Monday, June 16, 2008

Breakthru shows that 1 in 3 solar type stars have planets!

From ScienceDaily : European astronomers have announced a remarkable breakthrough in the field of extra-solar planets. Using the HARPS instrument at the ESO La Silla Observatory, they have found a triple system of super-Earths around the star HD 40307. Moreover, looking at their entire sample studied with HARPS, the astronomers count a total of 45 candidate planets with a mass below 30 Earth masses and an orbital period shorter than 50 days. This implies that one solar-like star out of three harbors such planets. Since the discovery in 1995 of a planet around the star 51 Pegasi more than 270 exoplanets have been found. These planets were in the Jovian class like Saturn and Jupiter and about 1 in 14 stars had this class of planet. But now with better instrumentation, it's possible to spot planets 2 to 10 times the size of the Earth. This lends the question of just how many stars have planets. Up to this point, only short duration planets were being found (planets that orbit their primary very quickly). This new level of sensitivity will allow astronomers to look for longer duration planets which may ultimately show that virtually all solar class stars have planets.


S.M.D. said...

Awesome news indeed! Now find me a new Earth!

paul said...

you got to think that Earth Class cant be far behind.... its just the travel distance.....I start now my great great grand kids would get there. got to work on that!

S.M.D. said...

Man, a generation ship would be awesome. I'd love to go, but my girlfriend/future wife would never go for it. She's put her foot down and I can't refuse the love of my life. Maybe if this planet was messed up enough she would go, but I would imagine being on a generation ship would get ridiculously boring unless you could really put some entertainment on such a thing.
I guess you could still send recorded Football/Soccer/Baseball/Whatever games, but the time between new recordings would get longer and longer and longer.
And that all just gave me a great idea for a story: how to keep folks entertained on a generation ship with limited resources.

Paul said...

Well, once you have the story, remember your buds here K? lol
I love the romance of a generation ship, I think, given our present level of tech, that the mystique would wear thin after 20 some odd years in space and still haven't left the helio-sphere..... Did you ever read Anderson's Tau Ceti? I think that was the title... I think he really pounds home the time and the dilation effect.

S.M.D. said...

Don't you worry! I remember where I get ideas from, :).
I need to read more of Anderson's work. He's one of my favorite scifi authors. His work is fantastic. I haven't read that particular book, but I think I own it...I have at least 60% of his books I think, which is a lot of books.

I really love the generation ship stuff and if authors can really touch it the right way it can be truly fascinating. I wonder if anyone has written a murder mystery on a generation ship...hmm.

Beam Me Up said...

Hey hey it aint a pat on the head I am looking for! lol I like running original material as well. Saunders is a good example. I am not to proud to beg for stories from him. I never look for exclusives, but just the chance to run good original SF

S.M.D. said...

You know, I sat here for a moment trying to figure out what the heck you meant by all that and then I looked over to the sidebar and saw that BMU is also a podcast. I honestly didn't know. I've been reading the blog for months now and never knew you had a podcast...I am blind as a bat.

Now realizing that you have a podcast that focuses heavily on the literary side of SF, I'm curious if you're secretly asking me to give you something I've written to thrust out into the podosphere, cause I may very well be up for that indeed! :P

Beam Me Up said...

Oh my, I thought you knew!! The description used to read that BMU is for all intents the "script" for the podcast. I thought it was getting old so I chucked it for a graphic. hummm better look into that. We are way off topic now, I suggest that you send me your working email and I will bring you up to speed. That being said, I do appreciate posts here as well, it makes the program that much more interesting.

Shaun A. Saunders said...

Hi S.M.D.,

Don't forget Heinlein's books on generational ships, either - or, for a very different spin, Poul Anderson's 'The boat of a million years' (a personal favourite).

BTW, if you go to my webpage, you'll find links at the bottom to a selection of my work that has appeared on the BMU podcast and radio show :-)