Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

new habitable planet

What do you think about this (although I'm sure there are better links)? http://story.malaysiasun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/243780/cs/1/

I think it's kind of exciting/cool. Not that I think we have a prayer of reaching it within my lifetime but still, the idea is pretty neat.
Permalink Send private email tim 
April 25th, 2007 12:56am
That's a strange headline.  It implies habitable by humans, and that isn't stated anywhere in the article.

By "most Earth-like" they mean "not very goddamn much like Earth at all, but you know, more like Earth than a gas giant or something."

We couldn't live there.
Permalink Lurk Machine 
April 25th, 2007 1:30am
It sounds like we could live there, even if it's not an immediate move possibility (aka, temps 0-40C). It's more exciting to me than other possibilities.
Permalink Send private email tim 
April 25th, 2007 1:34am
Good news, an expedition is being organized. The first ship will contain real estate agents, telephone sanitizers, and the like, so that things will be clean and organized when the next two ships arrive containing the workers and the engineers and leaders.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 1:51am
Scientists have too much time on their hands.
Permalink Bot Berlin 
April 25th, 2007 2:26am
well, it's out of town, the commute would be hell, but that is reflected in the rent.

how are the neighbours?
Permalink $-- 
April 25th, 2007 6:19am
Earthlike temperatures & liquid water?  Looks good.

Earthlike gravity?  Uh-oh.  Surface gravity seems to be in the 1.6g range.

Muppet's brother would weigh 720 lbs.
Permalink xampl 
April 25th, 2007 9:15am
If its mass is 5 times that of the Earth, I think it would be in the 5 G range.

So what do I think?  I think I'm heavy enough now, thanks.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 25th, 2007 10:11am
5 times the mass != five times the gravity.

I forget the rationale, though.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
April 25th, 2007 10:11am
Well, fair enough, if it were a point-source, it would be, but as it ISN'T a point source, it depends on how far away you are from the dense part of the mass.

I'd be amazed if it was as low as 1.6 G, though.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 25th, 2007 10:35am
OK, I need to inject some sense to this debate.

First, there is no planet. There is only barely detectable periodic fluctuations in the luminosity of the star.

From this, they suppose that a planet is in orbit around the star.

From analyzing the bands in which the luminosity modulates, they decide the planet is a certain mass, orbiting at a certain distance, and of a given size.

From that and the spectrum of the star, they decide the surface temperature of the planet.

From that they say 'If there was water on this planet, it would be in liquid form.'

None of this is saying that there is really water on that planet detected, which is very unlikely.

It is also fairly unlikely that there is a planet there at all, or that if there is, that the given specifications other than the length of year are at all correct.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 12:09pm
"It is also fairly unlikely that there is a planet there at all"

You keep harping on this.  Why?  Is it some kind of creationist thing?  Have there been a bunch of cases where they thought there was a planet that didn't pan out?  This thing where they make observations and predict where a planet should be is how they found most of the outer planets.

The only time I remember hearing about them being wrong was when they briefly thought there was a planet inside Mercury's orbit, and the science has grown a lot since then. 

If you know something I don't, please, enlighten me.
Permalink Lurk Machine 
April 25th, 2007 12:36pm
If you don't understand the science and can do no better than to try to make weak religious arguments, please post on a religious or pseudoscience forum. Thanks.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 12:39pm
The star is 20 light years away.  You think we've sent a probe to verify there's a planet there, with all these lovely features?

No, we've merely observed (from 20 million light years away) some occultation of the light on a periodic basis.  From calculating the period (and amount) (and the change in the spectrum of light) of that occultation we've concluded some things about the mass doing the occultation.

So much of this explicit detail being given out, like "it's an earth habitable planet" is highly speculative.  For that to be actually true requires some speculative assumptions to be correct.  Which they may or may not be, thus PE's comment.

But you don't have to bring Creationism into the discussion, that was uncalled for.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 25th, 2007 12:45pm
Those interested in the topic may be interested in this, which is the only image of an exoplanet:

http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2005/pr-12-05-p2.html

There's 3 other possible exoplanet direct observations, but they have yet to be confirmed.

The 'habitable planet with water' under discussion has not been observed or confirmed as a planet. It's just a possibility of a planet from observations made via the observations I described, which you are obviously completely ignorant of as evidenced from your post.

"The find was possible thanks to an instrument known as a spectrograph on the European Southern Observatorys 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile, according to the group. The instrument, called the High Accuracy Radial Velocity for Planetary Searcher, is touted as one of the most successful tools for detecting exoplanets to date.

The instrument measured wiggles in the stars motion corresponding to velocity changes of just two to three meters per secondthe speed of a brisk walk, according to the Geneva Observatorys Michel Mayor, principal investigator for the instrument. Given the results so far, Earth-mass planets around red dwarfs are within reach of discovery, he predicted."
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 12:49pm
(that was @lurk)
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 12:49pm
(& agree with hubble)
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 12:50pm
Uh, no guys, I'm on board with the whole "It's Earth-2!" thing being ridiculous speculation.  Read my first post.

PE keeps saying there probably ISN'T A PLANET THERE AT ALL.  Are you not getting this?

Do you agree with him on that, Allan, that the telescope guys don't know what they're talking about?

His FAITH and insistence that the planet's very existence is fantasy is why I brought religion into it.
Permalink Lurk Machine 
April 25th, 2007 12:57pm
Well, he said this: "It is also fairly unlikely that there is a planet there at all, or that if there is, that the given specifications other than the length of year are at all correct."

To restate what he said, yes, I think there is a possibility that what is causing the results they're seeing is not a "planet".  "fairly unlikely" might be an overstatement, depending on the methodology they're using and the accuracy of the instrument they're using to do it with.

On the other hand, that assumes you have some metric for "fairly unlikely".  To me, that's a fuzzy term.  To claim it has his absolute FAITH behind it seems quite a stretch.  Especially as he added "or that if there is" -- which seems to indicate he's willing to accept the planet might be there, thus denying this absolute FAITH you keep going on about.

Why this trips your trigger, I don't know.  I hear him trying to sound a cautionary note, which I completely agree with.  I'd just HATE it if 6 months from now the scientists conclude "Oh, wait, it's actually a really small gas giant" and the Creationists rise up and say "AHA!  The scientists don't know anything!"
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 25th, 2007 1:47pm
Yeah, the technology behind planet determination is very rubbery, and the data analysis done is not a slam dunk. Maybe they are detecting planets maybe not. Maybe some things detected are planets and others are not. One thing is for sure - if you 'discover' a exoplanet, you get articles written about you, street cred among your fellow astronomers, more grant money possibilities, and a better shot at tenure.

If a 'planet' is detected using several methods, chances look better. Maybe.

Remember, that until we actually landed a probe ON Titan, we were wrong about a LOT of what we thought about it from doing spectrum analysis, even from photos taken by Voyager 1-2 as they passed extremely close to Saturn! These exoplanet candidates are billions of times farther away, and all but one are too small to resolve as even a single pixel in any telescope. All of this, even the existence of this new 'planet', is speculation based on extremely limited data and analysis that is very new and has not been proven.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 2:03pm
OK, fair enough.  I DID ask for enlightenment.  I thought there was a concensus that all the extrasolar planets they're claiming to have found were based on solid science. 

Here's how PE starts his post:

"OK, I need to inject some sense to this debate.
First, there is no planet."

That sounds pretty definitive to me, and it bugs me.  He also mentioned it in a previous thread, and twice again in this one. 

When he says they aren't finding planets, he's saying he knows more about this stuff than the people doing it for a living, and that annoys me.

That's all.
Permalink Lurk Machine 
April 25th, 2007 2:42pm
Hello is feeling nauseous. And he smokes. Therefore hello has cancer.

"There is no planet, there are these observations." is in the same sense as "Hello does not have cancer, there are these observations." Planet or cancer are far from definitive.

As to the 'appeal to authority', that went out with the middle ages. Since the Renaissance, we've had this idea of a scientific method, where rather than saying 'there's a habitable water based earth like planet because I said so and I am an expert' you say 'there might be a planet there with these characteristics because of the following data set and this specific analysis of this data, including the following assumptions'.

By publishing as such, then we, the knowledgeable interested public, can examine the data, the analysis and the assumptions and determine whether or not the conclusions follow from the data.

We, the knowledgeable interested public are capable of doing this when we bother to educate ourselves as to the state of the art in these technologies and sciences, and we are perfectly capable of having an opinion and contributing. We are also far less biased than the people originally publishing when they benefit professionally from making a new and dramatic discovery. From examining the statements being made, which are at the least, wild and irresponsible exaggerations (habitable earth-like planet with water filled oceans discovered), it's clear that a sense of perspective and realistic presentation of the actual measured data here has been lost.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 25th, 2007 3:17pm

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