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Red Dwarfs May Be Safe Havens For Life

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posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 01:31 PM
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Link (Discovery News)

It's been 15 years since astronomers first discovered a planet beyond the solar system orbiting a normal star. We’ve found lots of unusual exoplanets since then, but nothing where we think life could exist.

In two to three years NASA’s Kepler space telescope will provide the statistical bedrock for estimating the number of Earth clones in the galaxy.

SLIDE SHOW: Top 10 Places To Find Alien Life

SLIDE SHOW: Top 10 Space Stories of the Decade. Can you guess which exoplanet discovery was voted #1?But the Kepler planets will be too far away –- hundreds or thousand of light-years -- for any follow-up observations to be able to determine if they are inhabited. All we will have from the Kepler data is planet mass, diameter, orbital period, and parent star type.

The Earth clones will forever remain a blip on the exoplanet radar when it comes to determining true habitability.

But enough exoplanet research has been done so far that a cautious prediction can be made about where the first inhabited planet will be found.

WIDE ANGLE: The Age of the Exoplanet

The planet will orbit a nearby red dwarf star found in surveys taken within 100 light-years of Earth. Why? Because red dwarfs are much more numerous than sun-like stars and so provide many more targets. Because red dwarfs are dim, planets orbiting them will not be as swamped by starlight and so their light is easier to measure.

The planet will be in the habitable zone around a red dwarf – a sweet spot where liquid water can remain stable on a planet’s surface. The zone will be only a fraction the distance from the cool star as Earth’s habitable zone is from our hotter Sun.


For those planets with orbits tilted edge-on to Earth, detecting them will be straightforward. Astronomers will see if the star dims slightly when the planet passes in front of it, or transits.

A planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf would complete its racetrack orbit in just two weeks. This would allow multiple transits to be observed quickly. Also, because it is so close to the red dwarf, a planet is more likely to be in an orbit aligned along our line of sight, and will be more likely to be discovered transiting.

But there is one big catch. Young red dwarfs have a petulant youth stretching over billions of years. Titanic stellar flares erupt without warning and blast out lethal doses of ultraviolet radiation. Ocean life on a planet may be safe from the UV just a few feet underwater and still extract enough light for photosynthesis. But anything living on the surface could get fried without a liberal coating of Sunscreen 2000.

But we now have a glimmer of hope for red dwarf planets. Astrobiologist Antigona Segura of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City, simulated how a 1985 flare from the nearby red dwarf AD Leonis would have affected a hypothetical Earth-like planet orbiting a dwarf.


He found that UV radiation actually split molecules of oxygen to create more ozone than it destroyed. The simulation made a thicker ozone layer in the planetary atmosphere such that the surface experienced no more radiation than is typical on a sunny day on Earth.

What’s more, as the dwarf settles down to a quiescent existence, there would be very little ultraviolet light and an UV filtering ozone layer would not even be needed.

To be sure, there are other oddball characteristics to worry about. Potentially habitable red dwarf planets may keep one hemisphere locked onto their star due to gravitational tidal forces. The resulting slow rotation may give them anaemic magnetic fields that do not block cosmic rays effectively.

But the best solution is to simply go looking. The light-gathering power of the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2014, would be used to spectroscopically 'sniff' out the exoplanet's atmosphere for chemistry that might be a by-product of organisms on the surface. If we get lucky, and these planets do develop a natural UV shield, then the discovery of an inhabited world may be no more than a decade away.




posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 01:32 PM
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I think the last bit of the article, in particular, is the most interesting.

We could be less than a decade away from the greatest discovery of mankind. Anyone else extremely excited for the new telescope launch in 2014?

I firmly believe we'll learn the truth about extra terrestrial life not by direct contact, but observation.



posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 02:27 PM
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reply to post by SaosinEngaged
 


Sorry, if you don't mind me asking. But do you know the name of this telescope that is expected to go up in 2014? The name?



posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 02:50 PM
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posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 03:00 PM
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There is definitely something going on.

Maybe the enlightenment myth is true.
I've not yet heard of a period where huge discoveries were made in such a short time.

Very cool article



posted on Jul, 5 2010 @ 03:12 PM
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Great topic and hope the thread floats. S&F


a sweet spot where liquid water can remain stable on a planet’s surface


Why? This makes the assumption that the life form is like us - carbon based - does it not. Is that necessarily the case? Possibly not.



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 02:06 PM
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reply to post by SaosinEngaged
 


Looks like the mainstream is playing catch up with EU theory again.

There is only one place in the known universe where unending oceans of water can rain down on a solid body planet.

Inside the plasma coma of a dwarf star:



www.abovetopsecret.com...

However, such a theory obviously leads to the next step - where moons and solid body planets come from.

If one were to accept that gas giants were ejected from stars, the obvious next step is that solid body planets are ejected from gas giants (brown dwarf stars.) This is simply too much for the standard theory to deal with. Physicists would have to accept that element creation in brown dwarfs is only possible with an electric model of stars. An electric model of stars is only possible in an electric universe. That element abundance for big bang models is totally wrong.

You want to know where the Earth’s oceans came from? They came from Saturn. That’s right. Saturn was the brown dwarf star that ejected the Earth, and it was within the plasma coma of Saturn that the Earth received its water.

Brown dwarf stars spectra is a freaking ocean of water. In an electric model of stars, gas giants that are placed outside the influence of the Sun’s heliosphere will light up in a glow discharge (a brown dwarf star). At one point Saturn was located outside of our Sun’s influence and was glowing just like the other brown dwarfs we see in space.

It was within this cool diffuse plasma coma of Saturn that Earth acquired its oceans.

Our moon most likely either came from Saturn or Jupiter as Saturn swung into our solar system. The planetary orbits we see today are not a product of gravity; they are a product of charged bodies being aligned with the electrical field of the Sun. Planets do not collide; they electrically interact with each other until stability of orbits is achieved.

It is only with in this context that a rational explanation of Earth’s moon and oceans can be achieved. All other theories of proto-disks, accumulation models, cometary bombardment, etc.. etc.. etc.. have been clearly disproven by the known laws of physics and our observations of exoplanets.

There is only one theory that meets all observations without violating any laws of physics and agrees with all our observations.

Planets are born – just like everything else in this universe.



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by mnemeth1
 



Even though I am a big fan of PC, just one question. Why is saturn and jupiter the way they are today, if they were infact brown dwarfs(suns) before?



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 02:18 PM
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Originally posted by PuterMan
Great topic and hope the thread floats. S&F


a sweet spot where liquid water can remain stable on a planet’s surface


Why? This makes the assumption that the life form is like us - carbon based - does it not. Is that necessarily the case? Possibly not.


No, but it's logical to start with what we do know and not with what ifs and maybes wouldn't you say? And right now we don't know of any non carbon based lifeforms.



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 04:30 PM
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Originally posted by Maddogkull
reply to post by mnemeth1
 



Even though I am a big fan of PC, just one question. Why is saturn and jupiter the way they are today, if they were infact brown dwarfs(suns) before?


When a brown dwarf enters the heliosphere of the Sun, its energy supply is basically cut off, so it turns into a gas giant.

If we could take one of the gas giants and place it outside the heliosphere of the Sun, it would light up again.

Right now the Sun is hogging all the free electrons so to speak.

Try and imagine the auroras we see over Jupiter and Saturn's poles magnified a thousand fold, covering an area all around the planet. That's a brown dwarf.



[edit on 6-7-2010 by mnemeth1]



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 04:36 PM
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Its another example of their sitting on tons of reversed engineered technology and some that has been directly given with their cosmic black op projects, and enjoying zero point energy since the early 1900s, whilst all the while dangling carrots about discovering something, to distract and keep the masses happy. I am so tired of it. Yes they probable know all this first hand, I've heard some stories of them mining out of our solar system in other systems already. I'm sure they already know that red dwarfs have planets suitable for life around them.

[edit on 6-7-2010 by Unity_99]



posted on Jul, 6 2010 @ 05:48 PM
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reply to post by mnemeth1
 


Why does the sun though take all the electrons? Why and how does saturn spit out the planet earth, mars, venus?? Why would the gas giants light up if they were out of the heliosphere? Why haven't we seen this happen in other solar systems?



posted on Jul, 7 2010 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by mnemeth1
 



That's very interesting stuff, mnemeth. I hadn't ever read some of the theories you put forth before, but I'm certainly going to look into it.



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