Discussion in 'Present & Current Events' started by Toroid, May 29, 2018.
UW-Madison investigating video that shows university employee on motorcycle running over protesters
Is it still t-shirt weather in Madison, Wisconsin?
Oct. 29, 2020
About Half of Sun-Like Stars Could Host Rocky, Potentially Habitable Planets
Editor's note: This story was updated on Nov. 2 to provide clarity regarding the statistics used to estimate the number of potentially habitable worlds in our galaxy based on these results.
Since astronomers confirmed the presence of planets beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, humanity has wondered how many could harbor life. Now, we’re one step closer to finding an answer. According to new research using data from NASA’s retired planet-hunting mission, the Kepler space telescope, about half the stars similar in temperature to our Sun could have a rocky planet capable of supporting liquid water on its surface.
Our galaxy holds at least an estimated 300 million of these potentially habitable worlds, based on even the most conservative interpretation of the results in a study released today and to be published in The Astronomical Journal. Some of these exoplanets could even be our interstellar neighbors, with at least four potentially within 30 light-years of our Sun and the closest likely to be at most about 20 light-years from us. These are the minimum numbers of such planets based on the most conservative estimate that 7% of Sun-like stars host such worlds. However, at the average expected rate of 50%, there could be many more.
This research helps us understand the potential for these planets to have the elements to support life. This is an essential part of astrobiology, the study of life’s origins and future in our universe.
The study is authored by NASA scientists who worked on the Kepler mission alongside collaborators from around the world. NASA retired the space telescope in 2018 after it ran out of fuel. Nine years of the telescope’s observations revealed that there are billions of planets in our galaxy – more planets than stars.
"Kepler already told us there were billions of planets, but now we know a good chunk of those planets might be rocky and habitable," said the lead author Steve Bryson, a researcher at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. "Though this result is far from a final value, and water on a planet's surface is only one of many factors to support life, it's extremely exciting that we calculated these worlds are this common with such high confidence and precision."
For the purposes of calculating this occurrence rate, the team looked at exoplanets between a radius of 0.5 and 1.5 times that of Earth's, narrowing in on planets that are most likely rocky. They also focused on stars similar to our Sun in age and temperature, plus or minus up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
That's a wide range of different stars, each with its own particular properties impacting whether the rocky planets in its orbit are capable of supporting liquid water. These complexities are partly why it is so difficult to calculate how many potentially habitable planets are out there, especially when even our most powerful telescopes can just barely detect these small planets. That's why the research team took a new approach.
Rethinking How to Identify Habitability
This new finding is a significant step forward in Kepler's original mission to understand how many potentially habitable worlds exist in our galaxy. Previous estimates of the frequency, also known as the occurrence rate, of such planets ignored the relationship between the star's temperature and the kinds of light given off by the star and absorbed by the planet.
The new analysis accounts for these relationships, and provides a more complete understanding of whether or not a given planet might be capable of supporting liquid water, and potentially life. That approach is made possible by combining Kepler's final dataset of planetary signals with data about each star's energy output from an extensive trove of data from the European Space Agency's Gaia mission.
"We always knew defining habitability simply in terms of a planet's physical distance from a star, so that it's not too hot or cold, left us making a lot of assumptions," said Ravi Kopparapu, an author on the paper and a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Gaia's data on stars allowed us to look at these planets and their stars in an entirely new way."
Gaia provided information about the amount of energy that falls on a planet from its host star based on a star's flux, or the total amount of energy that is emitted in a certain area over a certain time. This allowed the researchers to approach their analysis in a way that acknowledged the diversity of the stars and solar systems in our galaxy.
"Not every star is alike," said Kopparapu. "And neither is every planet."
Though the exact effect is still being researched, a planet's atmosphere figures into how much light is needed to allow liquid water on a planet's surface as well. Using a conservative estimate of the atmosphere's effect, the researchers estimated an occurrence rate of about 50% — that is, about half of Sun-like stars have rocky planets capable of hosting liquid water on their surfaces. An alternative optimistic definition of the habitable zone estimates about 75%.
An illustration representing the legacy of NASA's Kepler space telescope. After nine years in deep space collecting data that revealed our night sky to be filled with billions of hidden planets – more planets even than stars – NASA’s Kepler space telescope ran out of fuel needed for further science operations in 2018.
Credits: NASA/Ames Research Center/W. Stenzel/D. Rutter
Kepler's Legacy Charts Future Research
This result builds upon a long legacy of work of analyzing Kepler data to obtain an occurrence rate and sets the stage for future exoplanet observations informed by how common we now expect these rocky, potentially habitable worlds to be. Future research will continue to refine the rate, informing the likelihood of finding these kinds of planets and feeding into plans for the next stages of exoplanet research, including future telescopes.
"Knowing how common different kinds of planets are is extremely valuable for the design of upcoming exoplanet-finding missions," said co-author Michelle Kunimoto, who worked on this paper after finishing her doctorate on exoplanet occurrence rates at the University of British Columbia, and recently joined the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "Surveys aimed at small, potentially habitable planets around Sun-like stars will depend on results like these to maximize their chance of success."
After revealing more than 2,800 confirmed planets outside our solar system, the data collected by the Kepler space telescope continues to yield important new discoveries about our place in the universe. Though Kepler's field of view covered only 0.25% of the sky, the area that would be covered by your hand if you held it up at arm's length towards the sky, its data has allowed scientists to extrapolate what the mission's data means for the rest of the galaxy. That work continues with TESS, NASA's current planet hunting telescope.
"To me, this result is an example of how much we've been able to discover just with that small glimpse beyond our solar system," said Bryson. "What we see is that our galaxy is a fascinating one, with fascinating worlds, and some that may not be too different from our own."
For news media:
Members of the news media interested in covering this topic should reach out to the NASA Ames newsroom.
Author: Frank Tavares, NASA's Ames Research Center
Top image: This illustration depicts Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. Credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle
Last Updated: Nov. 2, 2020
Editor: Frank Tavares
Second Cable Fails at Arecibo, Causing More Damage to Famed SETI Dish
When you have a failure on one, it increases the load on the others, making subsequent failure more likely. I had a problem like that with some plastic curtain rail eyelets in one of the rooms of my house. One of them broke due to being old and brittle, and then a short time later another one followed. I thought I would deal with it later. However, an even shorter duration later another one went, and then they kept breaking at an accelerating rate until the curtain fell on the floor.
Scooby-Doo co-creator Ken Spears dies aged 82
It snowed on Halloween. The snow remained for about a week. Now it's in the 70s. Wierd.
Jupiter's icy moon Europa found to 'glow in the dark' on its far side due to being hit with relentless radiation from its parent planet
Jupiter's moon Europa found to 'glow in the dark' due to being hit with radiation | Daily Mail Online
Terrifying moment a huge chunk of cliff collapses onto a Spanish beach | Daily Mail Online
An amazing sight, but the onlookers didn't seem frightened at all, contrary to the title.
No it's not the onlookers that were at risk wwkirk... if you watch the video again you will see that there are cars and caravans just near where the avalanche is.
Footage captures the moment the massive section of cliff gave way, crashing towards a number of caravans parked on the beach.
The rescue operation involved helicopters who successfully evacuated five caravan owners who had become stranded after the collapse.
Reports suggest several vehicles were buried but as yet there are no indication that anyone is missing.
According to reports, hill walkers were seen in the area where there are warning signs about the potential danger of the cliff collapsing.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and dogs are being used to sniff out anyone who might have been trapped.
The beach has been closed down as experts fear more of the cliff could collapse at any moment.
The emergency operation will continue overnight and local residents are being asked to account for all members of their families.
Shocking moment a chunk of cliff collapses onto a beach yards away from tourists
... Fingers crossed, there will be no casualties.
Hi guys, I just came across this article about an astounding event that occurred 30 years ago, that somehow escaped my attention at the time... The Amazing Story Of The Pilot Who Was Sucked Out Of Plane At 23,000ft And Survived
... I first thought that it was too much of a 'real-life-oddity' to have passed me by that it might be false! ... and so I checked , and yep! , it's real! ... British Airways Flight 5390 - Wikipedia
Mayor says multiple victims injured in Mayfair Mall shooting, shooter remains at large
Giant rats overtaking NYC's Central Park, Upper West Side of Manhattan
Rat school is in session as fed-up New Yorkers try to learn how to deal with a surging rodent population.
Rats as big as bunnies are roaming the streets in broad daylight, nesting in trees and chewing through car engine wires that can cost thousands to fix. And there are so many that residents are kvetching about them every chance they get — 311 hotline complaints about rats have totaled 12,632 so far this year — a third more than the 9,042 for all of 2019.
With the Upper West Side teeming with the hungry critters, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and the city Health Department sponsored the latest incarnation of “Rat Academy,” two hours of rat prevention training livestreamed Tuesday to nearly four dozen supers, tenants and homeowners. The city began such training sessions about 10 years ago.
Gail Dubov, president of the West 83rd Street Block Association, has a “Ph.D in Rat Academy” from sitting in on a couple of sessions, including Tuesday’s. “Rats are devious,” she pronounced with authority, “and they’re smart.”
Dozens who belong to Upper West Siders for Safer Streets have posted their gargantuan vermin sightings on Facebook, including Melanie Sloan, whose daughter is Scarlett Johansson.
“Central Park is overrun with huge fat rats,” Sloan wrote. “I saw a man on a bench in the rambles swatting them unsuccessfully with a rake.”
Not a day goes by that Amanda Levine doesn’t see at least one rat. She sprays her Jeep Grand Cherokee with a cocktail of cinnamon and mint oils and water — under the hood and on all four wheel bearings — to ward off the critters. In her apartment complex, at 107th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway, her neighbors tell her they hear scratching behind the walls.
Levine ticks off four reasons why she thinks rats have invaded the UWS: outdoor dining, more homeless New Yorkers, shoddy street cleaning and the biggest — trash not being picked up often enough, both from the cans on sidewalk corners and the stacks of bags hauled to the curb by building supers.
The Department of Sanitation is responsible for both street cleaning and garbage collection. Spokesman Joshua Goodman told The Post that DSNY is committed to keeping the city clean and reducing the rat population.
“Only when residents, businesses, and the City work together can we address a problem that is as old and as persistent as the City of New York itself,” Goodman said.
As far as Levine is concerned, the only one to blame is Mayor de Blasio. Not in the 20 years she has lived on the block have rats been so thick.
She is convinced that Hizzoner wants to do away with the Sanitation Department: “He’s a f–king waste. He’s turned this city into a s—hole.”
City Hall denied the notion. “The mayor clearly does not want to ‘get rid’ of the sanitation department,” de Blasio spokesman Mitch Schwartz told The Post. “I can’t imagine where anyone would get that impression.”
Schwalb was traumatized by a gang of 10 to 15 rats outside the 96th Street subway stop last Sunday night.
“You used to see the rats … on the tracks,” she said. “Now they are literally part of the neighborhood. They should pay rent.”
She compared her encounter to the invasion scene from the movie “Ratatouille.”
“We need the Guardian Angels for the rats. I need them to be gone. “
That is so weird. How does that happen? Apparently Hawaii is the same way. If you were to walk into a restaurant kitchen, there are rats as big as bear cubs sleeping in the corners of the room.
I haven't seen a rat since I moved to Alberta. They are not allowed to be sold in pet stores and apparently there are no rats in Alberta. Google it if you don't believe me.
It is happening in many cities that have coronavirus restrictions. A lot of waste that rats used to subsist on before the lockdowns from restaurants and other places is not available to them in the same quantities and so the rats have had to move to residential areas. I saw a live one in my back garden and found a dead one at the edge of my driveway a few weeks ago.
Wow, were they larger than average? What does your city say to do about it. Is your garden a vegetable garden?
When you say, waste they used to subsist on before lock down, do you mean in garbage dumps?