own Sun. The planet with water in its atmosphere is known as HD 189733b, and orbits a star in the constellation of Vulpecula the Fox, which is 64 light years from the Sun. HD 189733b is known as a “transiting planet” because it passes directly in front of its star, as viewed from the Earth.

As HD 189733b passes in front of its ‘sun’, it absorbs starlight in a way that can only be explained by the presence of water vapour in its atmosphere. This is the first time that astronomers have been able to confirm that water is present on an extra-solar planet.

The discovery was made using NASA’s Spitzer Earth-orbiting telescope, taking measurements at a number of key wavelengths in the infrared region of the spectrum that pick out the crucial signature of water.

Parts of the atmosphere of HD 189733b are very hot – around 2,000 degrees.

HD 189733 is a star very much like our own Sun, although a little cooler. Its planet is not like Earth, however. HD 189733b is a gas giant planet, about 15 per cent bigger than Jupiter. However, while Jupiter is over five times as far away from the Sun as our Earth is, HD 189733b is more than 30 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun – explaining why it’s so hot.

For today’s planet hunters it is to find an Earth-like planet that also has water in its atmosphere. As that discovery will provide real evidence that planets outside our Solar System might harbour life.
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#2    Reincarnated

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 07:14 AM

You beat be to posting this. (Damn 2nd shift)


#3    Sun Raven

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 05:46 PM

Thi just goes to show that life can be anywhere in our galaxy and not to mention the universe.

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#4    Enigma wrapped in a puzzle

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 05:09 PM

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July 11
‘Extra-solar’ planets are those outside our Solar System and more than 200 have been discovered orbiting stars close to our own Sun. The planet with water in its atmosphere is known as HD 189733b, and orbits a star in the constellation of Vulpecula the Fox, which is 64 light years from the Sun. HD 189733b is known as a “transiting planet” because it passes directly in front of its star, as viewed from the Earth.

As HD 189733b passes in front of its ‘sun’, it absorbs starlight in a way that can only be explained by the presence of water vapour in its atmosphere. This is the first time that astronomers have been able to confirm that water is present on an extra-solar planet.

The discovery was made using NASA’s Spitzer Earth-orbiting telescope, taking measurements at a number of key wavelengths in the infrared region of the spectrum that pick out the crucial signature of water.

Parts of the atmosphere of HD 189733b are very hot – around 2,000 degrees.

HD 189733 is a star very much like our own Sun, although a little cooler. Its planet is not like Earth, however. HD 189733b is a gas giant planet, about 15 per cent bigger than Jupiter. However, while Jupiter is over five times as far away from the Sun as our Earth is, HD 189733b is more than 30 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun – explaining why it’s so hot.

For today’s planet hunters it is to find an Earth-like planet that also has water in its atmosphere. As that discovery will provide real evidence that planets outside our Solar System might harbour life.
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Water equals life and I don't care how hot the planet is because we cannot base our assumptions on human qualities.   There can be life on that planet and 2000 degrees may feel like a breezy 80degree day for us.

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#5    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 05:47 PM

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Water equals life and I don't care how hot the planet is because we cannot base our assumptions on human qualities.


Unfortunately chemistry DOES care, which is why scientists can be fairly sure of the temperature ranges we will be able to find life.

Too hot and the complex chemicals needed simply break down. Too cold and the reactions proceed too slowly for life.

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#6    Enigma wrapped in a puzzle

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 06:00 PM

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Unfortunately chemistry DOES care, which is why scientists can be fairly sure of the temperature ranges we will be able to find life.

Too hot and the complex chemicals needed simply break down. Too cold and the reactions proceed too slowly for life.



Again this is based on the earth and how humans live.  Chemistry does not amount to anything in other solar systems.  They may be based on a whole new periodic table and have the exact opposite of what we live like.  You are thinking to close minded, think about the possibility of our way of life and our basis of life meaning absolutely nothing in different parts of the universe.

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#7    Ins0mniac

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 03:40 PM

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Again this is based on the earth and how humans live.  Chemistry does not amount to anything in other solar systems.  They may be based on a whole new periodic table and have the exact opposite of what we live like.  You are thinking to close minded, think about the possibility of our way of life and our basis of life meaning absolutely nothing in different parts of the universe.


It's pretty safe to say chemistry and the laws of physics are pretty much the same in any solar system in the universe, especially other solar systems in our own galaxy.

Scientists have actually been using many instruments over many years to observe this.

As for the totally new periodic tables, scientists pretty much know how atoms work. And I think it's is safe to say there is no possible way of having a "whole new periodic table". There are only so many stable configurations of an atom that can exist.

Scientists do NOT just base their ideas on current life on Earth. You can work out SOME limitations of life with basic physics and chemistry. Having said that, life may well exist in conditions that life here on Earth could not handle. Life in other parts of the galaxy may not even be carbon based. But there ARE still definite limits.

Edited by Ins0mniac, 21 July 2007 - 03:50 PM.

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#8    Enigma wrapped in a puzzle

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 08:32 PM

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It's pretty safe to say chemistry and the laws of physics are pretty much the same in any solar system in the universe, especially other solar systems in our own galaxy.

Scientists have actually been using many instruments over many years to observe this.

As for the totally new periodic tables, scientists pretty much know how atoms work. And I think it's is safe to say there is no possible way of having a "whole new periodic table". There are only so many stable configurations of an atom that can exist.

Scientists do NOT just base their ideas on current life on Earth. You can work out SOME limitations of life with basic physics and chemistry. Having said that, life may well exist in conditions that life here on Earth could not handle. Life in other parts of the galaxy may not even be carbon based. But there ARE still definite limits.



We we know for a fact that there have been metals and minerals that are not in our periodic table, so there would be additions to it at the least.

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#9    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 09:27 PM

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We we know for a fact that there have been metals and minerals that are not in our periodic table, so there would be additions to it at the least.


This is total rubbish. We know for a fact the exact opposite.

Metals and minerals may be made up of several or even many different elements all of which occur in the periodic table.

The periodic table is a result of understanding the way that atomic nuclei and the electrons surrounding them work. What makes one element different from another is the number of protons in the nucleus (which is the atomic number) for example hydrogen (atomic number 1) has one proton, helium (atomic number 2) has 2 protons... carbon has 12 protons, uranium has 92 protons. There are no gaps, all the elements between hydrogen and uranium are known. Since an nucleus can only have a whole number of protons it is impossible for their to be elements we don't know about.

We can also artificially create heavier elements than uranium. These tend to be very unstable and the heavier ones last only fractions of a second.

We can use techniques such as spectroscopy to analyse the make up of stars and galaxies billions of light years away and what that shows is the chemistry is universal it is the same here as it is everywhere.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 21 July 2007 - 09:38 PM.
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#10    Sgt._Love

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 09:32 PM

Interesting

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#11    questionmark

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 11:59 PM

I am sorry to introduce a slight variation here, water that is H2O alone is not a prove of life. We need an energy carrying compound with it, which in the case of our planet happens to be carbon or sulfur (very rare and only found in deep-sea geysers).

Without this element the interchange of energy needed for the subsistence of a life form would not be given.

To ascertain that a planet carries life we have to also demonstrate an energy exchange cycle, i.e

O2 + C = energy + CO2 getting recycled to energy (in our case solar) + CO2 = C + O2.

I used this example because it is the only one we know. It could be any combination of chemical elements.

If we cannot demonstrate that, no matter how much water, we cannot claim that there is life.



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#12    Ins0mniac

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:57 AM

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We we know for a fact that there have been metals and minerals that are not in our periodic table, so there would be additions to it at the least.


Like waspie said, new atoms not currently in our periodic table can technically be created in a lab by scientists, but due to the way atoms/elements exist, these elements will not be stable and will only exist for a fraction of a second. Hardly good building material for life.

Edited by Ins0mniac, 22 July 2007 - 05:57 AM.

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#13    She-ra

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 05:38 PM

I just think it's freakin cool because of this alone!

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As HD 189733b passes in front of its ‘sun’, it absorbs starlight in a way that can only be explained by the presence of water vapour in its atmosphere. This is the first time that astronomers have been able to confirm that water is present on an extra-solar planet.


I love that. original.gif Jody thumbsup.gif Nice post!!


#14    . Alexandros .

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 10:06 AM

We cant be the only existing beings in this expanding universe. Its not a question of if but where.

And organisms can exist anywhere, no matter the conditions, too hot or too cold, organisms adapt.

Edited by . Alexandros ., 27 July 2007 - 10:07 AM.


#15    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 12:52 PM

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We cant be the only existing beings in this expanding universe. Its not a question of if but where.
Don't mistake probability for fact. It is unlikely that we are the Earth is the only inhabited planet in the Universe. That doesn't mean that it is fact that there HAS to be life elsewhere in the Universe. As unlikely as it seems there is simply not enough evidence to be able to say that we are not alone.


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And organisms can exist anywhere, no matter the conditions, too hot or too cold, organisms adapt.
Not true. How can organisms adapt if the conditions are wrong for them to form in the first place? Life simply can not ignore the laws of nature. If it is too hot or too cold the chemistry necessary for even simple life just can not occur.

Even simple viruses require immensely complicated chemistry and that almost certainly requires organic (carbon based) chemistry. Despite being a favourite of science fiction writer silicon based life is unlikely because silicon simply does not form the complex molecules required by life. If the conditions are too cold the chemistry necessary to form life just will not get going. If it is too hot the complex molecules are broken apart and life can not form. Once it gets going that is a different matter, life can evolve in ways we can't begin to imagine.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf, 27 July 2007 - 12:55 PM.

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