Goldilocks And The Five Planets

Book your travel plans early, the closest one is millions of years of travel time away.

NASA finds dozens of planets that might support life

A catalog of possible planets discovered far out in space includes more than 50 candidates that could possibly support life, NASA scientists said Wednesday. If, as expected, most of the planets are confirmed as real, the Kepler mission — now finishing its second year — would nearly triple the number of planets discovered over the last decade and a half.

With 1,235 planetary candidates surrounding a collective 997 stars in an area 500 to 3,000 light-years away, the tally to date provides a wealth of data for scientists to sift through in search of Earth-like planets.

“This is the first step in understanding the possible distribution of life in our galaxy,” said William Borucki, principal investigator for the Kepler mission at NASA Ames Research Center in the Bay Area’s Moffett Field.

He noted that of the candidate planets, 54 reside in the so-called Goldilocks range — in a “just right” distance from its star to be neither too hot nor too cold to permit liquid water and therefore the presence of life as we know it. Five of those 54 are close to Earth’s size.

The space-based Kepler telescope, which circles the sun trailing Earth’s orbit, observes more than 155,000 stars and every half-hour measures the amount of light they give off. If a planet is orbiting a star, it is detectable because it temporarily blocks a bit of light each time it crosses in front of its star.

See also:
5 Earth-sized planets spied in ‘habitable zone’
NASA spots 54 potentially life-friendly planets
NASA spots 54 potentially life-friendly planets
1,235 alien planets out there?
Kepler space telescope is finding a cornucopia of possible planets
NASA reveals more than 1,200 potential planets
Hunt for planets yields surprises
Kepler space telescope spots five Earth-sized planets in our galaxy
NASA Detects Potential ‘Habitable Zone’ Planets
Kepler: Home Page
Kepler (spacecraft)

Well, this is a great scientific achievement, but I’m not sure what practical value there is in it. Okay, so there’s all these possibly habitable planets, so what?

/we’ll never get there to find out for sure.

We Live In A Deadly Neighborhood

WWAGD? (what will Al Gore do?)

Self destructing Supernova explosion may wipe out earth

A STAR is primed to explode in a blast that could wipe out the Earth, according to American astronomers.

A new study shows the star, called T Pyxidis, is much closer than previously thought at 3,260 light-years away – a short hop in galactic terms.

It is set to self-destruct in an explosion called a supernova with the force of 20 billion billion billion megatons of TNT.

The blast from the thermonuclear explosion could strip away the Earth’s ozone layer that keeps out deadly space radiation, scientists said.

The doomsday scenario was described today by astronomers from Villanova University in Philadelphia.

They said the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite has shown them that T Pyxidis is really two stars, one called a white dwarf that is sucking in gas and steadily growing. When it reaches a critical mass it will blow itself to pieces.

It will become as bright as all the other stars in the galaxy put together and shine like a beacon halfway across the universe.

The experts said the Hubble space telescope photographed the star gearing up for its big bang with a series of smaller blasts or “burps”, called novas.

These explosions came regularly about every 20 years from 1890, but stopped after 1967.

So the next blast is very overdue, said scientists Edward M Sion, Patrick Godon and Timothy McClain at the American Astronomical Society in Washington.

Robin Scagell, vice-president of the UK’s Society for Popular Astronomy, said, “The star may certainly became a supernova soon – but soon could still be a long way off so don’t have nightmares.”

See also:
Supernova star too close for comfort
Nearby T Pyxidis Supernova Could Destroy Life on Earth
T Pyxidis Soon To Be A Type Ia Supernova
Earth ‘to be wiped out’ by supernova explosion
The death star that may kill us
Supernova explosion may wipe out the Earth
Will Earth ‘Be Wiped Out’ by a Supernova?
American Astronomical Society
Society for Popular Astronomy
International Ultraviolet Explorer

Although the odds are literally astronomical, what if T Pyxidis already exploded 3259 years ago? There’s Al Gore global warming and then there’s supernova global warming.

/what do we do, buy lots of carbon credits or really high SPF sunscreen?