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 Post subject: Planet Finding and WASPs
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:57 pm 
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Hi folks,

A few quotes from this Universe Today piece:
Quote:
The discovery of 1235 new extrasolar planet candidates was announced today (Feb.2) by NASA and Kepler scientists at a media briefing. 68 of these planet candidates are Earth-sized. Another 288 are Super-Earth-size, 662 are Neptune-size and 165 are Jupiter-size. Most of these candidates orbit stars like our sun.

Even more significant is that 54 of the planet candidates are located within the ‘habitable zone’ of their host stars and 5 of those are Earth-sized. Before today we knew of exactly ZERO Earth-sized planets within the habitable zone. Now there are 5.

Quote:
These remarkable new planet discoveries are based on observations from only the first four months of Kepler’s telescopic operations – May 12, 2009 to Sept. 17, 2009. The space based observatory continuously monitors more than 156,000 stars using 42 CCD detectors with a field of view that covers only 1/400 of the sky.

By the way, there's a YouTube video all about life elsewhere. Click on the picture to open the video in a new page/tab:
    Image
Nice lippy. :P Won't win any Grammys but it gets several facts across. 8)


    Image
Hmm, getting any old 42 CCD detectors together and some optics to put in front of them wouldn't be too difficult but getting the quality of data needed might be a problem, especially at the bottom of a turbulent atmosphere, and somehow I don't think they'd perform quite so well as those in the picture, fabricated by e2v. Fantasy aside, five Earth sized planets in the habitable zone out of 156,000 stars may not sound like much but after just four months of observation the chances are that or own Earth would be missed and the probability that the target solar system orbits line up so that any planets actually transit the face of the star is also really small, as illustrated by even our own Mercury and Venus usually failing to do so.

Anyway, the next time you look up at a star filled sky maybe it'll feel just a little different. Some of those stars you are seeing may be just the tiniest bit dimmer than usual because an Earth sized planet in the habitable zone is passing between that star and your eye. :wink:

On a final note, this isn't entirely off-topic for the forum as the SuperWASP project is using Canon 200mm f/1.8 lenses in front of back-illuminated CCD sensors:
    Image
Bob.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:09 pm 
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Nice read, thanks for sharing.

One thing it did make me think about was if we are struggling to find earth like planets, for various factors, then we could speculate that the same is true for alien life i.e. they have missed us, so to speak......hmmmmm

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Hi Lee,

We really shouldn't proceed down this line as it's way off-topic for a camera forum but I recently ran the following assumptions in this Drake Equation simulator:
    Assumptions:

  • Rate of formation of suitable stars in our galaxy (aggregate number) = 10 billion
  • Percentage of those stars with planets = 30%
  • Number of planets per star that could sustain life like earth = 0.33
  • Percentage of those planets where life actually develops = 80%
  • Percentage of those planets with intelligent life = 0.01%
  • Percentage of planets with intelligent life where technology develop = 100%
  • "Lifetime" of communicating civilizations = 100,000 years.

    I chose a very low "percentage of those planets with intelligent life" as it's my personal belief that a large moon is needed to stabilise a planet's axis, so enabling higher lifeforms to be able to evolve and survive.
Not a totally unreasonable set of assumptions, I hope, but I was shocked to find that they predict the number of communicative civilizations to be only 0.792. Taken simplistically that implies we could be looking for a very long time. :evil:

Update: But on the flip side it implies there's a huge amount of unclaimed real estate out there. :twisted:

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:34 pm 
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Wow, thats really surprising, and quite scary.

Getting back OT I would love to sling a load of high end lenses together and CCD Chips to see what I can get, lol. Not a lot I reckon.

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