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Newly Spotted Frozen World Orbits In a Binary Star System

samzenpus posted about three weeks ago | from the a-little-chilly dept.

Space 34

An anonymous reader writes A newly discovered planet in a binary, or twin, star system located 3,000 light-years from Earth is expanding astronomers' notions of where Earth-like planets can form. At twice the mass of Earth, the planet orbits one of the stars in the binary system at almost exactly the same distance at which Earth orbits the sun. However, because the planet's host star is much dimmer than the sun, the planet is much colder than Earth. "This greatly expands the potential locations to discover habitable planets in the future," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at Ohio State. "Half the stars in the galaxy are in binary systems. We had no idea if Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits could even form in these systems."

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The Summary Clarified "Binary Star" for /. Readers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393467)

The summary clarified "Binary Star" for Slashdot readers. That seems unnecessary, or my opinion of Slashdotters is far too 2002.

Re:The Summary Clarified "Binary Star" for /. Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393681)

It means the star is digital, either on or off.

Re:The Summary Clarified "Binary Star" for /. Read (1)

davester666 (731373) | about three weeks ago | (#47394109)

cool. it flips between being a star and a black hole.

Interesting but not useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393497)

Until faster-than-light travel is either solved or deemed completely impossible these facts are interesting but useless to us. It is probably within our realm to terraform planets close to earth to be livable. But until we figure out how to get there it's just not going to make an impact beyond scientific curiosity. We need to try to solve the FTL problem. Eventually something is going to make our little rock uninhabitable. While there may be many worlds that are close to Earth out there we need to be able to get there.

It's a bit of a burning question. General relativity seems to indicate that FTL may be possible unless it is unified with gravity field theory. The physics isn't there yet. After the physics we need the "tricks" that comprise engineering to get the physics to be useful. The sooner we sink more money in this area the quicker a breakthrough may come. And yes, I am fully aware that throwing money at a problem like this isn't going to solve it. The solution is going to come from some really, really smart guy sitting in a locked room somewhere with a notebook. But experimental data helps and that's where the money comes in.

Sadly the governments of the world seem to be less interested in physics today. Sigh.

Re:Interesting but not useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393545)

When have the governments ever been interested in physics that doesn't have immediate military applications? Nothing new here.

Re:Interesting but not useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393585)

When have the governments ever been interested in physics that doesn't have immediate military applications? Nothing new here.

I'm willing to bet that the discovery in the article was paid for by government money yet there are no military applications. The problem is politicians aren't scientists and they disperse money with their limited knowledge of what needs to be figured out. Government scientific funding could probably be dispersed better with a blind homeless guy and a dart board than by politicians who think the world is 4,000 years old.

bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not useful (1)

Fubari (196373) | about three weeks ago | (#47393737)

We need to try to solve the FTL problem.

r.e. FTL research: you raise some good points.
But nobody (except maybe a Comi-Con panel) is going to get behind funding FTL research.
Our species also has some baby steps to work on first: in no particular order... orbital solar power, fusion, space elevators, mars colonies, asteroid mining. *shrug* Let's solve those things first because they will (eventually) set the stage for interstellar work, including FTL research.

As for basic physics research, I would say China is showing some interest in basic research and advancing the state of the art; with any luck that will motivate some other governments to not be left behind. India also seems hungry to establish itself as a prestigious space power; they're doing some cool things - I hope they are successful.
Likewise I'm optimistic about the progress SpaceX has made; I hope they're wildly successful because it will open new doors for humans.

Re:bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not usef (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393759)

Perhaps you could do some baby steps yourself; like getting familiar with math and engineering 101.

Orbital Solar Power makes no sense outside of comic books either. Fusion? 50 years and counting. Space Elevator? More sci-fi comic book fantasies. Asteroid mining? Are you joking?

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the... [ucsd.edu]
http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the... [ucsd.edu]

As for SpaceX, it's the same old fuel in a stick stuff that we've been doing for more than half a century now. It's not magic. LEO and satellites. That's it.

Why would you want to open a door if there's nothing but a deadly vacuum filled with radiation on the other side?

What's the appeal? You're talking about "humans"? You're concerned about your fellow man or just your sci-fi fantasies you read about as a child?

Re:bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not usef (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47394131)

You naysayers... Why would someone risk near-certain death in space? Because it's better than absolutely-certain death on the ground. Just wait until it gets that bad down here, and you're good to go.

Re:bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not usef (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47395955)

Baffling and insane reply. WWIII could happen and the Earth would still be orders of magnitude more hospitable than anything in space.

Re:bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not usef (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47397155)

Say, you have the same belief structure as people who believe in the Rapture. What's the difference?

Re:bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not usef (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about three weeks ago | (#47396213)

Japan is starting work on orbital space power already. Hopefully they've played SimCity and turned disasters off. Microwave power was a fun way to burn a line through your city.

Re:bit soon for FTL... Re:Interesting but not usef (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47397045)

LOL. Japan loves to *announce* grandiose projects... that go nowhere.

Say, where's that 1997 Space Hotel?

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/9705/2... [cnn.com]

There isn't even a single rivet in orbit.

Re:Interesting but not useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47395707)

Well, damn! It's a good thing we don't rely on Anonymous Cowards to decide what is and isn't useful. Glad of that!

Re:Interesting but not useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47396047)

Well then what has stopped you so far?

Oh yeah, reality.

Verified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393519)

Has this been independently verified by other astronomers? Keeping in mind yesterday's slashdot article suggesting that ptreviously identified planets gliese-581d and gliese-581g don't actually exist?

Hoth (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about three weeks ago | (#47393577)

It's a rebel hideout

Re:Hoth (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | about three weeks ago | (#47393701)

Or Tatooine [wikipedia.org] (due to the fact it orbits a binary star system, not the climate).

Re:Hoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47397833)

Sorry, you're both clearly wrong. This planet is in our own galaxy. How many times do you need to be told -- both Hoth and Tatooine are in a galaxy far, far away.

Re:Hoth (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about three weeks ago | (#47393745)

Considering the article states that this planet has an estimated surface temperature of 352 Fahrenheit, it would make Hoth seem like a tropical resort, considering warm blooded animals like Tauntauns were able to survive on the surface. Hoth would have been more like the Antarctic, around 70 Fahrenheit by comparison.

Re:Hoth (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about three weeks ago | (#47393753)

Fuck /. -- it removed the negative characters from my post WTF? Those numbers should read -352 F and -70 F. Why it stripped out the "" I do not know.

Re:Hoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47393869)

A real geek would have used the Kelvin temp scale.

Just say'in.

Now, I need to finish my hagas and Scotch because I'm a real Scotsman.

Re:Hoth (2)

nadaou (535365) | about three weeks ago | (#47394583)

another UTF8 related tragedy

Re:Hoth (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about three weeks ago | (#47399759)

That does make your post quite hilarious.

Re:Hoth (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about three weeks ago | (#47413323)

it removed the negative characters from my post WTF?

Simple - your keyboard is mapped incorrectly. It inserts some high-numbered UTF character into your text when you press the key marked with the hyphen glyph and intended to insert the character with ASCII code 45.

Hang on - are you composing your replies in a word processor instead of using a text editor?

Re:Hoth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47394113)

> an estimated surface temperature of 352 Fahrenheit

Wow, you registered users think you can get away with some ridiculous bold-face lies. The article said the surface temperature is around 60 Kelvin.

ObUnicodeRant (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about three weeks ago | (#47394573)

60 K = -352 F. Slashdot will eat any characters not on a whitelist due to past abuses of Unicode characters, and this includes the actual minus sign that isn't a hyphen.

Re:Hoth (1)

greenwow (3635575) | about three weeks ago | (#47394295)

Considering the article states that this planet has an estimated surface temperature of 352 Fahrenheit, it would make Hoth seem like a tropical resort, considering warm blooded animals like Tauntauns were able to survive on the surface. Hoth would have been more like the Antarctic, around 70 Fahrenheit by comparison.

No, the article said the planet is colder than Hoth.

And this is the type of garbage the moderators vote up to a +2. This site is dead.

Yuo F4il It! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47394333)

fucking percent of please moderate Distribution. As BSD machines Having lost 93% lube. This can lead Creek,K abysmal of FreeBSD Usenet more. If you feel this mistake or

Colder than Earth? Not so fast. (3, Interesting)

yesterdaystomorrow (1766850) | about three weeks ago | (#47394359)

We know nothing about this planet's atmosphere. The low flux of energy from its star tells us that its stratosphere (if present) must be very cold, but says nothing about its surface temperature. It could have a much deeper troposphere, and thus a much stronger greenhouse effect than Earth has.

Re:Colder than Earth? Not so fast. (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about three weeks ago | (#47403931)

The size of the planet puts limits on the atmosphere. And at 60 K, it's colder than Neptune. No depth of troposphere can turn a Neptune or Pluto warmer than Earth.

Re:Colder than Earth? Not so fast. (1)

yesterdaystomorrow (1766850) | about three weeks ago | (#47404417)

No depth of troposphere can turn a Neptune or Pluto warmer than Earth.

Neptune's interior temperature is thought to be 7000K. Venus, a bit smaller than Earth, has a surface >500K hotter than its tropopause. I see no physical reason that this super-Earth couldn't have much more atmosphere than Venus. 220K from tropopause to surface would get you to liquid water.

Let it go, let it go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47396161)

Can't hold it back anymore

We'll name it: WESTEROS (1)

fygment (444210) | about three weeks ago | (#47398807)

"Winter has arrived."

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