Earth-like Planet Found in Leo

From Astrobiology.net:

Spanish and UCL (University College London) scientists have discovered a possible terrestrial-type planet orbiting a star in the constellation of Leo. The new planet, which lies at a distance of 30 light years from the Earth, has a mass five times that of our planet but is the smallest found to date. One full day on the new planet would be equivalent to three weeks on Earth.

The team of astronomers from the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) working with Dr Jean-Philippe Beaulieu, a visiting astrophysicist at UCL, made the discovery from model predictions of a new exoplanet (meaning planet outside our solar system) orbiting a star in the constellation of Leo. Simulations show that the exoplanet, dubbed GJ 436c, orbits its host star (GJ 436) in only 5.2 Earth days, and is thought to complete a revolution in 4.2 Earth days, compared to the Earth’s revolution of 24 hours and full orbit of 365 days. On Earth, a full day (sunset to sunset) coincides quite closely with the rotation period. On the new planet these two periods do not coincide, since the orbital translation period and the rotation period are very similar. For this reason, a full day on the new planet would take four planetary years, or roughly 22 Earth days.

I’m not a planetary biologist or an astrobiologist by any means, so the next chance I get when I troll around these kind of sites, or when I visit Paul Gilster’s Centauri Dreams, I’m going to ask these genius’ if it’s possible for some kind of life to exist on these planets that orbit their sun so fast. Every planet we detect is found by watching the ‘wobble’ of the target star, which is caused by the gravitational attraction between the star and its’ planets.
I can’t see how it could happen, but you never know. But they’re starting to find smaller and smaller planets, so finding an Earth-type world can’t be too far away.
When that happens, all bets are off.
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8 responses

  1. Hi dad2059…

    What I don’t understand is where they extrapolate that it’s an “earth type planet” based on these orbital factors. The question is did they detect water molecules or any trace of gases that are unique to a benign earth type environment?

    No they did not because these rather small orbiting bodies compared to their stellar companion do not offer an extended image; ie., one who’s disk can be studied from 30 light years no different than we cannot see the disk of our closest neighboring star Alpha Centauri nor the disk of the the distant star in the Leo system.

    All they can see is what is called an Airy disc which is nothing but a diffraction ring pattern from distant stellar bodies, so it’s companion planets are only detected by gravitational perturbations affecting the star itself with everything else about the planet nothing but an astrobiologits/exobiologists fantasy.

    I’m sure there are many earth type planets with water and possibly similar environments as found throughout earth’s long history.
    If we had the ability to travel to distant systems at faster than light speed so we could make a round trip journey in a short period of time as shown on Star Trek etc., I’m sure we’d find many worlds devoid of sapient life, but teaming with lifeforms at various stages of evolution from simple ocean algae, to dinosaurid type creatures plodding about. We’d also find worlds with traces of defunct civilizatons with it’s people long since departed or having failed as a race of beings no different than humans in time.

    We’re not ready for such adventures. The human race is a scabrous, treacherous, warring lot that has no business traveling anywhere beyond the beltway so-to-speak. Until we can clean up our act on planet earth, taking care of our communal spaceship in a much more responsible manner, learning how to live in peace, then we have no place among the stars…period!

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. The human race is a scabrous, treacherous, warring lot that has no business traveling anywhere beyond the beltway so-to-speak.

    Wow, pretty harsh indictment Carl!

    I agree with that accessment only because it’s true, for the most part.

    But you know I believe mankind is being manipulated through his ‘baser’ emotions and qualities by an elitist cult determined to control human beings for their own personal/familial- power/positions.

    I think if human beings were given adequate resources to which their individual potential can come through instead of the survival of the fittest and dog eat dog world we’re trapped in, we could experience a Renaissance that would rival the classical one.

    Would we all become moral? No. But I think most people if given a choice would try to do good instead of evil. Most despots, especially in Africa, come from a background of poverty and destitution, spending most of their lives trying to prevent themselves from going back to such conditions, Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe being recent examples.

    Believe me Carl, I have my periods of doubt too, but mankind deserves a chance to reach the stars, not reduced to a plantation of slaves or die an ignoble death.

  3. Hi dad2059…

    Possibly my indictment sounds harsh but I’ll use an example.

    A short while back China intercepted one of their satellites and destroyed it with a missile. They made a statement that they can “shoot-down” satellites.

    Then recently our mattoids used the excuse that a satellite in its final stages of orbital decay and due to the possibility of hazardous fuel remnants in its tanks they demonstrated that we too can shoot down orbiting “space ducks”… : |

    Earthmen are alway shooting something no? They like to put holes in things with high speed projectiles and enjoy the thrill of watching things explode. Something is drastically wrong with us as a race of beings.

    Underlying all the feelgood space programs is an ugly MIC agenda. There’s no hope whatsoever. I see the nuclear countdown clock now just 59 seconds to midnight; ie., in sweephand mode… !

    China is wasting creative energy, yuan and time on weaponizing space as evidently we are too. So if the Chinese make to the moon and possibly us too with more borrowed money, then what? We’ll have a shoot’em up on the moon too when things go sour on earth.

    The moon is already littered with junk from past missions sponsored by the U.S. and Russia. So now we are headin’ out to leave lotsa junk elsewhere as we do on earth.

    China is suffering from mega-pollution so instead of spending their energy and intellectual efforts on creating a eco-smart China from the getgo they are generating most of their power with “coal”…?! Coal can be turned into a clean source of fuel both a liquid and gas using Fischer-Tropsche coal gasificaton technology, but are they doing so…nope! They just blast pelletized coal into the belly of their fiery gen-beasts sooting up the Chinese atmosphere and even the world for that matter. Chinese air pollution is detectable in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. ?! It’s so bad that businessmen in the know will never rent a room above the 10th floor in most major Chinese cities due to the pollution. Why, because you can’t see anything out the windows…say what?

    But wait, there’s more… the Chinese wanna to go to the moon…!? #-O

    So again, to me, earthmen are nothing but zoo chimps armed with machine guns, safety off, drunk on their self-imagined progress, and are always cruisin’ for trouble…!

    *****
    Little alien girl: ” Daddy will you take me to the earth today?”

    Alien father: “I’m sorry little one, but it’s simply too dangerous down there. We never know when they’ll have a violent episode and we’ll barely escape with our lives or have to tranq them with our immobilizer beams to do so.” … :))

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. True enough, but again I reiterate generations of conditioning and programming by elitists pitting peoples and governments against each other and arming both sides to maintain their controls through megabanks and drug lords are the primary causes of mayhem.

    I’ll give you an example; Do you have the urge to rob, kill or maim in any way your neighbor? Friends? Family? Anybody else? No?

    Well, neither do I. Although I’ll admit a few of those things I considered a few times concerning various individuals during my life. But I never acted upon them. And I’m sure most people wouldn’t.

    Government and culture were invented to control people and to make them serve a minority of individuals who consider themselves ‘God’, ‘gods’ or a representative(s) of said ‘gods’. We have the descendents of these people running things today.

    The Communist technocrats in China have the backing of the Order and soon will be the Super-power of the 21st Century. The U.S. has HAARP weather control technology and China will demonstrate its own weather control tech at the Olympics this summer by blowing the pollution and acid rain out into the ocean, they’ve already said that. So weather control and space weapons are going to be the new ‘balance of terror’ instead of nukes? Yes, it is sad that things seem to be shaping up that way, but the solution is to rid ourselves of the elitist evil, not extinction of us all.

    One thing I’ve noticed, although you and Highwayman have differing philosophies, both of you have come to the conclusion that the human race is unredeemably evil in all aspects. Except he looks at things through the eyes of a Christian and feels humanity is only redeemed through Christ, and you feel we’re an evil infecting Gaia, needing to be purged.

    Interesting. Dogma is dogma and ‘ism’ is ‘ism’.

  5. Hi dad2059 et. al. …

    My apologies if I depress folks with my analysis, but that’s the way I see things relative to the incredible planetary abuse that I witness on a daily basis. All the emerging market nations are scrambling to emulate the U.S. lifestyle. It’s impossible without wars breaking out over who controls the resources from oil, timber, to agricultural lands. The U.S. is headed to become an agrarian nation again as we fall behind in the ability to finance hi-tech MIC welfare projects. So regardless of all the distracting gadgets that are available, people’s of the world including smug Westerners will soon have to refocus on having enough food, potable water and energy for just the daily processes of maintaining their existence.

    *****

    Now I thought I’d refocus on the article; ie., an earthlike planet discovered in the Leo constellation at about 33 ly distance. So I thought I’d dig up some more information about the the host star which turns out to be Gliese GJ436 a “red-dwarf” in the main sequence of stars.

    This means it is a very old, several billion years older than our star and is getting ever cooler over the ages eventually becoming a “brown dwarf”. Even the hottest red dwarf only puts out 10 percent of the light and heat energy of the sun. So living on this world would probably be like living under a reddish infra-red heat lamp. They also state the new planet is a rocky world rather than icey in nature. I propose that even if this world is similar to earth being 50 percent larger that it has no atmosphere, long since burned off when this sun was much younger and went through some expansive stages as it headed towards senescence (old age). It’s just another rock orbiting a senior citizen sun.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliese_436
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dwarf

    Note: Our sun is a main sequence type G Yellow dwarf star.

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. I’m not an astronomer, but I find the subject interesting. When I need some astronomy lessons, I go to Paul Gilster’s Centauri Dreams blog.

    From what I understand about red dwarfs, they may only emit 10% the light of a G-type star, but they live like 10x longer. If it has an Earth-like world, it’ll be tidal locked, orbiting closely to its sun and have interesting biology. Any plant won’t be green because of the red sun’s spectrum, they’ll be black, or close to it.

    Brown dwarfs, any world with a potential biology will only be a little warmer than Europa or Enceladus.

  7. Hi dad2059…

    I guess a “brown dwarf” would make a good foot-warmer…no?! :))

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. Scifi author Karl Schroeder creates an entire culture centered around brown dwarf stars in a couple of his works. Quite a unique take. His link is in the side bar.

    And yes, they’re little better than foot-warmers! LOL!

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