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Here's a Real Surprise.  Venus isn't a boiling hot cauldron all over the planet as once thought.  

ESA Finds a Frigid Surprise Hiding at Venus' Poles Venus may be boiling hot, but its poles are very, very cold.

Quote:Thanks to a thick layer of cloud cover trapping in heat, Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, with temperatures boiling over at 850 degrees Fahrenheit (454 C). But in a study published last week in Nature Physics, the European Space Agency found something surprising at the planet’s poles: temperatures more frigid than anywhere on Earth.

Even though ESA lost contact with the Venus Express probe two years ago after it ran out of fuel, the agency is still working through the data it returned. As the first spacecraft to explore our nearest neighbor since 1989’s Magellan mission, the probe revealed much about that world. Many of the observations were made through plunging the craft into the atmosphere above the poles, where the probe encountered an atmosphere thinner than previously modeled, and filled with choppy atmospheric gravity waves, ripples caused by transfers of momentum between layers in the atmosphere.

[Image: venus_uv1.jpg?w=279&h=300]
Good news for folks searching for possible habitable planets.  We may have discovered a winner here.

Three Planets Found Orbiting Nearby Star

[Image: eso1615e.jpg]
This picture shows the Sun and the ultracool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 to scale. The faint star has only 11% of the diameter of the sun and is much redder in colour.

Quote:Astronomers have discovered three planets orbiting the habitable zone of an ultra-cool dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth.
The discovery, reported today in Nature, is the first evidence supporting the hypothesis that these very low-mass and low-temperature stars should have Earth-sized or smaller planets orbiting them.

The planets, which are the size of Venus and Earth, are currently the best places to look for life outside our solar system, said the team of researchers led by astronomer Michaël Gillon, from the University of Liege in Belgium.

“Systems around these tiny stars are the only places where we can detect life on an Earth-sized exoplanet with our current technology,” Gillon said. “So if we want to find life elsewhere in the universe, this is where we should start to look.”

The planets were found almost by accident, as an international group of astronomers were conducting a test survey of an ultra-cool dwarf star labelled TRAPPIST-1, which lies in the constellation of Aquarius.

The star, TRAPPIST-1, is about the size of Jupiter but is one thousand times dimmer than our Sun and shines in the much cooler infrared part of the light spectrum.

Orbiting it are three planets; two orbiting within 1.1 to 1.5 per cent of the distance between the Earth and the Sun and passing in front of the star every one to two days.
“Because the star is so faint, so small and cold, it emits much less photons so these planets should have temperatures which are quite similar to Venus,” Gillon said.

A third planet was found further out from the star but its orbit is less well-characterised, with researchers estimating that it passes in front of the star anywhere from every four to 72 days.

This distance puts the third planet in the middle of the so-called “Goldilocks Zone” of habitability, which means it could have a temperature range similar to that found on Earth, Gillon said.

I did some checking on Wikipedia, and one thing everyone is talking about is misleading.   The news states that this red dwarf, which is an "M8" class star, is about the size of Jupiter.  This leads everyone to think of the orbits of this planet, but there is a real difference here.  While Jupiter is huge by planetary standards, it is not nearly the mass of the star mentioned here.  In fact, this red dwarf has 83.8048±9.428 times the mass of Jupiter.  This means the planets must be much further out than the Jupiter satellites, in order for them to be life friendly.  

The two closest will most certainly be tidally locked, meaning they will not revolve.  This pretty much eliminates them from a habital place to live.  The third one may not be tidally locked, which would be a real plus.  The other big question would be just how long its day was.  The longer the planet takes to revolve, the greater the chance of temperature fluctuations.  

Thirty nine light years is relatively close by, but trying to get to it, even if we had FTL drive would still take months.  

ESOcast 83: Ultracool Dwarf with Planets
The belgian team named the telescope instrument after a the traditional belgian monastery beer.
(... and found a way to turn it into an acronyme) S3
[Image: trappistes.jpg]
How do they know the size of a red dwarf 40 LY away? Or even its mass? Or is it that Jupiter is a very light planet?

And, why do you think a locked planet wouldn't be habitable? The climate may be very different, but the only thing you need is a region on the planet with the right temperature. I think in the twilight zone, the temperature could be good if the planet is rather close, and right in the middle of the illuminated side if the planet is rather far.

The two most important things are surface gravity and atmosphere. If the surface gravity is significantly higher than on Earth it will be very difficult for humans to live normaly or for spacecrafts to land safely. And if there is no or almost no atmosphere, like on Mars, no way you can breath there.

Most of the stars in our region are dwarfs. There are probably many more dwarfs than stars like our sun. The Barnart star is ten times closer than the Trappist star. But nobody has ever detected any planet around it.
(05-05-2016, 04:06 PM)Fredledingue Wrote: [ -> ]How do they know the size of a red dwarf 40 LY away? Or even its mass? Or is it that Jupiter is a very light planet?

To determine the size, or mass, of a star, first distance must be determined via Parallax triangulation. The traditional way has been the measurement of of binary eclipses, since most star systems are two or three star systems.

Now, the latest technique is called stellar interferometry, and I'm not up to speed on this system which has been in use for about a decade now. You'll have to look it up, and if physics is your thing, you should be able to make it gel for you. Spiteful

Quote:And, why do you think a locked planet wouldn't be habitable? The climate may be very different, but the only thing you need is a region on the planet with the right temperature. I think in the twilight zone, the temperature could be good if the planet is rather close, and right in the middle of the illuminated side if the planet is rather far.

The two most important things are surface gravity and atmosphere. If the surface gravity is significantly higher than on Earth it will be very difficult for humans to live normaly or for spacecrafts to land safely. And if there is no or almost no atmosphere, like on Mars, no way you can breath there.

A planet that is tidally locked has a distinct disadvantage for life. First, the back half of the planet is never facing the sun, so it will be around absolute zero. The front half will be continually exposed to the sun's light. But the center section will have the most radiation and will be the hottest, and not suitable. That leaves the outer ring, which is slanted away from sun. But it will almost certainly be blessed with huge storms where the swirling heat will be in contact with the cold from the rear of the planet. Definitely not a nice place to set up stakes.

Quote:Most of the stars in our region are dwarfs. There are probably many more dwarfs than stars like our sun. The Barnart star is ten times closer than the Trappist star. But nobody has ever detected any planet around it.

Fred, our star is also a dwarf, a yellow dwarf(G class). The ones in the article are red dwarfs(M class), which are much smaller and radiated on a spectrum that is different from ours. They do not generate the heat ours does. And due to its lesser mass, the "Goldylocks Zone" will be much closer to the star. And the closer it is, the greater the chances of it being tidally locked. My guess is that the best bet for a red dwarf will be from the ones with a planet on the outer edge of the life zone, which means it will be cooler than warm.

Perhaps the very best chance of life will come from the orange dwarf(K class) stars that are between the G and M classes. They are more stable, throw out less harmful radiation, and live two to three times longer than our G2 star. They don't have the mass of ours, but enough to allow for greater orbital distance. Plus, there are about three to four time more of these stars than our G class stars.
As I mentioned on another thread, I really do think the best hope for our species' development is for us to create our own large habitats in space.  The O'Neill cylinder is the ideal way to create a sizable, and also a very efficient, habitat that have a nice atmosphere inside, AND as many outer layers as desired.  Once we perfect the process of taking carbon and converting it into a very strong and light construction material, the universe is the limit.

I've done some calculating on the possibilities, and they are very enticing.  Let's use Kilometers, since you are most familiar with metric.  Take a 25K diameter sphere.  That's a little over 15 miles in diameter.   That means that the center of the circle will be about as high as the highest flying aircraft of today, so there is a huge inner atmosphere, with a lot of curved surface to admire before the mist and clouds obscure the rest.

So, take a 25k diameter cylinder, and make it ideally four times longer, which would be 100K long.  Now, that's just the atmosphere within the cylinder.  The outer shell could start out being 1.5k, which is close to a mile thick.  

Now, let's be generous and allow for an openness that will allow for parks, forests, multiple story buildings, and other things which would give a sense of openness.  The length of a soccer field is 100-110m, so lets use that.  Trees will never be able to grow that tall, even in lower gravity,  so there would be distance to even use light aircraft under the light panels covering the roof of each floor.  

Ok, that's 100-110m.  Add the floor, which would consist of maintenance, utilities, subways, malls, restaurants, and other living areas in addition to the area on the surface of the main floor.  Lots of space.  So the floor could consist of another 40m, and it could have two or three spacious levels.  Again, lots of room.  And if you use that as a base, plug it into the 1.5k outer shell, that means there could be 10 very spacious levels running around the outer shell of the cylinder that is 25k + 1.5k + 1.5k, for a total diameter of 28ks for the diameter of the cylinder.  That's just a little over 17 miles in diameter.  

Now, that alone looks pretty big, but not all that big, when looking at grand projects.  BUT lets calculate the square kilometers/miles of surface space for human living, which will include an overabundance of outdoor living, parks, forests, and even regular neighborhood communities, not counting the layers within the floor sections.  

First, lets take the inner surface area, which will be 25Ks diameter X 100Ks length.  Doing the math, that means the circumference of the inner surface will be "Pi X Diameter" (3.14 x 25) = 78.5 kilometers around the inside of the sphere.  Now multiply that 78.5 times the length of the cylinder, and you come up with 7,850 square kilometers, or just a hair over 3000 square miles.  

But remember, there are ten main layers within the outer shell.  which will have an even greater diameter.  But let's just go with the first inner measurement.  So,.......multiply the 7,850 sq km by a factor of 10, and you get a total of 78,500 sq km, or 30,309 sq miles.   Do you see what I am getting at here?  Can you imagine the huge size of the living space of just one medium sized O'Neill Cylinder?  

Now, here is something for you to compare this area with.  My original home state of South Carolina is 32,020 sq miles, or 82,931 sq km.  Your home of Belgium is 11,787 sq miles, or 30,528 sq km.   That means the total livable space of the O'Neill cylinder will be over 2.57 times the total area of Belgium!  Imagine that?!  And remember, that would be just the base amount.  If we counted all the layers of each floor, which would also contain livable space, it would be even more.  

Now, lets go a step further.  How many of these single size O'Neill cylinders could be constructed in space, where humans could live comfortably, enjoy the fruits of this solar system's immense wealth, and never have to worry about having to scratch and scrape on mars, or the moon, or other heavenly bodies that would be livable if you only closed your eyes and speculated on odds of them being just right for human habitation?   And who says the cylinders have to be that one size.  Why not even larger?  Or why not smaller?   The sky space is the limit.  S22

Also, with the ability to construct huge solar collectors, the collected energy could be transfered to the habitat, and every ceiling of the ten main floors, plus the center of the inner atmosphere, could use that energy to create sunlight for us to use in the daytime hours.  With the coming of evening, the lights could be slowed down and the energy used elsewhere, or stored for later.  The sun's energy would alway be there for harvesting.  S5

Oh, and one other thing.  If humans manage to harness the force of gravity, then we could add to the spin of the cylinder to produce a more earthlike gravity well in each cylinder.  At least on the outer section.  The further one moved in toward the center of the sphere, the less the gravity.  BUT, gravity isn't just one way. If the outer skin had a near 1G gravitational pull, it would also have the same pull in the other direction.  We could create another outer atmosphere on the outside of the cylinder, which could conceivably have an atmosphere, clouds, and with an electro-magnetic force, create a safe outer surface for living there as well.  

Imagine that?  And that would be an extra Plus for the whole thing.  S22
Planet 9 News: It appears the science world of astronomy is hot with the possibility of a ninth planet: not only a Real planet, but an exo-planet. In other words, Planet 9.

And here's the latest: Theft behind Planet 9 in our solar system

The interesting point is that all of our original planets will be following the elliptical plane of the solar system. But a hitch-hiker will almost certainly not be doing so. The image below shows what this means with relation to the other bodies in our system.

Personally, I'm still holding out for the "Binary Sun" idea, where there is a brown dwarf causing all this confusion. But then again, it is just possible we may have both going on at the same time, since a brown dwarf would have to be even further out. Keeping my fingers crossed.

[Image: 320px-Planet_Nine_animation.gif]

A new 9th planet for the solar system?
A Supernova in Fifteen Seconds

[Image: kOvJz4L.gif]
The stars over castle valley

[Image: cG6BXdQ.gif]
Gravitational Waves Hit The Late Show

https://www.youtube.com/v/ajZojAwfEbs
Lightning seen from space

[Image: 5XK0pnt.gif]
Here is something that almost everyone misconstrues, regarding scale.  

[Image: gk9nSeI.gif]
This is just too much fun: have to stop it.

[Image: 9An6xzf.gif]
(06-10-2016, 02:45 PM)John L Wrote: [ -> ]Here is something that almost everyone misconstrues, regarding scale.  

[Image: gk9nSeI.gif]
True. Most poeple have no idea how empty the cosmos is and how far way objects are.
I once calculated that if I represented the moon as a grain of raisin one meter from Earth, as a chessnut, the sun, as an orange would be 100m away and Alpha Centoris, a lemon, 2000 km away.
I made a post last year, on this very thread, located right here.  And in it I had noted something quite unusual about the inner planet's orbits with relation to each other.  

This attachment shows, among many things, the closest real distance between the nearest point in their elliptical orbits with relation to their neighbors.  

[Image: attachment.php?aid=336]

In other words, the theoretically closest distance between the inner planets are:

Quote:1. Mercury - Venus closest point: 23,420,000 miles

2. Venus - Earth closest point: 23,730,000 miles

3. Earth - Mars closest point: 33,890,000 miles

4. Mars - Asteroid Belt(Ceres) closest point: 81,900,000 miles

5. Asteroid Belt(Ceres) - Jupiter: 182,600,000 miles

The minimal distances between Mercury, Venus, and Earth, are all in the 23 million miles range. But the minimal distance between Earth and Mars is 33 million miles. Why the extra ten million miles? It doesn't make sense. Something doesn't add up. And add the minimal distance between mars and the Asteroid Belt, it is 81 million miles.

Theoretically, there is room for one or even two rocky planets with plenty of room to spare,...before entering the asteroid belt. Why is this so, if the distances between the first three inner rocky planets is an even 23 million miles?
Mars follows the Titius-Bode Law prediction of its spacing. Why that should be, we do not know. But perhaps the further out from the sun you go, the greater the distances must be for some astrophysical reason. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Satan, and Uranus seem to conform to Titius-Bode. Neptune does not. Perhaps its orbit was interfered with at some time in the past.

Of course, the main anomaly is the unaccountably large space between Mars and Jupiter, where in fact the asteroid belt is widely distributed. Some Superman fans like to say it used to be Krypton. The late James P. Hogan postulated a planet Minerva, which got blown up in a war. Experts determined to be wet blankets say maybe the asteroid belt was simply a planet that did not form. Where is the fun in believing that? The largest asteroid is Ceres, which is about the size of Texas, and does not really qualify as a planet.
Let me form the question differently: Venus is at the middle distance between Mercury and Earth. Does that make a law for all the other planets in our Solar system?
(06-14-2016, 04:07 PM)Fredledingue Wrote: [ -> ]Let me form the question differently: Venus is at the middle distance between Mercury and Earth. Does that make a law for all the other planets in our Solar system?

Fred, that is looking at "effect", and not at "cause". If this exists in the inner most three rocky planets, then why isn't it working for the fourth rocky planet?

Now, if the distances had been.....

1. Mercury - Venus closest point: 23,000,000 miles

2. Venus - Earth closest point: 28,000,000 miles

3. Earth - Mars closest point: 33,000,000 miles

4. Mars - Asteroid Belt(Ceres) closest point: 38,000,000 miles

.....then I could see a correlation where an increase of 5 million miles occurred. But it didn't. The main question is Why? What would cause this?
Well, because coincidentaly it worked for the 3 first planets and not for the next ones. Why do you expect regularity in the cosmos?
You can always find 3 aligned objects in space, stars, galaxies, asteroids, whatever and then wondering why others are not aligned with them. But the rule is more that nothing is aligned in an orderly manner and when you find a sequence it's the product of randomness.
Like throwing dices 3 times and get 1, 2 , 3 and then wondering why, for god sake, you didn't get 4 the 4rth time...

Just look at the stars in the sky: Do you see a regular sequence anywhere?
(06-15-2016, 07:02 PM)Fredledingue Wrote: [ -> ]Well, because coincidentaly it worked for the 3 first planets and not for the next ones. Why do you expect regularity in the cosmos?
You can always find 3 aligned objects in space, stars, galaxies, asteroids, whatever and then wondering why others are not aligned with them. But the rule is more that nothing is aligned in an orderly manner and when you find a sequence it's the product of randomness.
Like throwing dices 3 times and get 1, 2 , 3 and then wondering why, for god sake, you didn't get 4 the 4rth time...

Just look at the stars in the sky: Do you see a regular sequence anywhere?

Fred, that extra 10,000,000 miles difference really does mean something to me. As I have written before, I believe the key to the future in space involves out populating the solar system first, because without a FTL drive, or a wormhole/fold-point, we are going to be stuck here. But there is so much natural resources available in the system that the solar system can support trillions of people, and do so in style.

But there are really a limited number of places where we can set up house and do so stably. One of them is the earth's orbital system, along with the moon and its Legrange Points ( L4 L5 ), also known as Trojan Points. We could house a lot of habitats there starting with beyond our geo-stationary orbit and even out a bit beyond the moon. Lots of stable orbits.

And there are also the L4, L5 Legrange points for Venus, earth, mars, and the the gas giants. That's an awful lot of space, but if we are going to have stable orbits, we need to have lots of orbital space available. And that's where that extra 10,000,000 miles between earth and mars can really come in handy. Humans would have a sure fire place where there could be thousands of stable orbits for habitats. No telling how many stable orbiting habitats we could accommodate in that 10,000,000 miles of extra space.

This would almost certainly be a Huge boon to humans living in space. As for colonies on other planets, such as mars, or the moon, that will be only secondary. After all, who wants to live on a place with only a tiny gravity, and little natural habitat housing an atmosphere. With a large O'Neille cylinder, the center of the sphere could be ten, fifteen, twenty miles, or even more. Rotating the cylinder would automatically produce good gravity, and no worries about living like cockroaches. That 10,000,000 mile freebie would be a one tremendous bonus, because the available sunlight would be just a tiny bit less than what we are getting. Lots of free energy, decent orbital years, and a bunch of other pluses.

And all due to that extra space that shouldn't really be there. That's why I am so curious about the "why" it is there. Now, granted, there is also a large space between mars and the asteroid belt, which is even bigger, but it is further away from the sun, and that means less available sunlight energy.

Do you see why I am so curious about this?
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