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Old 09-30-2010, 03:53 AM   #1
IgnoreThisBarrel
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Big Grin Gliese 581g

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/0..._n_744635.html

What do the Orbitnauts think?

I admit my second thought was, "The Gliese 581 system needs to be updated as soon as possible!"

Concerning the planet. Awesome discovery, I mean sure it's tidally locked, but still. Really cool. (No pun intended)

I can't wait until we have measurements of its orbit. Maybe a spectroscopic analysis of its atmosphere, but I don't know if that would be possible (possibility for that depends on inclination relative to our Sun, right?).

Last edited by IgnoreThisBarrel; 09-30-2010 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:47 AM   #2
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Tidally locked could be a good thing:
Quote:
This locked configuration helps to stabilize the planet's surface climate, Vogt said.

"Any emerging life forms would have a wide range of stable climates to choose from and to evolve around, depending on their longitude," Vogt said, suggesting that life forms that like it hot would just scoot toward the light side of that line while forms with polar-bear-like preferences would move toward the dark side.

Between blazing heat on the star-facing side and freezing cold on the dark side, the average surface temperature may range from 24 degrees below zero to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 31 to minus 12 degrees Celsius), the researchers said.
http://www.space.com/scienceastronom...le-100929.html

EDIT: FWIW, from what I can find about the physical size, surface gravity would range from 1.5g to 2.8g
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:07 AM   #3
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How can they determine it is tidally locked by just looking at the wobbles of the star ?
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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Posted yesterday on the ChatBox:
NASA and NSF-Funded Research Finds First Potentially Habitable Exoplanet.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:13 AM   #5
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Looks like i'm goin to be addinig a planet to my Gliese 581 system! (there is another planet f). What a happy day! The orbit is measured so I will update ASAP.

Last edited by donatelo200; 09-30-2010 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
T.Neo
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This is awesome!

This is the discovery I've been waiting for, for pretty much my whole life.

Yes... I will have to update my Gliese 581 system... not only do we have a potentially habitable planet that is the most earthlike to date, we have another planet discovery, planet f! Better get to work... if I can find the time...

Tidal locking is not too much of a problem, anyway. But it will lead to very alien climate patterns.

I'm so happy! New exoplanet! So happy...
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:29 AM   #7
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Hey any idea in how i could make a massive hurricain-like storm on the day side?
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:40 AM   #8
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I think the hurricane-like storm theory was proved incorrect at one time or the other... I'm sure there would be a good deal of cloud cover at the most sunward point, not to mention storms spalling off from it and bringing rain towards the terminator...
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:01 PM   #9
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Very interesting, but still, the temps seems a bit low. I guess a strong atmospheric pressure is needed to keep water liquid at these temps. Which seems possible since the planet is significantly more massive than Earth : it's gravity can probably keep a dense atmosphere.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:34 PM   #10
T.Neo
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It is quite possible to have a thick atmosphere with a planet similar in mass to the Earth... Venus is a good example.

The average temperature figures are cold, but one must remember that the climate on this planet is totally alien to what we have on Earth- there is an entire frozen nightside, and the sunward pole is going to be blazingly hot. So there is a (relatively) limited band between the two that would have quite comfortable temperatures.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:48 PM   #11
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It really depends on the configuration of the oceans... If the tidally locked sunward hemisphere shows a huge landmass, which is a strong probability in my opinion, it would have interesting effects on the climate... the paradox being that land (ie desert) has a higher albedo than water, reflecting about three times as much incoming radiation... Therefore even if it is locally a lot more hot in a desert, for the whole planet, it leads to a lower total absorption of solar energy and lower heat retained. Furthermore, the heat that is absorbed by the landmass would only be transported by the atmosphere, which is a lot less efficient at heat transport than water.

On such a planet, temperatures between the day and night sides would be more extreme. However, if there is no such huge landmass on the sunlit hemisphere, evaporation and oceanic currents would transport a lot of heat towards the night side, resulting in more even temperature distributions. This requires a lack of obstructing features in the oceanic configuration which would preclude an efficient thermohaline circulation loop.

In any case, I think I can sum up the one thing we're all dying to see: PICTURES!!!
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:08 PM   #12
T.Neo
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Quote:
I think I can sum up the one thing we're all dying to see: PICTURES!!!
Yeah, but I think we'll all die before anyone snaps any pictures.
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:35 PM   #13
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Yeah, and remember that the observations that we are speaking of give us some information on Gliese581g are in fact... 20 years old !

So finally we are seeing the point where the speed of light will be a barrier.

Unless some genius demonstrates that Einstein was partially wrong, we are stuck in the solar system... Which means that there are "limitations" in the Universe ! That's a huge philosophical problem...

Or maybe, after all, the "light barrier" can be overcome like the "sound barrier"...
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:24 PM   #14
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No... you are not stuck in the solar system because of the speed of light. You just go slower. The Valkyrie concept for example, could get to Gliese 581 g in 8.64 years (ship time- from an external reference point it would be a little bit over 22 years).

A 20 year lag is nothing in planetological scales. But if there was some sort of intelligent activity going on, it would be a different story.

The speed of light is far more fundamental than the speed of sound... the concepts to travel FTL are all highly hypothetical and all have their own problems. It's not necessarily a case of proving Einstein wrong, even partially... both the metrics relating to wormholes and alcubierre drives are actually based upon general relativity.

Personally, I hope that faster than light travel is possible in some manner. But I think that for now, at least, our efforts at interstellar travel should be based on sublight spacecraft.

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Old 09-30-2010, 06:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
With an estimated 200 billion stars in the universe, that means maybe 40 billion planets that have the potential for life, Vogt said.
Ouch...
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