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Transit Method Reveals Many Extrasolar Planets

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the through-the-looking-glass dept.

Space 174

eldavojohn writes "You might recall not too long ago the first photo of an extra solar planet or, more recently, the mapping & speculation on these planets that lie outside our own solar system. Long since those first few spotted in the 90s, we're now starting to find them in droves due to the popularity of a method that relies on the planet passing directly between the viewer on earth and the star that it orbits. Be sure to check out Space.com's list of the most interesting extra-solar planets. Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates?"

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Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (4, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467855)

Considering the statistically unlikely percentage of planetary orbits that would naturally line up so that the planet would transit its sun from our point of view, planets must be pretty much common as dust. Either that or God was nice enough to line them up so it's easy for us to find them (possible, I hear God is a very nice person)...

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1, Interesting)

rblancarte (213492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467901)

This is the whole argument that Stephen Hawkins uses to "believe in God." Basically that things like this don't just happen randomly.

RonB

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467953)

Hey hey wait a second *I* get to decide what gets to happen randomly, not *you*!

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (4, Funny)

jobsagoodun (669748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468415)

This is the whole argument that Stephen Hawkins uses to "believe in God."

Quite the opposite actually...

"You cannot prove that I exist", says God, "For Proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing!"
"Ah", says man, "But the planets lining up nicely like that so that we can see them is a dead give away isn't it. It proves you exist, and therefore by your own logic you don't. QED"
"Oh bugger I hadn't thought of that" says God and disappears in a puff of logic.


Sorry Mr Adams.

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468701)

Too bad black is white and we're all going to die at the next zebra crossing :(

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468575)

This is the whole argument that Stephen Hawkins uses to "believe in God." Basically that things like this don't just happen randomly.

Which is pretty much the reason for the existence of all gods throughout history; to provide an explanation for something that was otherwise unfathomable. And of course once a thing becomes "fathomed" that particular god is no longer needed, and disappears.

I also might preemptively mention that "this is different, and also he's a really really smart guy way smarter than you wiseguy" is not a compelling argument.

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

Chicken04GTO (957041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468689)

Sweet, when you figure out how and why the universe came into being, let us all know.

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19469607)

Sweet, when you figure out how and why the universe came into being, let us all know.

You do realize that you are proving his point, right?
"I can't imagine how this could happen, so.......God!!"

That argument is essentially saying that you think right now today you ought to be able to know and understand everything there is, and if there is something you can't, then it must be a deity's work. Isn't that a bit egotistical? The world is complicated and subtle. When you get stuck on something it's a cheap cop-out to shrug your shoulders and figure it must be God from here on out.

There was a time when many people believed that the sun was pulled across the sky by a horse. And now doubt a reply to doubters was something like a smug "Sweet. When you figure out how it gets from here to there, let us all know." ? As if that somehow make the horse hypothesis more credible.

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468667)

Yeah, now the only question is "Which God?"

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19469335)

Yeah, now the only question is "Which God?"
BR why *mine* of course!

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 7 years ago | (#19470627)

I suppose that you are referring to Stephen Hawking? But perhaps you ought to refer to number 8 on the Crackpot Index [ucr.edu] .

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (2, Funny)

2names (531755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467909)

"God was nice enough to line them up so it's easy for us to find them"

Um, you do know that the Universe is flat, right? Just like Earth. :)

perhaps not so lucky (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467995)

Considering the statistically unlikely percentage of planetary orbits that would naturally line up so that the planet would transit its sun from our point of view, planets must be pretty much common as dust. Either that or God was nice enough to line them up so it's easy for us to find them (possible, I hear God is a very nice person)...
Maybe not so lucky. Most of the planets in our solar system (not all) have their rotational axes mostly parallel to their orbital axis. I assume there's some reason for that, perhaps simply if they are spun off of the sun then they acquire it's angular momentum. Or like the moon where tidal forces lock the orbit. In any case then, the next question is if the solar systems in our galaxy mainly orbit in the plane of the galaxies rotation. I'd assume so.

Given all that then it's not too surprising that there be a preference for this favorable occultation geometry.

Finally I note that we are not really interested in planets that don't rotate in their orbital plane since otherwise they'd be roastingly hot on one side and freezing on the other.

Re:perhaps not so lucky (2, Interesting)

Black Perl (12686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468251)

Finally I note that we are not really interested in planets that don't rotate in their orbital plane since otherwise they'd be roastingly hot on one side and freezing on the other.

Yes, but wouldn't there be a certain ring that is exactly 70 degrees? Also, you'd have an endless supply of geothermal energy. The hot-as-lava side could double as an incinerator--no trash problems. Obviously terraforming would be impossible but I'd think you could establish a permanent colony there.

Re:perhaps not so lucky (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468515)

Yes, but wouldn't there be a certain ring that is exactly 70 degrees?

I'm no expert, but I'd be willing to bet that what you'd really get is a ring that fluctuates violently between the hot and cold extremes of the two sides of the planet and is constantly bombarded by gigantic storms. I mean we're basically talking about a permanent clash between hot and cold weather fronts.

Huge temperature deltas do not result in nice smooth gradients between them.

Re:perhaps not so lucky (1)

escay (923320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468611)

Exactly what I was thinking, but in a different context. The (#6 on the list) exoplanet Upsilon Andromeda B [space.com] is tidally locked with its sun - so, one side is burning hot while the other is freezing cold. There must exist a ring zone that is temperate, since the temperature gradient cannot be discretely sharp. Couple that with unlimited supply of geothermal energy, and we got one cheap earth.

Re:perhaps not so lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468363)

Finally I note that we are not really interested in planets that don't rotate in their orbital plane since otherwise they'd be roastingly hot on one side and freezing on the other.

And the resulting forces may well cause them to shift to a more "neutral" axis.

Re:perhaps not so lucky (4, Interesting)

jae471 (1102461) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468739)

It should be noted that out the Sun's axis of rotation (and that of the major planets) is NOT with the galactic plane. We can see them, but they can't see us...

Re:perhaps not so lucky (4, Informative)

mp3phish (747341) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469459)

Your statement seems misleading but it may just be incomplete (IMO).

"Finally I note that we are not really interested in planets that don't rotate in their orbital plane since otherwise they'd be roastingly hot on one side and freezing on the other."

The rotation of the planet has nothing to do with the detection of planets in this method, only the orbit determines the ability to detect it. So while some planets may or may not be rotating on the correct axis to support multiple seasons, it isn't accounted for in this type of study because they can't detect this with the transient method.

Also, there are actually a large variation of planes that can be detected with this method. Imagine our solar system as a disk. Then imaging looking at it from the top view. This view does not allow the planet detection using the transient method. However, angle your view down until you can see just one of the planets cross over the sun. From this angle on, and twisted up to 360 degrees, is where this transient method works. So actually, there are many planes of orbit which can be used to detect planets with this method. And assuming that a percentage of these planets are within the habitable distance from their star, and that a percentage of these rotate on a reasonable axis, then they could contain life. But nothing in these studies is determining that any of this is the case. Right now they are just looking for ANY planets. so we can detect extrasolar planets even if their orbital planes are perpendicular to the galactic disk, so long as they are close to parallel to our viewing line of site. With this in mind, you can imagine that if you can view stars in our galaxy from 360 degrees around our planet, that we would be able to detect every orbital plane angle available in the galaxy, depending on which direction we are looking from the earth. So while we can't see all of them, we can see a very large subset of them with this method.

Also, the reason that all the planets in the solar system follow close to same typical plane of orbit is because of the way solar systems form. They start as a gaseous body collapsing. As the rotation of the gas nears closer and closer to the center of the nebula, the rotational inertia causes the forming of a disk due to inertia. The same thing happens to drag car tires when they spin fast (they turn more disk-like). From this disk-like nebula the planets form. The center typically ends up with something larger than a gas giant (the sun, or a couple of suns) and the other planets turn into gas giants (Jupiter) or solid planets (i forgot the name, but they gain gravitational pull and pull in particles from the nebular disk)

So this is why the planets are all in one plane of orbit. If all star systems are formed in this general method (something that is assumed) then it is fairly easy to say that they should all be in a single plane. But each system does not necessarily have to be in the same plane relative to each other just because they are in the same galaxy. Each nebula forms independently and collapses typically from an outside force, but not necessarily on the same rotational plane.

Also, the planets have their own disks associated with them. The moons and rings of Uranus and Saturn and Jupiter follow different planes. They don't necessarily need to follow the same plane as the solar system. This is because each of those planets also formed independently of each other. The spin of those depends on the angular momentum of the local mass as it formed, which would be different than the parent nebular disk especially when you take into account collisions of forming bodies. The same could be said to happen on the galaxy level, if you compare the galaxy formation to solar system formation.

These are just my points of view of what I have studied. Many people will have different points of view formed from the same observations.

Re:perhaps not so lucky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19469507)

Ok, let me tell you something: GP is right, this method works but you have to be really lucky.
I'll answer your question : 'Does the solar systems in our galaxy mainly orbit in the plane of the galaxies rotation ?'
I have a revelation for you: Our Solar System doesn't (have you ever seen the Milky Way ? ;-) )

So the answer is "No". Go have a look (stars orbital data, planetary nebulaes, dust disk, etc.)

Djian

Re:perhaps not so lucky (3, Interesting)

Hays (409837) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469651)

In any case then, the next question is if the solar systems in our galaxy mainly orbit in the plane of the galaxies rotation. I'd assume so.

They don't. See http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?numb er=633 [cornell.edu]

Our own Solar system is not at all aligned with the galaxy. If it were, the milky way would appear more east-west in the night sky, especially during the equinox.

Re:perhaps not so lucky (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469717)

I'm not sure I follow you. Oh sure, I agree that at observable scales from planetary on up to the galaxy itself (I believe it fails thereafter), there seems to be a planar bias which make a sort of logical sense - kind of an astronomic "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny"?

However, in the previous poster's comments, he's right too - even conceding a tendency to form solar systems on a plane (and I would guess this is only a TENDENCY, not a majority), even then the odds that a planet would pass directly between it's primary and us would be, well, astronomically large against. Why wouldn't we be interested in planets orbitting outside of this ecliptic? As long as the planet rotates SOME way, there's going to be temperature circulation. And finally, even if it's tidally locked to it's parent (not that I think this has any connection to it's inclination), there's possibly a 'twilight zone' where temperatures would permit water to remain liquid (Mercury's surface temps range from 90 deg K to 700 deg K - with scientists largely believing there is a significant likelihood of water ice in craters around the poles.)

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468001)

Which Fermi equation are you talking about, the post stamp equation? [anl.gov] . Also planetary orbits with 1.3-day periods like the ones discovered are so close to the star surface it's not unlikely to see them transit.

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (3, Informative)

Stephan202 (1003355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468023)

Aren't you referring to the Drake equation [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

Stephan202 (1003355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468061)

...which, I admit, is closely related to the Fermi paradox [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468535)

either that or there's tons of false positives seeing as how some star, let's say 500 lightyears away could have ANYTHING pass between earth and it and make it look like a planet was blocking the sun but not really. It seems to me that were would be no way to tell if it was a planet or not.

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468635)

Space Whaaaaaaale!

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468639)

It seems to me that were would be no way to tell if it was a planet or not.

Except that these transits have a regular period indicating orbital motion. What else could pass between us and the star in question with such a short, regular period except something in orbit around that star?

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (2, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468537)

possible, I hear God is a very nice person

Really? Then why'd he go and bury all of those dinosaur bones and radioisotopes to test our faith?

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469223)

Yeah, that sort of depends on whether you think the galactic plane and solar (stellar) plane have a tendency to coincide or not.

Our solar system is off galactic plane by around 63 degrees or so. The solar (stellar) plane is a function of the angular momentum of the dust cloud (assuming the solar system creation model we have is correct). The galactic plane, is the same thing, only on much larger scale of the galaxy (duh).

One would think that the total aggregate angular momentum of the galaxy would strongly suggest the same bias toward stellar planes more or less lining up. Basically if you look at a star it's probability of having the stellar plane line up with us is a bell curve where the center is 0 degrees out of galactic plane, and the higher you go the fewer do. (That's what I think is the case.)

Unfortunately, we only have one data point (our solar system) and others that by the means of detection mean they are lined up with us...

You would have to have a known average "has a planet" value for any star already to sort out if the extra solar plane has a high probability of being earth-pointing or not, and you could only do it by comparing the rate of earth-pointing planes above the galactic plane (a low probability) vs the earth-pointing in the galactic plane planets.

So you need the value (rate of "has a planet") you want to determine the value you want (how many planets are there?).

In other words, we only see a small percentage of planets that way, but we don't know what that percentage is without getting some other means to measure how many planets there are (the "has planet" rate for stars).

It's pretty cool they are finding lots of these though, sooner or later someone is going to figure out how to image them.... I look forward to that.

Re:Pegs that variable in the Fermi equation... (1)

teabaggs (1100077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469755)

there is a distinct possibility that every planet orbits in the same plane as its sun... and every star in the same plane as our sun... and every solar system, and every galaxy and everything...ever...orbits or otherwise travels in the same plane. IF any of this [google.com] is actually true
--
if you have not yet, bleep [whatthebleep.com] you!

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (2)

2names (531755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467871)

Yes, as long as we don't kill ourselves first.

Re:Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (3, Interesting)

ls -la (937805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467979)

Yes, as long as we don't kill ourselves first.
Better hurry up and colonize other planets.

Re:Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (5, Funny)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467991)

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates?"

I certainly hope it contains the same easy-to use ergonomic AJAX functionality as Web 2.0...I hate having to reload an entire Earth page every time I want to do something...

We already have it (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19470433)

It is mars. It is not 100%, but close enough. And there is increasing data to indicate that it does have life (bacterial, but still life).

Ummm....It's The Wobble Method That's Tops (4, Informative)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467887)

Read the article. Discovering planets via the transit method (eclipse dimming of the star) is rare. Around 80% are instead discovered using the so called wobble method, which measures changes in starlight doppler shift.

WOOT!!! Earth 2.0 (1)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468057)

Wow! An uninhabited planet where we can rape all the resources, pollute as much as we want, and no one can complain!

ROCK ON!

2 cents,

QueenB.

OT: sig reply (0)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468703)

Do you really think George Washington, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson would approve of the Patriot Act?

If they don't, it's just because they're stinking traitors who belong down in Guano Bay prison.

Re:WOOT!!! Earth 2.0 (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468899)

Do you really think George Washington, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Jefferson would approve of the Patriot Act?

Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and the Conway Cabal would approve just fine.

Re:WOOT!!! Earth 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19469173)

Patrick Henry

Is that the one with the hammer?

Re:Ummm....It's The Wobble Method That's Tops (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468435)

The great thing about the occultation method is that it can be used to determine a planet's volume. Add that to the wobble method, which determines a planet's mass, and you now have enough data to calculate the planet's density

Earth 2.0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19467907)

Only if we leave behind the annoying paraplegic kid.

life on them? (1)

DeadDarwin (1050498) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467927)

are they looking for life with less intelligence too? I mean sorta like 30 million yrs behind..they might not be sending out radio signals..but may be throwing knives made of stones...may be hubble can catch that

I'm not sure how serious you're being (5, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468007)

However, they do plan on looking for signs of molecular oxygen in the atmospheres of some of these planets. Molecular oxygen is chemically unstable, so its presence is usually considered to be an excellent indicator of life. Not perfect, as it might not be necessary or sufficient, but it's the best method we have right now for detecting M-class planets.

Re:I'm not sure how serious you're being (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468133)

So it should at least have Roddenberries.

Why would anyone look for Earth 2 again? (1)

Paul Doom (21946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467933)

Who wants to deal with stupid grendlers [wikipedia.org] ? Let's just skip to 3.

Re:Why would anyone look for Earth 2 again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468183)

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thought of that show. It was kind of like Twin Peaks.... only really bad and in space. Of all the important things from college I've forgotten how sad is it that I can remember exactly what the grendlers looked like and did without hitting the provided link. *sigh*

Re:Why would anyone look for Earth 2 again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468587)

Thank you for being nerd enough to make the reference I immediately thought of.

I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who bought that godawful thing on DVD.

Yes (3, Interesting)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467945)

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates?


Of course; space is big and there are bound to be tons of great planets out there. I just hope there is no one already living on our soon to be discovered new colony planet so we can move in quicker.

Re:Yes (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469409)

I just hope there is no one already living on our soon to be discovered new colony planet so we can move in quicker.

Yep. And every second of extra speed counts, with Alpha Centauri being a mere 42 trillion km away.

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (1)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467955)

So, by this did you mean...other planets to rape and pillage?

Re:Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (1)

drukawski (1083675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467981)

Dibs on pillaging!

Re:Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468017)

Dibs on the other one!

Re:Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468541)

If the inhabitants are intelligent, they'll detect our approach when we're still way out (because of the communication traffic beamed almost directly at them) and will thereafter maintain radio silence until they ambush and annihilate the expedition (robotic or human). After a few tries, we will (correctly) surmise that there's some unknown danger there and look for a different candidate.

They would be "not intelligent" to allow us to establish a beachhead.

Earth 2.0?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19467961)

I thought Earth 1.0 was Deep Thought 2.0?

Bowman 2.0 (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467963)

All these World 2.0s are yours except Europa 2.0. Attempt no landings there.

Re:Bowman 2.0 (3, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468071)

I'm sorry, I can't moderate that for you Dave...

Re:Bowman 2.0 (0, Offtopic)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468705)

Why do I have the strangest feeling that--if this message were received--George Bush would just ignore it?

Re:Bowman 2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468877)

He'd be too busy banging leg bones together.

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? (2, Funny)

jhouserizer (616566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467967)

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates? I'm sure we will. And when we do, I have a number of candidates for who should be sent there.

Earth 2.0 candidates (1, Offtopic)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 7 years ago | (#19467989)

I realize the existing crop of candidates leaves much to be desired, but is looking outside the solar system for our next president really a solution? How would you square that with the Constitutional requirement that the President be born in the US? Isn't that why Schwarzenegger can never really fulfill his political ambitions?

Re: Schwarzenegger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468347)

What, Fuhrer? /ducks

Re:Earth 2.0 candidates (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#19470291)

I think we should make an exception for any aliens capable of destroying us on a whim. I for one don't want to anger anyone capable of kidnapping me and shoving an anal probe up my ass.

God! No more Earth 2.0! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19467997)

Earth 2.0

Please stop. Right now. Seriously. Stop. No more use of "2.0" allowed.

Version (2, Funny)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468011)

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates?

How about making the current one stable first?

That's not how the number system works (3, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468097)

Everyone knows it's the even-numbered versions that are stable...

Re:That's not how the number system works (1)

wokkawokkadoodoo (1084735) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469801)

I think you might be thinking of Star Trek movies.

Re:That's not how the number system works (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19470465)

I mean, who migrates to a new world until at LEAST service pack 2

Re:Version (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468151)

>How about making the current one stable first?

The current one is fine. It was here before us, and will be here long after us.

How about we kick condesending butts like your's into the sun?

Re:Version (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468223)

Earth 2.0 is overrated. Have you thought how inaccessible this new earth will be to people using older extra-solar browsers?

Extra Solar (2, Funny)

Punko (784684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468033)

Every time I see "Extra solar planet" I envision a planet with more than one sun.
I mean "extra salt" = more salt, right ?

Re:Extra Solar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468411)

I mean "extra salt" == more salt, right ?
compilation error: you cannot assign a value to a constant.

Re:Extra Solar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19469213)

There should be a mod for "pedantic". I would personally vote that it be a +1 mod, but considering the vast number of slashdotters who seem to be barely literate, I think the majority would vote against me.

You are correct; it should be "extrasolar", one word. But this is a bunch that doesn't realise that "loose" means "set free".

In other words, ewe muss bee knew hear.

so we can ... (2, Funny)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468079)

Will we ever find Earth 2.0 candidates?
so we can ...
  • continue to wreck this one?
  • declare them part of the axis of evil?
  • export our garbage there ?
  • ... ?

Re:so we can ... (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468445)

This is just a starter planet anyhow....

Re:so we can ... (0)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468519)

Tell you what, you stay here then. The rest of us will move off to another planet and use it all up before moving on, like we're supposed to do. Lifeforms use resources. Generally speaking, successful lifeforms use them really well, then move on to a new source. I'm tired of the human self loathing I am bombarded with. Should we be smarter and try to be cleaner as we use up resources? Sure. Should we feel bad about using them? Not in the least. I know you didn't expound, but your post certainly gave the impression that you think it would be better if we just died off here on Earth and didn't move on to greener pastures.

Re:so we can ... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468593)

There are 6 billion people, we cannot move onto greener pastures. Heck we can't even fling all our bodies into low earth orbit faster than we breed new ones with any sane method. Thats not even talking about trying to send any sizable percentage of the population to another solar system. Humans will remain on Earth for a long time to come and for a long time to come Earth will be the only sustainable place for humans so we better keep it habitable.

I'm sure some lovely genetically engineered cybernetic ally enhanced descendants of ours will colonize the solar system but plain old homo sapiens sapiens are pretty much planet locked.

I guess if we really get tired of the solar system we can stuff a big rocket up Neptune's backside and gravity fling Earth towards some other solar system but thats about all we can do. Granted the centuries+ of utter darkness during the trip would utterly suck.

Re:so we can ... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468761)

Heck we can't even fling all our bodies into low earth orbit faster than we breed new ones with any sane method.

Does a really big potato gun count as sane method?

As for utter darkness during trip, just ignite Neptune and bring it with us.

Re:so we can ... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469041)

The rest of us
... will murder each other on the trip.

missing step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19469515)

Let me add the missing step.

        * continue to wreck this one?
        * declare them part of the axis of evil?
        * export our garbage there ?
        * ... ?
        * PROFIT!!

Earth 2.0, more like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468149)

Thundara [wikipedia.org] , and when we destroy that the catpeople will end up going to Third Earth.

Re:Earth 2.0, more like (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468449)

I always liked New Chicago.

NEW CHICAGO: Inhabited world, Trans-Coalsack Sector, approximately 20 parsecs from Sector Capital. The primary is an F9 yellow star commonly referred to as Beta Hortensis.

The atmosphere is very nearly Earth-normal and breathable without aids or filters. Gravity is 1.08 standard. The planetary radius is 1.05, and mass is 1.21 Earth-standard, indicating a planet of greater than normal density. New Chicago is inclined at 41 degrees with a semi-major axis of 1.06 AU, moderately eccentric. The resulting variations in seasonal temperatures have confined the inhabited areas to a relatively narrow band in the south temperate zone.

There is one moon at normal distance, commonly called Evanston. The origin of the name is obscure.
From The Mote in God's Eye.

now that we can find them (2, Interesting)

niloroth (462586) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468179)

What are we going to do about getting there? Unless we can figure out some way to travel faster than the speed of light, i doubt any human will ever step foot on a planet outside our solar system. I think it far more likely that we will have to terraform one of the ones near us, and even then, we seem to messing this one up way faster than we could even start that process. I think hawkins may be right, 1000 years at most left for us. Although that really may have been a bit optimistic.

Re:now that we can find them (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468455)

There are lots of ways of getting there that we already know about. The first thing is to get a probe launched to some system with something that appears to have strong possibilities for life. This would be potential water signatures, right distance from the star, etc. The first probe will be a difficult and long-term project but will spur many activities.

If you've read stuff by Larry Niven, what started everything was probes. And then hibernation ships that caught up to and passed some probes by.

How long until humans get there? With what we know today, it could be done with a multi-generational ship. But such a ship would likely be outmoded by the time it reached its destination. We're not quite there with hibernation yet, and it would suffer the same problems.

Yes, an faster-than-light drive isn't possible in ordinary space as we know it today. But there are several alternatives that could be explored. Today, we're not even thinking along those lines. Probes returning information in 20 or 30 years that showed extrasolar life would change many things on Earth.

Re:now that we can find them (2, Interesting)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469115)

Your view seems 1/2 true. No person in a single lifetime can make the journey. The goal would be to create a ship large enough to sustain many families, and the resulting offspring of a couple generations would make it.

Standard SF options (2, Interesting)

geek2k5 (882748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19470663)

While we don't have the tech in place to make the trip now, we do have ideas of what could be done. We just need to get some cheap Earth to Orbit launch facilities in place so we can start research and development of the tech needed. (Rutan's SpaceShipX ships. Space elevators. Catapult launch from high altitude sites.)


Once we have a lot of people and equipment in space, we could do such things as build generation ships and take the slow route. Whether powered by Sol base lasers, atomic bombs (Orion), ion propulsion, solar sails or other related tech, we can launch something at choice targets without a lot of extra tech. (It would be more of an engineering problem than a science problem.) It will take a long time to get there and the odds of sending people back will be low if it is attempted.


Now with space based research we might be able to come up with variations on the classic FTL drive, making it possible to do such a trip and make it back in a reasonable amount of time. This would require some basic breakthroughs in science, followed by engineering to make the science usable.


At this time those breakthroughs are mostly pipedreams. But in centuries past, things like steam engines, airplanes and spaceships were the same way. While they may seem simple to us, in years gone by they were future technology that needed a lot of research to make it possible.


Earth 2.0... not! but Space 0.1alpha (1)

ccozan (754085) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468197)

C'mon guys. Accept it. The geek in us should be overjoyed to see/hear such news. After all that SF we've read, after so many Star Trek episodes seen, this team of astronoms, astrophysicists gives you this list _now_. Can you imagine that not being fiction? I can only hope to see during my left lifetime ( let's say 50 years at least) really flying there. Not that i am bored with news from Spirit, Opportunity, Huygens or Cassini, but this give us hope.

I cannot be alone (2, Funny)

blindd0t (855876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468215)

...when I say if it is actually called "Earth 2.0" that I would seek Kevorkian's "assistance." (Joking, of course.) The moniker is used way too much! Instead, I feel we should call the planet "Godzilla" so it would be entertaining to hear people scream its name in excitement upon viewing it for the first time.

Updated stats (2, Interesting)

EvilGrin5000 (951851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468289)

The link to Space.com for the 'most interesting extra-solar planets' has a top 10 list with all the new updated data. The article from the summary said that the fastest planet's orbit around its sun is 1.2 days, where instead the top-10 list shows a recently discovered planet with an orbit of just 10 hours! There is a link that leads to this page http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/061004_fast_ planets.html [space.com] that talks about 'fast planets' and shows the new data.

I recommend going to the top-10 list found at http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/extrasolar_p lanets.html [space.com] just click at the bottom link where it says "Number 10: The First" and off you go! It's actually a really nifty countdown :)

Enjoy!

Maybe Earth 2.0 SP1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19468327)

There's no way I'm going to be the first one using an x.0 planet.

Earth 2.0? (1)

Carik (205890) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468381)

What the heck are you smoking?

How about "earth-like planets"? Or "planets like ours"?

Honestly... phrases like "earth 2.0" and "web 2.0" (not to mention WiFi, which really ought to be pronounced "whiffy") make me wonder about the collective intelligence of the technically inclined.

Re:Earth 2.0? (1)

HolyCrapSCOsux (700114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468745)

The collective intelligence of the planet is static. Thus, as the population climbs, the individual intelleguncs fals quiklee.

Re:Earth 2.0? (2, Informative)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469553)

Its a joke based on the hype around "web 2.0", which everyone knows sounds stupid. Now, laugh.

Re:Earth 2.0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19470081)

What the heck are you smoking?

Anyone who dubs something that isn't software "2.0" is a yuppie; e.g., "web 2.0". As such, the drug in question must be cocaine. But yuppies don't smoke crack, they snort coke.

And God but I agree with you about "WiFi"! What coke-addled moron came up with that one??? It is completely meaningless! It is a play on HiFi, which at least was a shortening of "high fidelity".

But cocaine does that to a person. Be warned, young nerd, lest you drop your engineering courses and take up business or law.

-mcgrew

Space.com... the worst website in the universe? (2, Insightful)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19468903)

God, what a mess the "Top 10 Exoplanets" site is! Bright orange background that is absolutely physically painful to look at, requires 10 click-throughs to read the whole article (when each page has about a paragraph of text), the text itself is in little iframes that require you to scroll to get past the first few sentences - and don't get me started about the content (what little there is). If you haven't visited it... don't.

Better index of extrasolar planets (1)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469393)

http://exoplanet.eu/ [exoplanet.eu]

Earth 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19469495)

I, for one, welcome our new Terrian overlords.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_2_(TV_series) [wikipedia.org]

Looking for Earth 2.0? (2, Interesting)

clovis (4684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469587)

Why do you assume that we are not already on Earth 2.0?

Well... (2, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19469653)

We'd have to work around that nasty speed of light thing first. I seem to recall that it'd take about 450,000 years to reach the one we found that has water, which is 20 light years from here. If that proves impossible then those planets will be forever out of our reach.

There are NO extrasolar planets. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19470057)

The IAU recently cemented the definition of planet, carefully avoiding a useful classification that generalizes to objects outside the solar system. Suffice to say, under the current definition, no extrasolar body is a planet, even if it's a sub-molecular copy of Earth squarely in the habitable zone of a star which purely by coincidence happens to be a spectral twin of Sol.
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