Archive for the ‘Sun’ Tag

Proxima B – Life in the Habitable Zone?   26 comments

Historic Potentially Earth-Like World Proxima B

The historic discovery of potentially Earth- like world Proxima-b was announced 24 August 2016. Orbiting Proxima Centauri, a Red Dwarf star in the habitable zone and the nearest star to our own Sun Proxima-b marks not only the closest alien planet ever found but also with the potential to be habitable.

Proxima b

This artist’s impression shows what the sky might look like on Proxima Centauri b if the planet has a surface. The exoplanet orbits the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, currently the closest star to the solar system at 4.2 light-years. The other two members of the Alpha Centauri triple, Alpha Centauri A and B, would appear in the sky, too.
ESO / M. Kornmesser

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this proves to be the case, then there is no shortage of time for some form of life to originate based on the fact that red dwarf stars such as Proxima Centauri burn for trillions of years.

From the point of view of the average Earth-based visitor stopping by for a summer vacation, Proxima-b runs the risk of being a rather boring holiday resort. The sun-tan would be awesome, not so much so the destruction of the biological cells exposed to the intensely dodgy UV radiation that is present. Combined with the prospect of heavy duty sun-screen to protect from the sun’s constant bombardment of energy flares bouncing around the planetary surface probably wouldn’t be classed as entirely awesome either. On top of which the Proxima Centauri flares would also banish any hope of using mobile phones, tablets, X-boxes or any other such devices thanks to its electronics-disabling qualities. so no ET calling home and definitely no Skype!

Proxima b _Bustle DarkBAlthough it is a tidally locked planet– roasting hot on its star- facing side, freezing cold on the other, there is also enough wind around in the atmosphere to circulate the heat, balancing out the extreme temperatures that would otherwise exist. None-the-less a visit to the the planetary darkside, where it is bathed in perpetual night could prove to be the safest, and possibly the only option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately astronomers are choosing to be particularly pessimistic about this little world following the initial euphoria and have currently decided it is probably a dead, airless rock that will never harbour life due to it’s close proximity sun (20x nearer than Earth to the Sun) creating a risk of it boiling off the water and thereby stripping away the planet’s atmosphere. Researchers its oxygen will be gone in about 10 million years. Life on Earth took billions of years to develop.

Young M Dwarf StarsYoung M dwarf stars can unleash dangerous flares, (“planet-frying radiation”) that strip off atmosphere-forming oxygen spelling doom for closely orbiting planets. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / S. Wiessinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

proxima bImage: NASA Goddard/Conceptual Image Lab

However hope lives eternal. Theoretically it is possible life could advance to endure the high levels of radiation, by altering the worst of Proxima Centauri’s emissions into inoffensive visible light. We know this is plausible, because due to a process known as biofluorescence this —has already happened on many occasions on Earth.

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimately It is expected that the 2018 launch of The James Webb Space Telescope, will provide answers to the critical question of whether there is any chance at all that Proxima b is capable of supporting life.

Proxima b – Habitable ‘Ocean Planet’??

Another possibility is the Proxima b could be an ocean world whose entire surface consists of a liquid ocean. This may bear a similarity to the Jupiter and Saturn moons that are icy worlds with subsurface oceans.

On the other hand the more optimistic researchers suggest that Proxima b may in fact be habitable after all. So don’t put the suitcases back in the attic just yet intrepid cosmic holiday makers! If Proxima b had in reality formed further out from it’s sun than its current position this would also offer a high possibility of there being water. This idea is based on the outer realms of planetary systems being more likely to form ice. If it then moved inwards for a up closer and more personal relationship with its sun then this ice could melt and form seas. Maybe 😉

Sea

Proxima b – A Desert World??

be8a53dc8479400431b0270a3d2ef730But it still seems most likely, according to Victoria Meadows (University of Washington), that this exoplanet is a desert world since the radiation bombarding it would almost certainly have evaporated the majority of the water. This process could have collected the oxygen and hydrogen in the water and created an atmosphere rich in oxygen. Then again it could a 2nd Venus with an atmosphere rich in Carbon Dioxide, or even another Uranus or Neptune.

The Other Closest Habitable-Zone Worlds

If all else fails cosmic holiday makers may wish to try some of the nearbyProxima Wolf 3, potentially habitable exoplanet worlds, for size….: Kapteyn b (13 light-years away) and Wolf 1061 c (14 light-years). Both planets are just over half again as wide as Earth, with minimum masses of 4 to 5 Earths, and both are in their stars’ habitable zones. Wolf 1061 c does not look at all hopeful in terms of habitability. But Kapteyn b looks good. It’s about 3½ times farther from its sun than Proxima b is from its sun so potentially it could be far enough out of reach of its sun’s rather violent output to provide a half decent holiday resort!

 

References:

www.skyandtelescope.com

www.gizmodo.com

www.space.com

www.scinews.com

www.csmonitor.com

Eclipse Watch – Partial Solar Eclipse 20th March 2015   33 comments

 

Mysterious Winds of the Solar Eclipse – Strange and Eerie!

         

Unusual weather and wind conditions may occur during Friday’s (20th March) partial solar eclipse which will obscure between 84 and 97% of sunlight as the moon crosses the sun face and a shadow is cast over the Earth.

During the partial solar eclipse of 1999 the wind speed and direction both changed, an average drop of 3 degrees C occurred in the air temperature in what has been described as an “eclipse wind”. In Cornwall observers reported experiencing mysterious, eerie eclipse winds. Scientists believe this was a result of the drop in air temperature.

 

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clip_image004This Friday’s eclipse when the moon’s orbit will see it travel in front of the sun, casting a shadow over Earth is expected to start around 8.24am in London and will peak at around 9.31am. It is due to end at 10.41 am.

The Shetland Isles will enjoy 97% eclipse coverage, and the skies are expected to become dark enough to require car headlights being turned on in regions experiencing 95%+ coverage. This will be the first rush-hour eclipse so drivers eyeballing the partial solar eclipse should take extra care to avoid crashes! Scotland will enjoy 94% coverage of the sun, London 84% and Manchester 89%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Solar eclipse- created electricity blackouts across Europe

 

              

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Whilst Britain obtains only 1.5% of its energy from solar power and therefore should not experience undue problems, approximately 3% of Europe’s total energy supply is obtained from solar power. The temporary dip in light due to the solar eclipse could lead to electricity black-outs across Europe as solar power grids battle to handle this. Although solar panels do turn off at night, the light dip is much more gradual than it will be during the solar eclipse. When they will probably not only power-down but also shut down altogether in full and well-timed synchronisation. It is planned that in order to counteract this situation extra electric from alternative power stations will be utilised.

Night time shut-downs do not usually pose problems because demand for electric is much less at this time, but the morning solar eclipse will hit right in the middle of peak time usage. – European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E)

“35,000 MW of solar energy will fade from Europe’s electricity systems, before being gradually re-injected. This will be ‘all in the space of two hours.” European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E)

During the solar eclipse of 1999 solar energy was not a widespread energy source so there is no previous experience to draw on regarding Friday’s eclipse and its impact on the power grids. Studying the effects on the solar panels and the power grids coping mechanisms during the eclipse will hopefully provide the necessary information required for future protection against grid instability issues.

The End of the World! NOT!!

   BoostGrad tint

The end of the world will not be occurring on Friday morning! Contrary to the suggestion of a certain religious individual the world will still be functioning very nicely and will still be happily in existence despite the solar eclipse! We will all live to see another day…another sunrise and another sunset! No need to panic!!

Mewling The Blues To The Ancient Mythological Cat Goddesses   53 comments

Mewling the Blues To The Ancient Cat Goddesses

Russian Blue Cats, Mythological Cat Goddesses 

Russian Blue3

The Russian Blue is considered one of the most chic and ancient breeds in the cat world. Well-known as a one-person cat with a distinctive personality which identifies it as a breed apart from other cats, it is very much a timid and reserved creature although it is also gentle and affectionate, with an interesting and entertaining nature. It is also referred to as the Archangel Blue, Maltese Blue, and the Spanish Blue.

Russian Blue14Little is known about the history of the Russian Blue but the title Archangel may have come from the Archangel Isles in northern Russia or also the Russian White Sea Port by this name. It is thought most likely that nineteenth century Russian sailors brought these silvery-grey cats with them with the intention to sell them in UK. Their rich blue and silver-highlighted fur colouring is sometimes likened to that of a seal, and may also account for their timidness; it is claimed that they used to be hunted for their unusual coats.

Russian Blue19

It is said that the Russian Blue is a descendant of the Royal Cat of the Russian Czars and also that it was the favourite pet of Queen Victoria. In Russia, it is considered to be lucky hence couples make sure a cat moves into their new home with them. The breed almost disappeared during World War II, but was later revived by the introduction of Siamese blood. One outstanding characteristic of all Russian Blues is the smiling expression they wear– and who doesn’t like to be greeted with a smile!

Russian Blue12Russian Blues always have startlingly vivid green eyes, and to those who gaze into the eyes of such cats, their intensity of those eyes is mesmerizing; the gaze of the cat was first observed by the Egyptians. They associated the cat with the hawk-headed god Horus, who was the son of Isis. In Ancient Egypt, cats “captured the glow of the setting sun in their eyes and kept it safe until morning.”

Russian Blue9There are a great many cultures who consider cats to be mystical creatures who in reality were in fact fairies or goblins who cunningly disguised themselves as cats. Amongst these cultures they believe that staring intensely into cats eyes will reveal visions of the fairy sphere snooping inquisitively back at the human realm through the cat’s eyes. By contrast the Japanese believe that vampires can masquerade in the form of cats but that they give themselves away by the manifestation of two tails!

Russian Blue18One of the most well-known folklore myths regarding the Russian Blue is the narrative about a cat spirit that appears in time of need to help someone in trouble. Once it has gained the trust of that person, the cat’s spirit one way or another reveals rewards that can be physical and/or spiritual treasures.


Cat Mythology

Freyja’s Cat-Driven Chariot

Thor_google2The Norse goddess Freyja, deity of love, beauty, fertility, war, wealth, divination, and magic, was worshipped by the Vikings, who prayed to her for rain and the granting of good crop yields; to this end jugs of milk for the cats were left out in Scandinavian countries. She rode in the heavens in a chariot pulled by two giant, blue-grey cats, (said to be Norwegian Forest cats). These cats are the children of the magic cat, Bauyn, that were a gift from Thor the god of Thunder.

BAST (Ancient Egyptian Lower Kingdom)

Bast_Egyptian goddess2_pinterestBast-cat goddess3_googleThe Egyptian goddess Bast (also known as Bastet, Ubasti, Pasht or Pakhet) was the benevolent and protective goddess of pet and household cats. But like all Egyptian cat goddesses she was also portrayed as a war-like goddess (“Bast” means “devourer”).

Lioness-Cub-by-Rahul-Matthan2Cheetah_google2Lynx_pinterest2She was often illustrated as a fierce lioness but was also symbolized in cheetah or lynx form. However Bast was the only ancient Egyptian cat goddess to also be depicted as a domestic cat, personifying both the strength and ferocity of a combative lioness, and the frisky, elegant, friendly, and wily nature of a cat.

Sun god-Ra2Known originally as “the protector goddess of Lower Egypt” she was the fierce shield and defender of the pharaoh. Bast was also the guard and protector of the sun-god Ra, and was consequently known as the “Lady of Flame” and the “Eye of Ra.”

Russian Blue 16tsIllustrations of her frequently depict her clasping the” ankh” which was designed to signify “the breath of life” or a papyrus wand which was intended to signify Lower Egypt. She occasionally bears a war-sceptre (signifying strength) and is often accompanied by a litter of kittens

She is also seen as the goddess of fertility and the protector of cats, women and children, to harm one was considered to be a crime against her and so very unlucky. Her priests kept sacred cats in her temple, which were considered to be incarnations of the goddess.

Bast_Shadowness2hellenic_mythology___artemis__goddess_of_the_hunt_by_emanuellakozas-d6p4l9n3Bast was originally the goddess of the sunrise, with the ability and command at her disposal to rouse a solar eclipse. but because the Greeks because linked her with Artemis – the lunar goddess, and the brother of Apollo (hence she became the daughter of Isis and Osiris) transformed her into a lunar goddess; the Moon and the cat’s nocturnal nature certainly sit well together!

 13923408614402cat-moon-by-apofiss2The_Cat_and_the_Moon_by_hiddenmuse2

Some other ancient Egyptian Cat Goddesses.

Pakhet, "She Who Scratches", was a big cat goddess, presumably with big scratchy claws! She defended from evil the living and the dead.

Mafdet, the first of the cat goddesses, was a protective war goddess who spat fire at cobras and who also took a variety of feline forms – the ancient Egyptian lynx, the cheetah or the lion. Known as the “Runner” she was the cat goddess who killed the colossal snake Apep who was the enemy of Ra the sun-god.

Sources:

landofpyramids.org/cat-goddesses

Wikipedia

Alien Sunsets   33 comments

Watching the sunset on another world 150 light years from Earth….

What would it look like?

Osiris

HD 209458 b (Osiris) is a large exoplanet or extrasolar planet that orbits the Sun-like star HD 209458 in the constellation Pegasus, some 150 light-years from Earth’s solar system. First discovered on November 5, 1999 during “Spectroscopic studies.”

Osiris_HD 209458bOsiris

Osiris is a 7th magnitude world, visible from Earth with good binoculars or a decent telescope. Osiris (HD209458b), 150 Ly from Earth orbits very closely to its sun. Measured by the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope on March 23. 2005 it had an atmospheric temperature of around 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) it’s year lasts just 3.5 Earth days long. Very bad for the aging process!

Osiris Firsts:

First PrizeHD 209458 b was the first transiting extrasolar planet discovered:

  • Known to have an atmosphere
  • Observed to have an evaporating hydrogen atmosphere
  • Found to have an atmosphere containing oxygen and carbon
  • One of the first two extrasolar planets to be directly spectroscopically observed
  • The first extrasolar planet found to have water vapour in its atmosphere. (April 2007)

(Sunset On HD 189733 – Osiris)

Sunset on HD209458b (reconstructed from the HST/STIS transmission spectrum): Image: Frederic Pont of the University of Exeter: based on data form a camera on-board the Hubble Space Telescope)

Osiris doesn’t actually have as surface on which to sit peacefully watching an alien sunset but for the purposes of this post we will pretend it does. What it does have however is an atmosphere, which when passed through by the light from its star (sun) – it does this every so often when Osiris passes between Earth and its own sun (transits)– allows the scientific types here on sunny Earth to figure out in a scientific way mostly beyond the understanding of the average Earthling, exactly which colours its sun would set in, should Osiris have a surface – as already stated it doesn’t but… and we were spending a happily romantic evening sitting on the (make-believe) surface.

I said it HASN’T got one!!! So don’t try it!! It won’t be any good for you!!

In the image to the right Osiris’s sunset can be seen as it would appear if having travelled at light speed to reach it, you were floating 6,200 miles/10,000 km above the planetary surface – preferably not in a deckchair unless you’re wearing a heavy duty space suit 😉 a space station would do nicely.

Floating 6,200 miles above the planetary surface...The Osirisian sun- HD 209458– it’s star, is, much like Earth’s Sun, white – yes I know…The Sun is yellow…but if there was no atmosphere it would look white – not that we would see it because without an atmosphere life on Earth would have survived for approx. 20 seconds before exploding into instant extinction.

An alien sunset on Osiris really does look alien – unlike Earth’s. Osiris’s atmosphere consists of sodium which when starlight (sunlight) zips through it, absorbs the red light. (think prisms and colours of rainbows when white light is split) This results in the remaining starlight appearing blue. It makes perfectly good sense if you were paying attention in your school science lessons. If you weren’t then it’s your own fault and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself!!

As back home on Earth the blue light from the star is scattered (“Rayleigh scattering,” a mechanism also responsible for the Earth’s sky being blue) creating a progressive change through the blue end of the spectrum through to a pretty green and later a deep, dark shade of green as its star dips further beneath the horizon.

The more sensible approach to watching the Osirian sunset...In such colours you should be able to get a good view of Osiris’s sun without going instantly blind in which case you will notice it looks oddly flat around the southern half. The same effect occurs when we watch the sun setting from Earth. This is the consequence of diffraction (light bending) and nothing to worry about..

Osiris, Eygptian god of the Underworld_Credit Jeff DahlWhilst you are relaxing in the Osirisian sunset you can reflect on the little snippet of mythology attached to it’s title… Osiris was an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail. His green skin is symbolic of new birth. This image is based on New Kingdom tomb paintings.

    

      AND FOR COMPARISION PURPOSES, THE SUNSET ON HD 189733 b

    Sunset on HD 189733 bSunset on HD 189733 b looks like an especially awesome Earth sunset when the sky is very clear and there is only a small amount of dust in the atmosphere. HD 189733 b is much closer to its star (sun) than Earth is to our Sun so its star looks considerably bigger 25 times larger than Earth’s sun when viewed at sunset compared.

Soaking up the atmosphere on HD 189733b

HD 189733 b’s sun is orange and nowhere near as hot as Earth’s Sun and consequently is coloured orange as oppose to the white of our Sun. Instead of undergoing a gradual change of colour as it sets, this alien sun transforms straight from its original orange colour to deepest red in the thick layers of the lower atmosphere.

Jupiter and HD 189733 b size comparison

HD 189733b discovered in 2005 is an extrasolar planet of similar size to Jupiter. It orbits a star (it’s sun) in a binary system called HD 189733 in the constellation of Vulpecula in two Earth days. The aging process on this world would be terribly fast in our terms and those wrinkles would appear in a frighteningly super-smart short time!! The star system itself one of the closest planet-star systems known making it extremely hot. It is located near the Dumbell Nebula, approximately 62 light years from Earth and is known as a “Hot Jupiter.”

HD 189733 and M27, the Dumbbell Nebula. Credit: Daniel Jaroschik

HD 189733b shares many similar characteristics as HD 209458b (a.k.a. “Osiris) Although HD 189733b’s atmosphere isn’t thought to be evaporating like Osiris’, atmospheric gases extend far beyond it and out into space. This is significant in that starlight can also pass through meaning that scientists have been able to figure out that the atmosphere contains water and methane resulting in the probability that HD 189733b may have a blue hue, reminiscent of Uranus.

The atmosphere also contains iron, silicate and aluminium oxide particles. These would seem to collect in HD 189733b’s upper atmosphere, forming a thin, hazy, reflective cloud in the exosphere. This leads to the natural conclusion that the weather on HD 189733b is hot and cloudy.

Thanks to the Spitzer telescope it was discovered in February 2007 for the first time that the atmosphere of exoplanet HD 209458b (Osiris) is relatively dry, thick and dusty. Osiris even contains grains of sand (silicates).

Exoplanet

Although it is not suitable for the existence of alien life it is an exciting step on the road to discovery of such worlds.

Sources:

PhysOrg.com

Prof. Frédéric Pont

ExoClimes.com

Russian Fireball Explodes over Chelyabinsk–And it’s all the US’s Fault!!!!   65 comments

 

Meteoroid Explodes Over Russia ~ Blame The USA!!!*

 

Image Credit: AP/Nasha gazeta (Meteoroid Flare)

A massive meteoroid flared through the skies over Russia’s sparsely inhabited region of Chelyabinsk, situated about 930 miles east of Moscow where it exploded early on Friday, triggering an atomic bomb-sized shock wave that injured more than a thousand people, blew out windows and caused some of the older Russian population to fear “the end of the world was nigh.”

Although there were no reported fatalities a report by Russia’s Interior Ministry showed medical care was requested after the shock wave by 1,100 people, approximately 50 of whom were hospitalised. The majority of injured people suffered glass cuts after windows shattered in the shock wave caused by the blast. Chelyabinsk schools reported that 200+ children were among the injured.

 Image Credit: A meteorite contrail is seen over Chelyabinsk (AP)NASA said the flash momentarily shone brighter than the Sun. The vapour trail it left in its wake could be seen hundreds of miles around, extending to the neighbouring location of Kazakhstan.

1908 Tunguska Event

NASA said it was the largest reported fireball since the Tunguska event in 1908 — an asteroid explosion that impacted a remote region of the Siberian forest flattening millions of trees over 820 square miles in the process.

The 50-foot-wide (15-meter-wide), meteoroid – estimated to be about 10 tons – entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speeds of a minimum of 54,000kph (33,000mph) exploding into fragments 12 to 15 miles (20 to 25 kilometres) approximately above ground level. The energy it released at this point was equal to 300 to 500 kilotons of TNT. ~ Russian Academy of Sciences. This amounted 10 times+ as much energy as the atom bombs that exploded over Japan at the end of World War II released. Even estimates released by NASA were based on readings from infrasound sensors to detect nuclear blasts, set up by the “Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization”.

Asteroid 2012 DA14

The fireball hit just hours before asteroid2012 DA14, 150-foot-wide and big enough to flatten London came within a 17,200 miles (28,000 km) flyby of Earth. NASA officials said the two events were purely incidental. "It’s simply a coincidence. It looks like they were moving in different directions and weren’t on the same orbit." ~ Paul Chodas, an asteroid researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Image Credit: A circular hole in the ice of Chebarkul Lake where a meteor reportedly struck the lake near Chelyabinsk (AP) 

A photo provided by the Chelyabinsk regional police department released a photo displaying a hole in the iced-over lake near Chebarkul, 20-foot-wide (6-meter-wide) discovered whilst searching for surviving fragments of the explosion. Military officials reported that radiation levels around the site of impact had shown to be normal, according to “Interfax.”

*Conspiracy Theories

Inevitably in these circumstances the conspiracy theories are doing the rounds… Vladimir, ultra-nationalist leader of the Russian Liberal Democrat party, has the idea that the massive meteoroid was in reality America’s new weapon.

Although not confirmed there are reports that sources from the military claim that the meteoroid was intercepted by Russian air defence forces, who it is suggested used a missile to obliterate it at heights of 20km.

"It’s not a meteorite falling – it’s a test of new American weapons. Neither the US nor Russia had the capability to bring down such objects.” ~ Zhirinovsky

So there you have it! It’s all America’s fault…Really America Winking smile Stop being so naughty and put those toys down immediatelyWinking smile and go sit on the naughty step lol Smile

Sources:

Reuters

Associated Press

NBC News

MSN

NASA Discover Alien Planet Earth Twin –Kelper-22b   46 comments

 

Alien Earth-Twin: Planet Kelper-22b

NASA Kelper: Planet Hunting Spacecraft

Kepler 22b, the new alien planet discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which NASA scientists say embraces the most hopeful possibility to date for potential future human habitation. Scientists also believe there is a tantalising option for the presence of continents, oceans and even alien life forms living on its surface. Kepler-22b is the first of many such planets that it is hoped will be discovered by the Kepler space telescope.

The Kepler Mission is a NASA Discovery Program for detecting potentially life-supporting planets-. those where liquid water might exist on the surface of those around other stars in the habitable zone. Terrestrial planets. (i.e. those one half to twice the size of the Earth)

Kelper Telescope

NASA’s Kelper planet-hunting spacecraft, a Space Observatory, that has been orbiting Earth since it was launched in March 2009 is the most powerful telescope in space. It needs a large field in order to observe the necessary large number of stars.

Beginning in the Star Fields

Kelper will be searching constantly in the Cygnus star field, staring unblinkingly at around 155,000 stars every half hour, looking for tiny drops in brightness that betray the presence of planets, for the duration of it’s 3.5 years+ mission. Cygnus is ideal as it lacks in bright stars that would hamper the instruments and it contains many stars similar to our Sun

image

Kepler’s targetd star field in nearby region of the Milky Way. Credit: NASA

The star around which Kepler 22b orbits in the region of the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus, is slightly smaller than our Sun and about 25% less bright. The alien planet was discovered after making a "transit" across the front of its parent star – when a planet crosses in front of its star (Sun) it blocks a small fraction of the light from that star.

                               Cygnus Star field                                       Kelper's Transit Method

Image 1. Kepler’s targeted star field. Credit: Carter Roberts of the Eastbay Astronomical Society   \mage 2. Artist’s rendering of Kepler’s Transit Method of Detecting Extrasolar Planets. Credit: SETI Institute

It is these microscopic variations in the star’s brightness that Kelper can detect. These tell the planet size. The time between ‘transits’ indicates the size of the planet’s orbit and estimates the planet’s temperature. These factors determine possibilities for life on the planet.

Alien Planet Kelper-22b

kepler22b-artwork

This artist’s conception illustrates Kepler-22b, a planet known to comfortably circle in the habitable zone of a sun-like star.
CREDIT: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

2.4 times the size of earth Kelper 22b orbits a star similar to, but smaller and cooler than, our own sun. Scientists say it is 15% closer to its own star than Earth is to our Sun and is located at the somewhat daunting distance of 600 light years away from our own Solar System. At 290 days, the duration of a year on Kepler-22b is not far off our own and the planet’s surface temperature is an agreeable 22deg C. (72deg F) (Sign up here if you wish to join Wolfie on a summer holiday) 😉

Its atmosphere is of a nature that could potentially support life and Kepler-22b is the first “Earth twin” known that is situated in the ‘habitable zone’ of another Sun-like star. This allows for temperatures fitting to the existence of liquid surface water throughout its orbit. I.e. Kelper- 22b could have Earth-like continents and oceans…and where there is liquid water there is also a strong possibility of life. It is even possible, according to scientists that Kelper-22b is in fact already inhabited!

However scientists have yet to figure out whether Kepler-22b is of a primarily rock, liquid or gas composition. A rocky surface would be the best ideal for life. However, a certain Professor Abel Mendez of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory has pessimistically suggested that the chances are that the new and alien planet is likely to be too big to be a habitable world… well there’s always one!

To date the Kepler space telescope has discovered a grand total of 48 planets in the habitable zone of their own solar systems. (The “Goldilocks zone”) Kepler-22b is just the first alien world within such a zone to have been confirmed by other telescopes observations.

NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-22b on Dec. 5 2011.

 Planets and orbits to scale

Comparison chart of our own solar system and  Kepler-22, a star system containing the first "habitable zone" planet discovered.

"This discovery supports the growing belief that we live in a universe crowded with life," ~ Dr Alan Boss, from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, helped identify the planet from data collected by the Kepler space telescope.

"This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin," ~ Douglas Hudgins, a member of the Kepler telescope team.

“Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet," ~ William Borucki, who led the team that discovered Kepler-22b.

“Know Me!!”(Europa’s Icewolf) ©2009 Revised Re-post   20 comments

“Know Me!!” (Revised Re-post)

Copyright Europa’s Icewolf 2009 – All Rights Reserved

Know Me!!

The Wolf’s spirit burns bright as the fire of the sun.

“I looked into the eyes of a wolf…

And I saw my own heart…”

I looked through the eyes of a star-wolf…

And I saw cities in the sky, worlds beyond the stars

MoonWolves2A

I am She-Wolf! Alpha female of the Europa Pack,

And shining Guardian of the Wolf-Gates.

I am caller of the Moon-Wolves song

On a frozen world of ice.

The star-born of Europa, dream hunter, star chaser, “moon dog of your soul”.

KNOW ME!!

I am the burning heart of the Ice Wolves of Europa

And of the Fire Wolves of Io.

Wild, passionate and free!

The wolf spirit, burning as bright as the fire of the sun.

Caller of the MoonWolves Song

KNOW ME!!

I run with the moon and the stars

And I hunt in the winds of time.

I chase the streaming flow of the solar winds…

And across the icy seas of Europa, echo the call of an alien world.

KNOW ME!!

I am the heart and the spirit of ice and of fire…

I dance in the light of the sun by day,

And hunt under the power of stars by night….

I am the half-seen shadow that lingers behind your eyes….

I am the half-remembered wolf dreams….

Wolf-Shadow Dreams

KNOW ME!!

I am the most direct descendant of the original “Path Finder” –

The one known as “Star of the Celestial Wolf”.

I AM the Alpha-female!

The leader of Ice Wolves!

I am EUROPA’S ICE WOLF!!

Alpha MoonWolves

Know me!!

©Europa’s Icewolf 2009