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Waspie_Dwarf

One small star, one small planet... at least!

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One small star, one small planet... at least!

A group of astronomers from the UK and Chile report the discovery of eight new small planets orbiting nearby red dwarf stars, three of which may be habitable. From this result the scientists, led by Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, estimate that a large fraction of red dwarfs, which make up at least three quarters of the stars in the universe, has associated low-mass planets. The new work appears in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The researchers found the planets by analysing archival data from two high-precision planet surveys made with the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES) and High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS), both operated by the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The two instruments are used to measure how much a star is affected by the gravity of a planet in orbit around it.

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What a remarkable "accident"!

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What a remarkable "accident"!

Would you care to elaborate?

I find it hard to believe that anyone could be satisfied simply posting such a meaningless comment.

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I think it is just amazing what they are finding now with all the new technology that is available. Kepler is just starting to bring in more and more planets, dwarf stars and who knows what will turn up next. I think it is just a matter of time that some sort of life form will be discovered next.

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Posted (edited)

So i wonder. Does this newly found abundance of planets account for the missing matter in the universe. Does this decrease the amount of dark matter and energy needed to hold the galaxies in check

Edited by McNessy

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Mcnessy, no it doesn't.

As for the story, if I am correct in my assumption, we will find life in almost every system too. Those who are capable of tech will look like us.

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As for the story, if I am correct in my assumption, we will find life in almost every system too.

How did you come to that conclusion?

The original article tells us that of the 8 planets found 3 are in the habitable region. You don't need to be good at maths to work out that's less than half. And that is assuming that planets around red dwarfs can harbour life at all. As they are so much dimmer than stars like our sun the habitable zone will be much smaller so the planets will be closer. Therefore planets in the habitable zone are far more likely to be tidally locked, which may exclude the possibility of life.

Add to that the fact that we don't know how often life occurs even on planets which we would consider habitable. It may occur every single time, it may occur only once in ten million. With no other planet known to have life there is no real way of estimating that. You can not extrapolate from a single data point.

The reality is that even the best astrobiologists simply don't know what the chances of life existing on these planets are. That means that your statement is not an assumption, it is a wild guess.

Those who are capable of tech will look like us.

Again what leads you to this assumption?

There is no reason at all to assume that life on at totally alien world will look like us. We are a product of evolution set in motion billions of years ago. A different starting point would have led to very different looking life forms on this planet, never mind an alien planet.

The first fish that emerged from the sea had four bony fins. That set in motion a chain of evolution that lead to four limbed amphibians, four limbed reptiles, four limbed birds, four limbed mammals and us. Had fish had six (or two) bony fins then life would look very different. And that is just assuming that it was fish that conquered the land. What if it had been an octopus?

On an alien world, with even subtlety different conditions and a different starting point there is every possibility that life forms we can't even begin to imagine would evolve.

Evolution offers the potential for an almost infinite variety of life. To assume it would be so dull as to come up with the same answer each time seems a somewhat limited view.

It also offers a limited view of life on Earth. For a long time it was assumed that we were the only creatures on Earth capable of manufacturing tools. We now know that is far from true. Even a creature as humble (and supposedly "bird-brained") as the New Caledonian Crow can make tools:

The New Caledonian Crow (Corvus moneduloides) is a tool-using species of crow endemic to New Caledonia. These crows are able to make hooks, an ability that not even our closest relative, the chimpanzee, has mastered. This species is not just famous for its tool-making abilities. These crows have also solved a number of sophisticated cognitive tests which suggest that this species is particularly intelligent Taylor et al. 2010, Taylor et al. 2012). Due to these findings this species has become a model species for scientists trying to understand the impact of tool use and manufacture on the evolution of intelligence.

Source: wikipedia

Whilst this is obviously a long way short of being a technological species it does show, unequivocally, that the potential for a non-human technological species to evolve ON EARTH exists.

If such a possibility exists on Earth then it would be foolish in the extreme to assume that only a human-like species could evolve to be able to use technology elsewhere in this vast universe.

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Posted (edited)

So i wonder. Does this newly found abundance of planets account for the missing matter in the universe. Does this decrease the amount of dark matter and energy needed to hold the galaxies in check

When danielost said "no it doesn't" it was the one part of his post that was definitely true. It's a shame he didn't take the time to explain why.

Dark matter is probably non-baryonic. That means it it is not made of the same stuff that stars planets, you and me are made of. It doesn't radiate light and heat. It is essentially invisible. We know it is there because it exerts a gravitational force. It constitutes nearly 85% of all matter in the universe.

We may only just be developing the ability to see individual stars and planets in our galaxy, but because all baryonic matter radiates at some wavelength we can work out the total amount of such matter in, for example, the Andromeda Galaxy. The problem is that when all the "stuff" that we can see is added up it comes to only about 15% of the mass required for galaxies to behave the way they do.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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Posted (edited)

Blown a few brains cells but i got it i think lol. They are already part of the mass thats accounted for. I think what boggles me is we can see the stars and account for their mass. Yet in the past they didnt think planets wer as abundent as they do now and we couldnt see them. So my thinking was is this missing mass. Do they have to add this to their calculation or is the extra mass they add minimal to the amount of missing dark stuff. Brain hurting again mite open a beer. Thanks Waspie

Edited by McNessy

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I bet there are life on these planets

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Would you care to elaborate?

I find it hard to believe that anyone could be satisfied simply posting such a meaningless comment.

A bit harsh...

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i never believed for one minute we were the only planet or life in the universe or even our solar system but you think this will be enough for the god botherers??

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Dwarf I came to that opinion, because Mormons believe there is life on other planets.

I think all solar systems have their own god(father). If so the would have life forms like us on them. I don't know if there would be elephants or other known life forms on those planets, but there will be human types.

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Posted (edited)

Wait... isn't there some extremely annoying UM member to come debunk this "theory"?

Edited by CRYSiiSx2

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Blown a few brains cells but i got it i think lol. They are already part of the mass thats accounted for. I think what boggles me is we can see the stars and account for their mass. Yet in the past they didnt think planets wer as abundent as they do now and we couldnt see them. So my thinking was is this missing mass. Do they have to add this to their calculation or is the extra mass they add minimal to the amount of missing dark stuff. Brain hurting again mite open a beer. Thanks Waspie

There is more dark matter than there is light matter. Planets do not equal the mass of their star.

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As for tech. Life forms they need to have some sort of grasping hand and time to come up with it. Is an elephant has a grasping hand, its trunk, but doesn't have enough time to come up with tech.

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Wait... isn't there some extremely annoying UM member to come debunk this "theory"?

Well I doubt that as there is nothing here to debunk. This is a theory based on an extrapolation of "observed" exoplanets and it can be argued whether it is a good theory or a poor one, which is the point of publishing for peer review but it isn't "debunkable". It is an exciting theory since the more panets out there then, theoretically, the greater the chance of discovering life but there is no guarantees of that theory being true since we still don't know how life started. I personaly believe that life exists off this planet but it is just a personal belief and nothing more.

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Life is probably more the rule than the exception.

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I find it interesting that some may believe in Dark Matter, due to its gravitational pull. This gravitational pull is considered evidence of something unseen.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen. I believe in the God of the Bible, because of his gravitational pull.

Maximus

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Posted (edited)

I find it interesting that some may believe in Dark Matter, due to its gravitational pull. This gravitational pull is considered evidence of something unseen.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen. I believe in the God of the Bible, because of his gravitational pull.

Maximus

I can see how you'd arrive at such a comparison and it is interesting but I would suggest they aren't the same thing at all. Dark matter is a theory based on observed matter and physics. We know approximatley how much matter exists in the universe and we know how much is required to make the universe behave as it does and the difference is dark matter. We have no idea what dark matter is but we know it must be there or everythung we know about physics is wrong.

God, on the other hand, is not necessary to make any equation work, he is not required to make the physical universe act as it does but mass and gravity are. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, it just means God isn't required to make the universe work as it does while dark matter is.

Edited by Merc14
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What I don't understand is who are we to decide what elements create life? Alien life can be present anywhere under any conditions. Maybe they absorb sunlight as food (photosynthesis), may not drink water, may not need sunlight, or warm temperatures like us. We just don't know.

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What I don't understand is who are we to decide what elements create life? Alien life can be present anywhere under any conditions. Maybe they absorb sunlight as food (photosynthesis), may not drink water, may not need sunlight, or warm temperatures like us. We just don't know.

We look for what we know but no one is saying something else couldn't exist. Just, give the most comment elements distributed throughout the Galaxy a good bet is most life would be carbon based. Theory at best and based only what we know in our little quiet corner of the Milky Way.

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We need to stop thinking we are unique in the universe. The sun no longer orbits the earth…

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Next your going to try and argue that the earth is not square!

Merc14 said: (we know approximately how much matter exists in the universe) ....Really?

How does one measure this? What was used as a control? One would have to have infinite knowledge of the universe to calculate this. To me, this would be like a single grain of sand representing the earth and a microscopic life form attempting to measure and calculate approximately, how many grains of sand exist in the entire universe.

Way over my head. And as for God, I know he exist because he revealed himself to me. We speak to each other and have a relationship. I know that the mental illness jokes will follow and that’s ok. I also did not believe until then, so I do not try to argue Gods existence because it is impossible for me to give you evidence, that is his choice.

Maximus

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Next your going to try and argue that the earth is not square!

Merc14 said: (we know approximately how much matter exists in the universe) ....Really?

How does one measure this? What was used as a control? One would have to have infinite knowledge of the universe to calculate this. To me, this would be like a single grain of sand representing the earth and a microscopic life form attempting to measure and calculate approximately, how many grains of sand exist in the entire universe.

Way over my head. And as for God, I know he exist because he revealed himself to me. We speak to each other and have a relationship. I know that the mental illness jokes will follow and that’s ok. I also did not believe until then, so I do not try to argue Gods existence because it is impossible for me to give you evidence, that is his choice.

Maximus

You'd have to ask an astrophysicist exactly which formula they use to measure the mass of the known universe but it can probably be found in Astrophysical Formulae. Just because you can't visualize it or believe that they can come to an approximate measure of the mass of the known universe, doesn't mean that it can't be done and rather than scoffing at it you could google how they do it and enlighten yourself a bit. Here is a start:

http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/answers/971115d.html

Your sand analogy is appropriate if the grains of sand each equal a galaxy and that microscopic speck is our sun with the earth being a tiny speck orbiting that microscopic particle.

If you believe God talks to you then that is proof for you but it doesn't prove anything to anyone else. You are mixing up your religious beliefs with science, which seldom works but I thiought that God created the universe and then went to the hands-off approach to things so that his/her efforts aren't needed to make it run.

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