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Can Living Planets Exist Around Dead Stars?

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posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 06:03 PM
I found this extremely interesting and wanted to share. This is not fact, just a point of view from the writer. I thought this would make an interesting thread for discussion.
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A news release last week reported what may seem self-evident to most planet hunters: white dwarf stars are lousy places to go looking for inhabited worlds. However, we've learned that exoplanets are so eclectic, that we should never say never.

A white dwarf is the burned-out dense core of a sunlike star that has collapsed under gravity. It's conceivable that planets could wind up orbiting close enough to the dwarf to be warmed by its feeble radiation.

But the odds of them being habitable are very unlikely, concludes Rory Barnes of the University of Washington and René Heller of Germany’s Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam in a report in the November edition of Astrobiology. The researchers looked at two planets know to orbit a white dwarf in or near its habitable zone. They predict that tidal heating from their close passage to the white dwarf will desiccate the planets and leave them sterile.

But I'd say not so fast. If there's one thing we've learned from exoplanet discoveries is that we live in a compulsive universe where anything is possible so long as it doesn't violate the laws of physics and chemistry.

One would just assume an advance civilization would just move to a new neighborhood but what if they want to stay? For resources, for nostalgia. Who knows.

One reason not to write off white dwarfs is that, as slowing cooling embers, they release energy for billions of years. Over that vast time-span almost anything can happen.

In the first billion years of its existence the white dwarf cools rapidly and the habitable zone shrinks like a tightening noose. But the cooling rate slows between 4 and 7 billion years, leaving plenty of time for interesting things to happen on a planet.

I find the ideas in the article fascinating. I firmly believe an advance civilization could manipulate their solar system in such ways to extend their existence there.

A super-civilization that has reach a level of social and technological maturity that makes them virtually immortal, could have a long-term plan for surviving through the star's late stages of evolution. They would have to shuffle planet orbits to set up worlds that are livable as the star’s habitable zone shifts outward and then inward as stellar brightness rises and fall.

The final stage might be to target asteroid flybys to exchange momentum with a large icy moon and cause it to fall toward the white dwarf. Alternatively, aliens might fashion a compact Dyson Sphere to encase the dwarf. Such astroengineering would buy the civilization billion of years more to remain in their home star system.

Assuming a habitability niche could be created, living conditions around a simmering white dwarf would be more placid than around a petulant star with its seething electromagnetic storms.

It is interesting to think about an enormously huge problem such as this. What it would take to design a solution to an ultimate survival issue. It really puts our pettier problems into perspective for me.

Thanks for checking this out!

edit on 11/25/2012 by mcx1942 because: wording

edit on 11/25/2012 by mcx1942 because: ditto

posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 06:13 PM
Food for thought and S&F

posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 07:10 PM
reply to post by Spike Spiegle

I have not read that book. I looked up some info on it just now and it sounds like a great read.

Going to try to get my hands on a copy. Thanks!

posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 07:10 PM
reply to post by mcx1942

life adapts, brian aldis had a series of novels named after seasons they were about a world whose orbit was so out of whack evolution was accelerated due to the extremes in temperature

a world inhabited by robots perhaps,
or transhumanist/borg that have succeeded in becoming Homunculii
or an ecumenopolis like Apokolips

posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 07:24 PM
reply to post by mcx1942

It doesn't seem impossible. If the problem was tidal heating, who says all the water has to be on the surface?

It might be possible to build underground caverns to contain water, and enough thermal energy could be generated to light lights and grow plants underground. If tidal heating was the source of warmth and power, there might not be much need from radiation from the star.

But if the civilization is that advanced they may just hop from star to star so they don't have to struggle too much around the dead stars. I wonder if humans will ever be able to do this. Maybe, if we aren't wiped out by an asteroid like the one that killed the dinosaurs, or wiped out by our own tech.

posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 07:29 PM
I've mentioned a similar theory i the past. Planet X being a dwarf star with Nubiru and other planetoids orbiting it in a mini solar system on its long voyage through ours and outside again.

Dwarf Star giving off heat not light could allow life to survive.

The low light levels would make the life forms grow huge eyes so they could see better in the very dim but liveable conditions (greys?)

Its not impossible.

posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 09:17 PM
Indeed, I completely agree with you guys. Thank you for your insights.

This makes me wonder how many Living Planets may be passed over because we are not searching for these type of scenarios. I am in no way an astronomer so my views on theories like this are pretty plain.

I guess in studying the Universe, you only have so much time and so many resources. So it does make sense to focus on the statistical probabilities.

posted on Nov, 25 2012 @ 09:44 PM
There is a lot of energy in the core of Earth itself. We know that here on Earth there are Chemosynthetic ecosystems that generate enormous biomass and diversity. Maybe it is hard for us to imagine intelligent life evolving in the environments associated with chemosynthesis but I hope much of the life we eventually discover is hard to imagine. So yes I would say that in many ways our point of view is still both earth and solar centric, a point of view that has been proven too narrow and assuming time and again.

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 12:57 AM
With breeder reactors, there seems to be enough uranium and thorium in ordinary rock and seawater to supply a civilisation for many billions of years after the star goes belly up.

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 01:33 AM
reply to post by mcx1942

Hi I see this problem with the theory it's stars the size of our sun or round about that that will become white dwarf stars. Earth is in the habitable zone around our sun but when the sun dies it will start to swell and become a Red Giant long before it engulfs the Earth itself life will be dead even if they went underground.

The earth will be left as a burnt cinder that's if there is actually anything left, so any planet close enough to the star before it was a White Dwarf would have been destroyed that's a major problem for the theory don't you think

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 05:10 AM
reply to post by wmd_2008

If orbits were fixed, that would be a problem, but you must have missed this part about how powerful this super-race is...they can change orbits:

Originally posted by mcx1942

They would have to shuffle planet orbits to set up worlds that are livable as the star’s habitable zone shifts outward and then inward as stellar brightness rises and fall.
Now if your argument was that doesn't seem very easy to do, I'd agree, but it seems like they did address the concern you raised.

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 08:15 AM
reply to post by wmd_2008

true but then a white dwarf would provide a stable energy source after all those good times we could guess that a race that is able to survive so long might be handy at finding and exploiting the advantages of any given situation

maybe you could pull back to any icy moon around a favorably positioned gas giant and then use the same moon or comets to effuse your toasted little cinder of a planet with more water

posted on Nov, 26 2012 @ 02:35 PM
I suspect that our concept of "living planet" or "life" (as we know it) is restrictively narrow. Given the enormity, complexity and diversity of the universe, we shouldn't assume that life can only thrive in similar conditions as those we find on Earth; however, I understand the tendency to do so, given that we have nothing to observe in comparison. Or at least none we've been told about.

The environmental conditions on this planet happen to be conducive to carbon-based life. Couldn't life--or intelligence (in the abstract), which is really what we're talking about--be based on some other elemental composition entirely? Physical life forms that don't require atmospheres or liquid water? Life that isn't physical at all?

We're looking for life through our own narrow definition of it. Maybe that's why we haven't found any.

posted on Nov, 27 2012 @ 02:04 AM
There seems to be a bit of a contradiction in terms. The 'habitable' zone is reduced to the point that any planet in this zone would be too hot because of tidal friction? Doesn't that by definition imply that the habitable zone is actually further out? I presume that the temperature on the planet's surface must decrease in a continuous fashion as you are removed from the star. Hence there must be a region where the surface temperature is a nice 25 degrees celsius.

posted on Nov, 27 2012 @ 02:21 AM

Originally posted by iforget
reply to post by wmd_2008

true but then a white dwarf would provide a stable energy source after all those good times we could guess that a race that is able to survive so long might be handy at finding and exploiting the advantages of any given situation

maybe you could pull back to any icy moon around a favorably positioned gas giant and then use the same moon or comets to effuse your toasted little cinder of a planet with more water

There might be nothing left of the planet to dump on! Also if they had the abilities for moving such vast objects they more than likely would have the ability to travel to another system which would probably be easier.

posted on Nov, 27 2012 @ 08:31 PM
reply to post by wmd_2008

Indeed, the advanced civilization would probably just move to a new place. The idea behind the article is what if said civilization wanted to stay in their original system. For who knows what reason, maybe resources. Then what it would take to keep a planet "livable".

If for some reason, you did not want other civilizations to know about your whereabouts. This would be a great way to hide from less advanced civilizations. Like us for instance.

Just some food for thought.

posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 01:44 AM
I wanted to update this thread a bit.

In my searching around on more information I have found some interesting articles, it really got me thinking about what kind of planets are out there as well.

I found this very interesting article by Stephen Hawking

In this talk, I would like to speculate a little, on the development of life in the universe, and in particular, the development of intelligent life. I shall take this to include the human race, even though much of its behaviour through out history, has been pretty stupid, and not calculated to aid the survival of the species. Two questions I shall discuss are, 'What is the probability of life existing else where in the universe?' and, 'How may life develop in the future?'
This is a great article, check it out if your into that kind of stuff.

In the article he mentions intelligent life surviving dead systems.

This mechanical life could also be self-designing. Thus it seems that the external transmission period of evolution, will have been just a very short interlude, between the Darwinian phase, and a biological, or mechanical, self design phase. This is shown on this next diagram, which is not to scale, because there's no way one can show a period of ten thousand years, on the same scale as billions of years. How long the self-design phase will last is open to question. It may be unstable, and life may destroy itself, or get into a dead end. If it does not, it should be able to survive the death of the Sun, in about 5 billion years, by moving to planets around other stars. Most stars will have burnt out in another 15 billion years or so, and the universe will be approaching a state of complete disorder, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But Freeman Dyson has shown that, despite this, life could adapt to the ever-decreasing supply of ordered energy, and therefore could, in principle, continue forever.

That is a very cool thought, I was just thinking surviving on a small scale compared to 15 billion years when I created this thread. Living on forever is an awesome idea and I want to try to expand on that thought in later posts.

In searching around I found some very cool planets we have discovered.

Some other cool articles I have found.

Diamond Planet

Dubbed 55 Cancri e, the rocky world is only twice the size of Earth but has eight times its mass—classifying it as a "super Earth," a new study says. First detected crossing in front of its parent star in 2011, the close-in planet orbits its star in only 18 hours. As a result, surface temperatures reach an uninhabitable 3,900 degrees Fahrenheit (2,150 degrees Celsius)—which, along with carbon, make perfect conditions for creating diamonds.
More Diamond Planet Articles:

A newly discovered alien planet that formed from a dead star is a real diamond in the rough.
The super-high pressure of the planet, which orbits a rapidly pulsing neutron star, has likely caused the carbon within it to crystallize into an actual diamond, a new study suggests.
The composition of the planet, which is about five times the size of Earth, is not its only outstanding feature.

Darkest Planet Found: Coal-Black, It Reflects Almost No Light

Orbiting only about three million miles out from its star, the Jupiter-size gas giant planet, dubbed TrES-2b, is heated to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (980 degrees Celsius). Yet the apparently inky world appears to reflect almost none of the starlight that shines on it, according to a new study.

Planet Found With Comet-like Tail

About 153 light-years from Earth, planet HD 209458b hugs its star so tightly that the planet's atmosphere is likely a scorching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius) an a year passes in just 3.5 days—making Mercury's 88-day orbit seem downright leisurely.

That tight orbit also means this gas giant—meaning it's made primarily of gas—is subjected to blistering forces from its host star, which scientists say are the cause of HD 209458b's comet-like tail.

I will be working on updating this thread with more info.

posted on Dec, 1 2012 @ 12:32 PM
Here is some more info on the idea of civilizations staying around a dead system. As well as other theories floating around out there. Enjoy!

Ultimately this scenario would be plausible, but not exactly a good personal investment since you’d be dead long before you’d be able to reap the benefits. A long term strategy for the survival of a space faring species perhaps, but not a quick fix to toss down colonies and outposts.

Are Aliens Living On Planets Inside Black Holes?

Aliens could conceivably live on planets illuminated by the swirling mass of photons orbiting the singularity of a special type of black hole, according to a new theory.

Certain black holes are charged and rotate, and they possess a region past the event horizon — the point of no return — in which the fabric of spacetime appears normal again. This is called the inner Cauchy horizon.

I want to go into the Universe's life cycle now. I got the idea from my post before. What would the end of reality be like?

Here are some thoughts on that.

Against a background of such all-encompassing finitude, today's apocalyptic visions start to pale. But they remain the more frightening for their proximity: Destruction by asteroid could come tomorrow, but the cosmological Dark Era won't arrive for about 10,000 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years.

The End of the Universe, In Four Acts

The Stelliferous Era

The one we're living in now, full of stars with planets and moons, asteroids and comets, galaxies and clusters. Most stars existing now will burn themselves out over the next 20 or 30 billion years. New stars will cease to form after about 100 trillion years, and the Stelliferous Era will end.

The Degenerate Era

In the wake of stellar burnout, the cosmos is a dimly lit shadow of today's--so dim that, to the human eye (if there were any to see), it would seem black. All that remains are the corpses of former stars and the dead hulks that never became stars: black holes, brown dwarfs, white dwarfs, neutron stars. As the ages roll on, protons decay. Atoms evaporate. After 100 trillion trillion trillion years or so, the universe is nearly unrecognizable--devoid of matter as we know it, and utterly dark.

The Black Hole Era

Defined by one familiar feature, black holes, which continue to devour nearby particles and grow larger. Slowly--very, very slowly--black holes radiate their energy away, until they disappear. At that point, some 100 trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years from now, there's nothing left but a diffuse sea of electrons, positrons, neutrinos, and radiation.

The Dark Era

Possibly the end of it all. Without significant physical processes generating movement or change, the cosmos may exist in that flat, lifeless, lightless state for eternity. Or something totally unforeseen could take place. That far in the future, even the astrophysicist's speculative tools break down. All we know is it won't be a place for Homo sapiens or their descendants if they resemble, however remotely, the life forms of today.

This is an awe inspiring thought. I really wish that I could somehow witness these events. Who knows, maybe I will someday.

I also came across some interesting info on Rouge Planets.

Are we in danger from a rogue planet?

These wandering planets are so dark and distant they are currently essentially impossible to detect using regular techniques, so we don’t know if any are in our galactic neighborhood or not. The only way to get a grip on how close one might be is to look at it in a statistical sense: on average in the galaxy, how many of these planets are there per cubic light year of space? Then we can fiddle with the number a bit to see how far away one of these planets could be.

Thank you for reading.

posted on Jan, 17 2015 @ 05:10 PM
a reply to: mcx1942

I am bringing this thread forward, with new and relevant information:

The idea is that white dwarfs are dying stars, that have already gone thru a red expanding stage, engulfing and destroying nearby planets. But a recent survey of the closest 500 white dwarfs to Earth, found that most have one or more habitable Earth-like planets currently orbiting them close-in.

Where did they come from, if the original close planets had been engulfed and burned up? Nomad planets that wander the galaxy?

posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 04:50 PM
excluding the civilization part; there has been one case of this discovered. a dead star that had a second epoch of planet formation. i remember reading an article about the discovery sometime in the last year.

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