Planet Hunters Report Record-Breaking Discovery, Search for other habitable planets

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Michael Watson

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Message 1420549 - Posted: 26 Sep 2013, 15:44:17 UTC

It will soon be possible for us to detect free oxygen in the atmospheres of extra-solar planets. Since oxygen combines so readily with other elements, its presence on such a planet would signify a continuously replenished source. Everything we know indicates that this source would be living things.
It might even become possible to detect trace gases, such as nitrogen oxides, which are produced by technology.
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Message 1420553 - Posted: 26 Sep 2013, 15:50:05 UTC - in response to Message 1420549.  

I was reading in my Scientific American Mag a month or so ago that we can already detect elements in extrasolar planets. the technique used is similar to what we use on planets and moons in our solar system. We look at the reflected light from the planet as it passes behind its sun AUsing prismatic light we can see what element are present in its atmosphere
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Message 1420590 - Posted: 26 Sep 2013, 17:18:31 UTC
Last modified: 26 Sep 2013, 17:18:49 UTC

I wonder what percentage of stars have their planetary disc edge on to earth, which would be the only ones where this method of planet detection works. I also wonder if any other systems for planetary detection are possible, other than direct observation.
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Message 1420662 - Posted: 26 Sep 2013, 20:17:12 UTC
Last modified: 26 Sep 2013, 20:19:06 UTC

Found an interesting article on it:

http://astro.unl.edu/naap/esp/detection.html

[edit]Kinda like that animation:)
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Message 1420766 - Posted: 26 Sep 2013, 23:01:12 UTC

Yes I know of those methods that have been used to detect a double star system but the article also says that no planets have been detected using any method other than the transit method. Unless by some odd coincidence most planetary discs are edge on to us we won't be able to confirm whether most stars have planets or not. And the word assume is not very scientific.
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Message 1420914 - Posted: 27 Sep 2013, 10:37:09 UTC
Last modified: 27 Sep 2013, 10:37:54 UTC

Even in science we need to make assumptions sometimes to get to the right answer...
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Message 1420961 - Posted: 27 Sep 2013, 13:38:25 UTC
Last modified: 27 Sep 2013, 13:41:05 UTC

I am now wondering if a massive collision would be a requirement for intelligent life to form on an Earth-like planet. It seems that life-start on Earth dates just after the postulated collision that formed the moon. It is put forth that this collision blasted the existing atmosphere into space. Perhaps this would have rid the planet of poisonous gases such as methane which then allowed an atmosphere more conducive to life to emerge.

Each day the notion of "Earth-Like" becomes more and more rare and unlikely in my estimation.
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Message 1420992 - Posted: 27 Sep 2013, 15:43:12 UTC - in response to Message 1420961.  

I am now wondering if a massive collision would be a requirement for intelligent life to form on an Earth-like planet. It seems that life-start on Earth dates just after the postulated collision that formed the moon. It is put forth that this collision blasted the existing atmosphere into space. Perhaps this would have rid the planet of poisonous gases such as methane which then allowed an atmosphere more conducive to life to emerge.

Each day the notion of "Earth-Like" becomes more and more rare and unlikely in my estimation.


I've looked around a bit but couldn't find any references that indicate that the early atmosphere would have contained much methane. AFAIK the very early atmosphere, after the hydrogen and helium drifted away, would have been from gas emissions from the planet itself and asteroid and comet impacts. Mostly steam (H2O), carbon dioxide, nitrogen small amounts (less than 5% total) of chlorine and fluorine and only trace amounts of other stuff.

Pre-Biotic Earth

Do you have a link that would indicate the methane content would have been higher than trace amounts?
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Message 1420996 - Posted: 27 Sep 2013, 16:08:50 UTC

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Message 1421012 - Posted: 27 Sep 2013, 16:36:23 UTC - in response to Message 1420766.  

Yes I know of those methods that have been used to detect a double star system but the article also says that no planets have been detected using any method other than the transit method. Unless by some odd coincidence most planetary discs are edge on to us we won't be able to confirm whether most stars have planets or not. And the word assume is not very scientific.



I recall reading that Astronomers we able to deduce and infer a gas giant presence by the stars wobble. It is an indirect measurement. this work without needing to know which direction the planet is rotating because of the doppler effect.

the star will move side to side but also forward and back which can relatively easily be detected.
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Message 1421205 - Posted: 28 Sep 2013, 0:32:12 UTC - in response to Message 1420992.  
Last modified: 28 Sep 2013, 0:38:39 UTC

Do you have a link that would indicate the methane content would have been higher than trace amounts?


No I don't have a link other than the one just provided by Julie. This idea is really out of my fields and any specific knowledge that I have in Geology, Chemistry and Atmospheric Science.

I have postulated in the past--more as a question--as to wether or not intelligent life needs a moon to provide spin stabilization, tidal lock and hence the tides in order to provide for the formation of intelligent life. I was thinking that maybe this collision should be added to requirements for intelligent life formation. I am asking for informed opinion.
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Message 1422184 - Posted: 30 Sep 2013, 0:21:49 UTC - in response to Message 1421205.  

New information..

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/29/alien-planets-confirmed-1000_n_4012175.html

Number Of Alien Planets Confirmed Beyond Our Solar System Nears 1,000, Data Shows

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Message 1427107 - Posted: 11 Oct 2013, 15:00:13 UTC

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Message 1427867 - Posted: 13 Oct 2013, 0:05:36 UTC - in response to Message 1427107.  
Last modified: 13 Oct 2013, 0:05:53 UTC

All very true but not a one that would sustain Human life if we were to go there. Let's keep looking though.
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Message 1429719 - Posted: 17 Oct 2013, 15:50:25 UTC

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Message 1429841 - Posted: 17 Oct 2013, 20:24:06 UTC

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Message 1432037 - Posted: 23 Oct 2013, 0:50:32 UTC - in response to Message 1429841.  
Last modified: 23 Oct 2013, 0:51:16 UTC

Exoplanet tally soars above 1,000

The number of observed exoplanets - worlds circling distant stars - has passed 1,000.

Of these, 12 could be habitable - orbiting at a distance where it is neither "too hot" nor "too cold" for water to be liquid on the surface.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24549384

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Message 1432155 - Posted: 23 Oct 2013, 10:34:04 UTC - in response to Message 1432037.  
Last modified: 23 Oct 2013, 10:36:16 UTC

Keep in mind that temperature is one of perhaps 2 dozen parameters that must be in a narrow range for intelligent life (like us) to form. Reports of estimates of tens of billions of habitable planets in the Milky Way are way way off base. I predict that we will never find another planet like Earth that would support life as we know it. Would such a planet support us if we went there ?

I am eagerly staying tuned in to this search. In time we will be able to answer whether or not more of the essential characteristics are present.

We could start by spending more time in Alpha Centauri where it's relative proximity would present the easiest chance for close inspection.

For now I will keep my interest up but will remain an agnostic on this subject for the time being.
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Message 1432181 - Posted: 23 Oct 2013, 11:49:10 UTC

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Message 1432219 - Posted: 23 Oct 2013, 14:54:07 UTC - in response to Message 1432155.  

I think that we should promote a proper definition of "Habitable Planet". I propose the definition as: We could go there, breathe the atmosphere and live out a normal life expectancy with no artificial methods of providing an enclosed living environment.

This could be called a "Type 1" habitat

Type 2 could provide for life underground or in a shelter.

Type 3 may require living in a dome-like structure and manufacturing a breathable atmosphere.

and so on--what do you all think.


I think that we do ourselves a dis-service to trumpet billions of "Habitable Planets" in the Galaxy since we haven't yet found a one and may never do so.
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Message boards : SETI@home Science : Planet Hunters Report Record-Breaking Discovery, Search for other habitable planets


 
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