Exo Planets and Solar Systems

Historic planetary instability and catastrophe. Evidence for electrical scarring on planets and moons. Electrical events in today's solar system. Electric Earth.

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100+ Earth-like planets

Unread post by tholden » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:39 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... weeks.html


More than 100 planets that are a similar size to Earth have been discovered in just the past few weeks, it has been announced.
The discovery was made by the space telescope Kepler which has been scanning the skies for planets that are orbiting stars since it was launched in January last year.
The breakthrough raises the tantalising prospect that we may not be alone in the Universe.
Scientists now believe that there are likely to be around 100 million planets in the Milky Way that harbour exactly the right conditions for life.
And they expect to be able to identify around 60 of these habitable Earth-like planets within the next two years.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... z0uQixhg5f...

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Re: 100+ Earth-like planets

Unread post by Lloyd » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:37 pm

* I see it says there are about 140 planets that have been found to be about the size of Earth. Thornhill has suggested that life originates in brown dwarf star systems, so few if any of those Earth-like planets would have life, if his idea is right, unless life has moved there from a brown dwarf system. The Solar System lucked out in that the Saturn System was apparently captured by it. Or does entering a main sequence star system like this solar system spell doom for life here? We no longer have brown dwarf like conditions. Was Earth lucky that it found this niche in the Solar System? Mars didn't quite find a good niche. If there was life there during the Saturn Age, it apparently got beat to death during the system breakup, when the surface got greatly rearranged by megalightning. Earth may have gone through a similar beating, but life survived only because Earth was just big enough to take the beating and Earth found just the right spot in the new system to maintain life, at least for a while.
* So we may need to wait till we find brown dwarfs with planets somehow, before we find life. See Thornhill's article, Other Stars, Other Worlds, Other Life at http://www.holoscience.com/views/view_other.htm or at http://sci2.lefora.com/2010/06/12/10.

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Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by V J Quixote » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:16 pm

Article found on MSNBC.com, August 26, 2010.

link: http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/20 ... ing-orbits

Planets spotted in changing orbits
NASA / Ames / JPL-Caltech

Artwork shows two Saturn-sized planets discovered by NASA's Kepler mission. The system may contain another planet slightly larger than Earth.
Alan Boyle writes: NASA's Kepler planet-hunting probe has spotted a system where two giant planets are locked in constantly changing orbits — with a super-Earth potentially pinned down in the crossfire.

Astronomers like to think of planets as a kind of celestial clockwork, keeping regular time. For example, the time it takes for the planets in our own solar system to complete their orbits can be calculated to within fractions of a second, and unless something huge happens, they'll stick to that timetable for billions of years.

In contrast, the two Saturn-size planets circling a sunlike star now known as Kepler-9, more than 2,000 light-years from Earth, shift their timetable with every go-round. Kepler-9b has an orbit lasting approximately 19.24 Earth days, while Kepler-9c has an orbit lasting a little more than twice as long, 38.91 days. But on average, Kepler-9b's orbit got about 4 minutes longer every time the Kepler astronomers checked, while Kepler-9c's averaged about 39 minutes shorter.

That suggests the planets are in the midst of a gravitational push-pull that keeps the orbits close to a 2-to-1 ratio, in what's known as a planetary resonance. In our own solar system, Pluto and Neptune are in a similar resonance (2-to-3), which is why little Pluto can't be kicked out of its orbit. The same thing applies to the Kepler-9 system.

"The system is stable in the sense that no planet will be ejected," said Matthew Holman, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who is the principal author of a Kepler paper being published today on the journal Science's website.

"The orbits of the planets are changing, but these variations are oscillatory," Holman told me in an e-mail. "On average, the period ratio will be very close to 2-to-1. However, at any given instant that ratio may be bigger than 2-to-1 or smaller than 2-to-1."

Orbital variations has long been known to be theoretically possible, but Kepler-9 is the first confirmed planetary system where astronomers have been able to register this type of off-schedule behavior. It's actually quite a lucky break for the Kepler team. "The variations in what we call the transit times are large enough that we can use those transit timing variations to estimate the masses of thes bodies," Holman said in a Science podcast.

A question of timing
The $600 million Kepler mission looks for planets beyond Earth by having an orbiting telescope stare at a section of sky between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra. That 15-foot-long, one-ton spacecraft looks for telltale dips in starlight that might be caused by planets crossing the disks of alien suns. By analyzing how long those dips last, and how frequently the dips occur, astronomers can figure out how large the planet could be. But they can't directly calculate how massive it is, and there's a chance that what they're seeing is not a planet at all.

The Kepler team is using other methods to make sure which among the hundreds of candidates they've found so far are truly planets — rather than, say, eclipsing binary stars or the glare of variable stars in the background. Usually, that requires follow-up observations by telescopes that look for the subtle shifts in starlight wavelengths caused by planet-induced gravitational wobbles. This interactive graphic explains how the various planet-hunting methods work.

The fact that Kepler-9's transit times were shifting immediately caught the Kepler team's attention, because that suggested a different method for confirming exactly what Kepler-9b and Kepler-9c were. Astronomers could plug those transit times into a computer model and run the numbers to see what types of objects could cause those weird orbits.

Objects the size of stars could be ruled out, because the transit timing variations would have been even larger in that case. Moreover, objects as massive as stars or brown dwarfs would be kicked out of the system relatively quickly. When the Kepler team ran a double-check with data from the Keck I telescope in Hawaii, the detection of a gravitational wobble confirmed that Kepler-9b and Kepler-9c were really, truly planets, Holman said.

"Now we have another tool to measure masses," Holman told me. "The combination of these methods is particularly powerful."

The researchers say this marks not only the first time that the transit timing method has been used to confirm a planetary detection, but also the first time that the transit method has been used to detect multiple planets in an alien solar system. That angle was touted in the NASA news release announcing the discovery.

"NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet crossing in front of, or transiting, the same star," the space agency declared in the news release. Of course, multiple-planet systems have been detected using methods other than pure transit observations. And with regard to the other "first," a different team of researchers previously reported using transit timing variations to study extrasolar planets, but they said the "final interpretation" of their results was still pending.

The Science research was held under embargo until 2 p.m. ET today, but the discovery came to light an hour early when NASA made its news release and other information about the observations publicly available.

Sub-Saturns ... and a super-Earth?
Holman and his colleagues estimate that Kepler-9b and Kepler-9c are both slightly smaller and less massive than Saturn. Theoretical models suggest that they're composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, like your typical gas giants. They appear to orbit in nearly the same plane, like the gas giants in our solar system. But the Kepler-9 planets have orbits that are significantly closer to their parent star than Mercury is to our own sun.

Astronomers assume that the planets formed farther out, in a colder region where ice and gas could collect, and then they circled inward in a complex orbital dance.

There might be another planet even closer in: When the researchers ran the numbers, they saw evidence that a world about one and a half times as wide as Earth was spinning around the Kepler-9 sun every 1.6 Earth days. If the evidence pans out, this planet could be about as massive as Earth, but hotter and more hellish than any world in our own solar system — sort of like the CoRoT-7b super-Earth that was identified a couple of years ago.

However, the Kepler team says it's too early to confirm that the Earth-scale candidate, currently known as KOI-377.03, is indeed a planet, let alone a super-hot super-Earth.

"The approach to confirming this as a planet will first be to exhaustively rule out all other possibilities for what could be causing the signal we see," Holman told me. "However, this will not establish the mass of this body. That will be left to future work."


Astronomers had to unravel the patterns that Kepler saw in the dimming of starlight from Kepler-9, as shown in this graphic.

Today's Kepler findings have been the subject of intense speculation for the past few days, even before NASA announced that an announcement was on the way. Now that the news is out, the results may not be as world-shattering as some people expected.

To my mind, the announcement earlier this week that five to seven planets had been detected in a far-off solar system seems at least as significant as today's report from Kepler. But there's been an aura of mystery surrounding the hundreds of detections made by the Kepler team because those findings have been so closely held. The fact that today's news broke on Twitter and on the Web just adds to the Kepler aura.

Kepler's principal scientific investigator, Bill Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center, surmised that the public is so interested in the mission because it could answer some of the biggest questions in astronomy: How common are Earthlike planets? How many possible homes for life exist? "We're not surprised at all about the attention that it's been getting," he told me during today's NASA teleconference.

As more of Kepler's discoveries come out, scientists — and science fans — will develop a better understanding of the wide and weird diversity of planetary systems. Let's hope this stuff never gets old.

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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by keeha » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:23 pm

Alan Boyle seems dull.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/ ... t-systems/
Aside from the sheer number of planets, the cool thing about this system is that it is “full” — “that is, the planets are about as close to one another as they could be, without causing the system to become unstable,” Winn said. “This paper argues that not only the newest system, but also many of the previously detected systems, are ‘full’ and therefore that this arrangement is common.”

The team found and confirmed the new planets using the tried and true radial velocity technique, which watches for the parent star’s tiny movements as interactions with the planets’ gravity tug the star to and fro. This method is the most common technique for finding exoplanets; in fact, the instrument the team used, the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher attached to a 3.6-meter telescope in La Silla, Chile, is the most prolific planet-hunting device out there.

The new Kepler system, on the other hand, was confirmed using a completely new technique that planet hunters have been anxious to try for years.

“The demonstration that this technique works” is important, Winn said. “It has been held out for more than 5 years as a promising technique in theory, but this is the first time it has been put into practice.”

The Kepler Space Telescope stares unblinkingly at a single patch of sky and watches for planets that cross in front of their stars, or transit. The planet’s crossing blocks some of the star’s light, making the star dim periodically.

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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by kiwi » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:11 am

they liken the 2 main (objects) as being in a 2-1 resonance, meaning one does 2 orbits to the others 1 orbit?, but adding that there is the fact that one of the objects takes 4 minutes longer each time it orbits and the other increases it orbital speed by 39 minutes each orbit.... it doesnt say that the 2 objects "swap" those time differences each orbit? Yet they are said to be stable where neither can be ejected by the other?
so how could it be they can be compared to Pluto and Neptune's orbits? which works out that Pluto and Neptune only line up in line with the sun when they are both at opposites to each other in terms of their distance to the sun? and therefore the attraction when in this configuration is at its weakest
because if one gains on the other by a net amount of 36 minutes each orbit ... wont they eventually clash as the time will come when they are right next to each other? one catching then overtaking? Is it thought the 2 main objects are in elliptical orbit? And the interference coming from the suspected third object in a circular orbit?
Im very much a lay person regards all this and it wouldn’t be the first time Ive missed a fundamental point in whats been said …. Hope someone can clarify …. Cheers 

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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by nick c » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:03 pm

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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by mharratsc » Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:34 am

So basically, this fancy system can tell the difference between a planet passing in front of a star, and the fluctuations in luminosity of a variable star... is that it?
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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by nick c » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:27 pm

mharratsc wrote:So basically, this fancy system can tell the difference between a planet passing in front of a star, and the fluctuations in luminosity of a variable star... is that it?
That pretty much sums it up:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/keple ... index.html

It only works for solar systems that are lined up so the planet transits the star, as seen from Earth.


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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by Total Science » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:27 pm

"For if the Olympian who handles the lightning [Jupiter] should be minded
to hurl us [planets] out of our places, he is far too strong for any."
-- Homer, poet, Iliad, I:580-581

"But, when the planets,
In evil mixture, to disorder wander,
What plagues, and what portents? what mutiny?
What raging of the sea? Shaking of the earth?
Commotion in the winds? frights, changes, horrors,
Divert and crack, rend and deracinate
The unity and married calm of states
Quite from their fixture?"
-- William Shakespeare, playwright, Troilus and Cressida, 1602

"If an atom is built as a microcosmical model of a solar system, elements arriving from interatomic space, also travelling from one atom to another must be in existence. Contacts between elements, increase in numbers of electrons, polarities, change of orbits, all must take place. Change of orbits and emitting of energy at these moments were supposed by Bohr." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, polymath, November 1942

"... the solar system may have changed so much since it was created that a study of the present state would tell us very little about it's origin." -- Hannes O.G. Alfvén, physicist, 1954

"...it was accepted that the solar system has no history at all. So it was created if not 6000 years ago, then 6 billion years ago. But then for 6 billion years there was no change. Whether it was created or came into being by tidal action of a passing star which would be catastrophic as the tidal theory wishes or it is growing out of a nebula, the nebular theory which goes back to Kant and Laplace, but since creation there was no change. But if what I am telling you is truth, then there were changes, and very many, and very recently too." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, polymath, 1966

"... it is not the 'beliefs' and 'religions' which circle around and fight eachother restlessly; what changes is the celestial situation." -- Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend, polymaths, 1969

"... I started to think that quite possibly, though not certain, that at the age of Kronos, the planet Earth could have been a satellite of Saturn. None of them was on their present orbit." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, polymath, January 29th 1975
"The ancients possessed a plasma cosmology and physics themselves, and from laboratory experiments, were well familiar with the patterns exhibited by Peratt's petroglyphs." -- Joseph P. Farrell, author, 2007

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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by kiwi » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:44 am

thanks Nick ... that was presented in a way that made more sense ... for me :)

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Re: Planets Spotted in Changing Orbits: Kepler Mission

Unread post by Total Science » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:33 pm

"... those terrifiers of the world stood like two planets both deviating from their orbits." -- Sanjaya, Mahabharata, Book 8 (Karna Parva), Chapter 17, 8th century B.C.
"The ancients possessed a plasma cosmology and physics themselves, and from laboratory experiments, were well familiar with the patterns exhibited by Peratt's petroglyphs." -- Joseph P. Farrell, author, 2007

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Habitable planet found orbiting nearby red dwarf star

Unread post by tholden » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:44 pm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100929/sc ... 0929210707

Some of the details should sound familiar to people on this forum...
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US astronomers said Wednesday they have discovered an Earth-sized planet that they think might be habitable, orbiting a nearby star, and believe there could be many more planets like it in space.
The planet, found by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, is orbiting in the middle of the "habitable zone" of the red dwarf star Gliese 581, which means it could have water on its surface.

Liquid water and an atmosphere are necessary for a planet to possibly sustain life, even it it might not be a great place to live, the scientists said.

The scientists determined that the planet, which they have called Gliese 581g, has a mass three to four times that of Earth and an orbital period of just under 37 days.

Its mass indicates that it is probably a rocky planet and has enough gravity to hold on to an atmosphere, according to Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and one of the leaders of the team that discovered the planet.

If Gliese 581g has a rocky composition similar to Earth's, its diameter would be about 1.2 to 1.4 times that of the Earth, the researchers said.

The surface gravity would be about the same or slightly higher than Earth's, so that a person could easily walk upright on the planet, Vogt said.

Gliese 581g was discovered by scientists working on the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey, during 11 years of observing the red dwarf star Gliese 581, which is only 20 light years from Earth.

For astronomers, eleven years of observation is considered a short time and 20 light years, which is roughly 117.5 trillion miles, rather close. The sun is around eight and a half light minutes from Earth.

"The fact that we were able to detect this planet so quickly and so nearby tells us that planets like this must be really common," said Vogt.

The planet is tidally locked to its star, meaning that one side is always facing the star and basking in perpetual daylight, and the other is in perpetual darkness because it faces away from the star.

With surface temperatures decreasing the further one goes toward the dark side of the planet and increasing as one goes into the light side, the most habitable part of the new planet would be the line between darkness and light, which is known as the "terminator".

The researchers estimate that the average surface temperature of the planet would be between -24 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-31 to -12 degrees Celsius).

But actual temperatures would range from "blazing hot on the side facing the star to freezing cold on the dark side," they said.

The findings, which will be published in the Astrophysical Journal and posted online at arXiv.org, "offer a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet," said Vogt.

"Any emerging life forms on the new planet would have a wide range of stable climates to choose from and to evolve around, depending on their longitude," Vogt said.

In their report, the scientists in fact announce the discovery of two new planets around Gliese 581, bringing the total number of known planets around this star to six.

That is the most yet discovered in a planetary system other than Earth's solar system.

Like planet's in Earth's solar system, the planets around Gliese 581 have nearly circular orbits.

Two previously detected planets around Gliese lie at the edges of the habitable zone, one on the hot side and one on the cold side of the star, and are probably not habitable.

The newly discovered planet g, however, lies right in the middle of the habitable zone.

"We had planets on both sides of the habitable zone -- one too hot and one too cold -- and now we have one in the middle that's just right," Vogt said, recalling the porridge that Goldilocks found in the children's story "The Three Bears."
Moderator edit: spelling correction to thread title

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Re: Habitable planet found orbitting nearby red dwarf star

Unread post by webolife » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:06 pm

Far from being a "goldilocks" planet, Gliese 581g suffers from at least these life[as-we-know-it]-extinguishing deficiencies:
1. The only life-temperate region is its terminator, since it is gravitationally locked to the star.
2. No global atmospheric mixing mechanism [such as day/night rotation] for gas exchange/recycling makes any kind of sustainable life unlikely.
3. The star is red, so the colors [and energy] needed to sustain most kinds of elementary life are lacking.
4. Its rapid revolution and Venus-low orbit about Gliese 581 suggests electrical extremes could keep it in cometary mode most of the time. I look for further discoveries of a tail in time...
5. Nothing whatsoever has been determined about its makeup.
6. And this is the best candidate for "habitable" of any planet yet discovered... <sigh> :roll:
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Re: Habitable planet found orbitting nearby red dwarf star

Unread post by starbiter » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:54 pm

This article by Wal gives the Electric Universe view of brown dwarf stars. The star in the article this thread is based on is a larger red dwarf.



Brown dwarfs of that size are considered to be too small to initiate thermonuclear fusion. But that isn’t so in an Electric Universe where all bodies receive electrical energy from the galactic circuit. For example, consider Jupiter as an independent body moving in the galaxy inside its radiant plasma sheath (analogous to a cometary coma). It would be regarded as a brown dwarf star! And even if that glowing sphere were half the size of Jupiter’s present magnetosphere, which is 10,300,000 km in diameter, all of Jupiter’s large moons would orbit comfortably inside that cocoon.

I have noted the significance of this earlier, “Since an electric star is heated externally a planet need not be destroyed by orbiting beneath its anode glow. In fact life is not only possible inside the glow of a small brown dwarf, it seems far more likely than on a planet orbiting outside a star! This is because the radiant energy arriving on a planet orbiting inside a glowing sphere is evenly distributed over the entire surface of the planet. There are no seasons, no tropics and no ice-caps. A planet does not have to rotate, its axis can point in any direction and its orbit can be eccentric." Such an arrangement is far more benign toward life than at present where the energy source, the Sun, subtends a small angle in the sky and the "habitable zone" of orbits is very narrow.

In our neighbourhood, there may be many more brown dwarfs than sun-like stars. They are difficult to detect since they glow mostly in infrared. A spectral class of "L" dwarfs, about one-tenth the mass of the Sun, has been found with an effective temperature of only 700K to 950K (about the same as the surface of Venus at 740K). This is way below the theoretical limit of 1750K for a nuclear powered dwarf star, while it is not a problem for the electric star model. The light from the "L" dwarfs is unaccountably bluer than expected and even exhibits X-rays! Only the electric model has a simple explanation for this conundrum. The higher energy radiation is emitted from the brown dwarf's electrical corona. Therefore the light bathing a satellite will be strongest at the blue and red ends of the spectrum. Skylight on any satellites would probably be a pale purple (see later—the classical "purple dawn of creation"). Photosynthesis relies on red light so plant life could flourish, especially when the atmospheres of the "L' dwarfs contain predominantly water molecules. Satellites would accumulate atmospheres and water would mist down.

Brown dwarfs are noted for their occasional inexplicable polar jets and “flaring.” As explained in my electric stars article, stars that do not have bright, tufted photospheres do not have the power feedback control that maintains the steady radiant output of the Sun while the power input varies—as measured by x-rays and sunspot latitudinal migration. So any power surge on a brown dwarf will be met with polar jets and flaring behavior. We know from coronal mass ejections (CME’s) on the Sun that this involves hurling matter into space.

Flaring would cause havoc on the satellites of a brown dwarf. In the extreme it would give birth to a new satellite. But existing satellites would suffer deposition of solids, liquids and gases and electric discharge machining of their surfaces. This is a scenario never considered by geologists but which explains all of the enigmas of planetary geology.

OK, let us assume that brown dwarfs and their satellites are the most hospitable places in the universe to establish life. That implies that the Earth was originally a satellite of a brown dwarf. That would explain many things, for example: where we got our water and oxygen atmosphere; why the high latitudes were so warm in the past that we find coal in Antarctica; how the Earth’s gravity and atmosphere in the past could have been so different that it supported megafauna and megaflora; what caused the global mass extinctions with instant burial and fossilization; and so on.

But hang on, you say. What about the fact that gravitational capture is highly unlikely? That’s true. But this is an Electric Universe. Each star, being an electrical body in a galactic discharge, will have a plasma sheath that limits the weak electric field between the star and the sheath. It is the Sun’s heliosphere. The plasma sheath is a “double layer” where almost the entire voltage drop between the star and the galaxy will be found. The heliosphere is about 200 AU across. That’s a big target! You could fit about 1,300 such targets between the nearest star and us. The size of this electrical target is important because it is the minimum distance at which the electrical “insulation” between two stars breaks down. I say “minimum” because the polar circuit of each star extends much, much further—as we see where the circuit has been “lit up” in a planetary nebulae.

me again,

It's even warm at the poles, allowing for vegetation, Just like Earths poles in the past.

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