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Earth Space Science

A Third of Sun-Like Stars May Have Warm Earth Analogs 188

Posted by timothy
from the where-do-you-think-the-off-world-colonies-are? dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "An astronomer studying data from the first 136 days of the Kepler observatory missions has calculated that as many as 34% of all Sun-like stars (abstract) may have Earth-sized planets orbiting in their habitable zones, where conditions are right for life as we know it. I have some reservations with his numbers, but they do match other studies. There may be 15 billion warm, Earth-sized worlds in our galaxy alone."
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A Third of Sun-Like Stars May Have Warm Earth Analogs

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  • by dtmos (447842) * on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:06PM (#37555844)

    A Third of Sun-Like Stars May Have Warm Earth Analogs

    Don't worry; our knowledge of superior digital technology will save us.

    Thanks -- try the veal! I'm here all week.
    H'mm, pretty small crowd for a Thursday. . . .

    • by Chapter80 (926879)

      "There may be 15 billion warm, Earth-sized worlds in our galaxy alone."

      This is provably wrong.
      We're here, so clearly they are not alone.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      I'm hoping for something like Ursa Minor Beta ...

      The rich and sunny planet Ursa Minor Beta has the quite peculiar property that most of its surface consists of subtropic coastline. Even more peculiar, on this world it's always Saturday afternoon, just right before the beach bars close. Light City, the only city on Ursa Minor Beta, which can only be reached by plane, is the very place where the editorial offices of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reside. A further anomaly in Light City is that the Lalamatine district, just behind the beach, is the only place on the planet not to enjoy a perpetual Saturday afternoon. Instead it is always early evening, with cooling breezes - this is where the nightclubs are located.

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:10PM (#37555884)

    15 billion, but 0 within reach... So much for that info.

    • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday September 29, 2011 @01:13PM (#37555924) Homepage Journal

      Natalie Portman might be out of reach too, but I still like to know whether she exists.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Natalie Portman might be out of reach too, but I still like to know whether she exists.

        Or where she lives... /dothecreep

      • by fferreres (525414)

        She's not out of reach. You are not confident enough.

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      15 billion, but 0 within reach... So much for that info.

      I donno, lets just start shooting neutrinos at them and maybe we're find one that likes a good war just like us!

    • by guspasho (941623)

      By your reasoning none of us should be interested in what you have to say.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      So far there's not been much reason to try reaching anything. If we can narrow down some of those 15 billion to be actually earth-like, where we really could colonize a whole planet I'd say you have reason.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)
      How sad for you. I currently have one within reach.
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      Visionless defeatest quitter. Wimp.

      Reaching them is merely an engineering problem.

    • Not only are they out of reach to us, we are probably out of reach to them too. The probabilities of any one outside of our solar system knowing that we exist is very small. Now suppose someone on a planet 1,000 light years away was watching us 1,000 years ago. Now suppose they had sufficient technology to determine that we were an inhabitable world with vast oceans. They would know by the absent of radio energy that we did not possess that technology yet. But knowing it would take 1,000 years for the
    • by david.given (6740)

      Surely you mean 3: the warm Earth-like world we're currently standing on (well, in my case, sitting), plus Mars, plus Venus. Both of which are pretty easy to get at using current technology. Some of the gas giant moons probably count too, but they're a special case as they're not in Sol's habitable zone.

      Just because the planet's the right mass and about the right distance from its primary doesn't necessarily mean we'd find it habitable...

  • Not after the MPAA finds out

  • analog has always seemed warmer to me.
  • And how many stars are there?

    Someone do my math for me, I'm busy working.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Macharius (1479985)
      Given a population of 200-400 billion stars in the Mikly Way, 7.6% are similar to ours for 15-30 billion stars... 1/3 of which would be 5-10 billion stars purportedly hosting planets capable of supporting life as we know it.
      • And that's just in the Milky Way!

        Well, still hoping to find signs of life outside of Earth during my lifetime then. In fact, lots of interesting instruments seem to be going up, so I'm definitely hopeful.

      • by sunspot42 (455706)

        Given a population of 200-400 billion stars in the Mikly Way, 7.6% are similar to ours for 15-30 billion stars...

        And, keep in mind, a star doesn't have to be all that similar to ours to host life. A majority of the stars in our galaxy are much smaller than our sun, but most of them also have habitable zones plenty big enough to hold one or more planets (or moons) with earthlike surface conditions.

        These smaller stars also have the advantage of longer lifespans. Red dwarf stars born a billion years before

  • Analogs? So that 1/3 are rocking turntables while the other 2/3 are all about the CDs or mp3s?

  • Which proves the existance of FTL travel since without it, even those issues editted by the great John W Campbell won't have reached beyond the closest handful of stars...

    • by AJWM (19027)

      Ha! I don't know how many others will get it, but as someone who has been reading Analog since the Campbell days and was recently inducted into the MAFIA*, I appreciated it.

      (* Members Appear Frequently In Analog, or Makes Appearances Frequently etc, depending on who you ask.)

      Cheers

  • "Other planets are warm without man made CO2!"
    • Please don't. This is an interesting scientific topic and I would rather not have it threadjacked over some damn holy war, no matter what side of the science/debate/politics/religion/controversy you are on.

      If there is a Mod listening, please flag this as off-topic, even if it is a joke.
  • So if there are that many earth-like worlds... Well, you know the question.

    • by RatBastard (949)

      Some have life. Some have, will have, or have had, intelligent life. On some of those worlds they haven't invented radio yet. On some they abandoned radio a long time ago. On some they will never make it that far. Some have died out long ago, leaving only their remains. Some have yet to evolve. Some are there, right now, but are too far away to be detected. At the scales we're talking about we may never meet anyone else before we go extinct.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        "they abandoned radio a long time ago" is interesting. I wonder if that was considered when Fermi first made the observation in 1950 -- that a civilization might only radiate detectable emissions during a small period of its existence. Not because it destroyed itself, but because it's a natural progression for a civilization to switch to lower power and ground based conduits shortly after they discover wireless communication.

  • by gatkinso (15975)

    Problematic word, that.

  • Another number you can plug into the Drake equation, FWIW.
  • I hope they have better luck with intelligent life than we've had.

  • Who said they don't make land any more?

  • I wonder what they taste like. I bet they are yummy. I wish I could live long enough to find out.

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