Finding A Lot, Yet Is Anybody Home?

December 4, 2011 at 8:26 PM (Uncategorized)


The success of the astronomers at finding extrasolar planets seems to be happening exponentially!  Right now, teams of astronomers are working to locate more and more planets beyond our solar system.  The basis likely is to find out how many are out there which can be found, with the ultimate goal of finding the one, or those, that is/are the most akin to Earth!

The December issue of The Astrophysical Journal Supplement presented details about the recent works done by a Professor John Johnson.  He is an astronomy professor at California Institute of Technology, where the finds of new details about our universe are happening regularly.  Professor Johnson has announced the findings of eighteen more extra-solar planets!

Professor Johnson’s findings have happened through observations at The Keck Observatory, located at Mauna Kea, Hawai’i.  Also, Professor Johnson has additional information from work with The Fairborn Observatory, at Mount Hopkins, Arizona, and The McDonald Observatory of The University of Texas at Austin.

Around three-hundred stars have been observed, with special attention given to A-type main sequence stars.  These stars that have been viewed are older and more massive than The Sun.  The studies indicate that these stars are on the verge of becoming subgiant stars.  Regarding planets, the stellar wobble technique is being used to detect any worlds orbiting these stars.  Eighteen of them have been found to be as massive as Jupiter!

A majority of these newly-found planets are in more distant orbits from their host stars than are the extra-solar planets that have been discovered, previously.  A currently prevailing theory is that planets form from the leftover dust and gas from newly formed stars.  The sizes of these worlds is dependent upon how much of this material remains from the stellar formation.  This distance of planetary formation suggests that there could be room for Earth-like worlds to form and to become situated.

Any worlds that will be homes to life as we recognize it will need to be close to their host stars for the energy that they provide.  Yet, several recently discovered planets are hot Jupiters.  They are so close to their stars that there does not seem to be any room left for an Earth-like world to have been created.  One suggestion is that some stars will swell to sizes that lead to the absorption of inner planets, leaving room only for closely positioned gas giants to remain.

Some of the newly discovered planets seem to be locked into strictly circular orbits of their stars.  This differs from other extrasolar planets that have been found, which range between circular orbits and elliptical orbits.  CalTech Professor Johnson has proposed that stars labeled as class A will not expand to allow for the absorption of hot Jupiter worlds.  This nudges at a suggestion that our known universe could be occupied by a majority of gas giant worlds that have not left any room for Earth-like planets to have formed around other stars.  A very disturbing implication, yet the astronomers continue to search!

Kecknasa.jpg

The W.M. Keck Observatory

SEE THESE SITES!!!

http://media.caltech.edu/press_releases/13476

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-12-caltech-lead-team…planets.html

http://www.zimbio.com/…/Caltech+Led+Team+Astronomers+Finds+18+New

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/315459

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2009/2606149.htm

http://www.hiddenmysteries.org/mysteries/life/db-life.html

http://www.answers.com/topic/drake-equation

Green Planet

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