APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec 07)

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APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec 07)

Post by APOD Robot » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:05 am

Image Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec 07)

Explanation: It's the closest match to Earth that has yet been found. Recently discovered planet Kepler 22b has therefore instantly become the best place to find life outside our Solar System. The planet's host star, Kepler 22, is actually slightly smaller and cooler than the Sun, and lies 600 light-years from Earth toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus). The planet, Kepler 22b, is over twice the radius of the Earth and orbits slightly closer in, but lies in the habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface. Pictured above is an artist's depiction of how Kepler 22b might appear to an approaching spaceship, in comparison to the inner planets of our Solar System. Whether Kepler 22b actually contains water or life is currently unknown. A SETI project, however, will begin monitoring Kepler 22b for signs of intelligence.

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Beyond » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:39 am

2.4 times bigger than the earth. How much of an increase in gravity is that?
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:49 am

Beyond wrote:2.4 times bigger than the earth. How much of an increase in gravity is that?
The problem is, the mass hasn't been determined, only the size. If its density is the same as Earth's, its surface gravity would be about 2.5 g. But it could be much less dense- even down to a density of water- in which case its surface gravity would be less than that of the Earth, around 0.5 g.

Of course, even at 2.5 g there's no reason that life very similar to that on Earth couldn't flourish.
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islader2

Post by islader2 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:52 am

instantly becomes==let us not rush things.
finding life will take another century, at best==albeit life is out there now (statistically)

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by revloren » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:10 am

I'd like to know how the boundries of the green disc of the habitibal zone was arrived at. For our solar system, it seems to show orbit of Venus almost within the zone, while I've always imagined Venus as an extremely inhospitible place, with no chance for liquid water. Mars is pictured well within the zone, yet almost all water there would be perpetually frozen solid, yes?

I always thought Earth was the only planet in our system with 'Goldilocks' status. :?:

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Flase » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:34 am

If the density were the same as Earth, the gravity should be 2.43 which is like 14x Earth's gravity. If scales on Earth tell you you are 100kg, on this planet they would read 1400kg. Such a g force would knock you out and you would be jelly on the ground with bones cracking and blood coming out of your ears if you were teleported to this rock.

Actually I've just been reading that I'm wrong about that. Damn.

In our solar system, the heaviest elements concentrate in the inner planets making Venus and Mercury particularly dense so we shouldn't start planning any generation ships to go to Kepler 22b just yet...

The habitable zone is a bit vague because it matters so much on the atmosphere. Many sci-fi stories imagine terraforming Mars and maybe even Venus to be habitable. Venus would be a tall order, with an atmosphere so dense and a runaway greehouse effect so extreme that few probes have even survived a descent to the surface. The Russians kept losing probe after probe...

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Ann » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:37 am

revloren wrote:I'd like to know how the boundries of the green disc of the habitibal zone was arrived at. For our solar system, it seems to show orbit of Venus almost within the zone, while I've always imagined Venus as an extremely inhospitible place, with no chance for liquid water. Mars is pictured well within the zone, yet almost all water there would be perpetually frozen solid, yes?

I always thought Earth was the only planet in our system with 'Goldilocks' status. :?:
When I first got interested in astronomy, in 1969 (after I had seen 2001: A Space Odyssey), the common wisdom seemed to be that Venus was within the habitable zone of our solar system. Or at the very least, that's what I read in my first few books on astronomy.

As for Mars, I think that Chris Peterson, one of the most knowledgeable members of these boards, is of the opinion that Mars is definitely habitable. (I may have misunderstood him.) However, if I have understood him correctly, what makes Mars habitable would be that one or more species of hardy microbes could survive there. Whether or not there actually are any microbes on Mars is of less importance for the question of habitability, or so I believe that Chris's reasoning goes. The important thing is that there might well be microbes there, and if, for example, we humans were to accidentally send microbes to Mars on some of our probes or rovers, these microbes may survive there.

I note that Kepler 22b seems to be located rather close to the "inner edge of the habitable zone of its solar system". What that actually means for the temperature and general climate of Kepler 22b is anybody's guess. It is possible, however, that Kepler 22b may turn out to be a "Venus", a planet that is too hot to be an abode of life, even if it "ought to be" hospitable.

Or else Kepler 22b may not only be "habitable" in the sense that Mars is "habitable", but actually "very inhabited" and very full of life. Who knows? For now, it is anybody's guess.

Ann
Last edited by Ann on Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by saturn2 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:51 am

Kepler 22 System is very interesting.
This System can to have water and life.
Kepler 22b look like to Earth.
The center star of Kepler 22 System look like to our Sun

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Flase » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:55 am

I believe (just as an interested layperson who spends time drawing sci-fi comic books in my spare time) that it takes absolutely perfect conditions for the very first life to evolve. The fact that there are hardy lifeforms on Earth doesn't mean that there are any on Mars, but you could introduce them. Perhaps some of the probes already have...

The biggest problem with Kepler 22b would be crossing the void of inter-stellar space if colonisation were the object. But maybe with the evidence of the CERN Large Hadron Collider implying the possibility of exceeding the speed of light, somebody could even invent a warp drive that is even feasible. Of course Einstein would have to be wrong or something...

If the object were to find and communicate with aliens, then it would take 600 years to send a beam of radiation to greet them. With the extra gravity, they are probably small and squat creatures...

Guest

Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Guest » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:04 pm

Judging from the available parameters, Kepler 22b is a water world with a very deep ocean and heavy atmosphere. There is also the possibility that Kepler22b is a binary planetary system. Artists rendering is well received.

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by deathfleer » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:34 pm

I am still doubtful of the evolution of water and some minerals to something living

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by orin stepanek » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:52 pm

APOD Robot wrote: Whether Kepler 22b actually contains water or life is currently unknown. A SETI project, however, will begin monitoring Kepler 22b for signs of intelligence.
Ahh getting SETI involved! Wouldn't that be interesting if we got a signal? 8-) :D I think they will find more and more planets in habitable zones. Kepler is only a couple of years going and all ready it has over 2000 candidates! 8-)
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by walrus2646 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:35 pm

A true neophyte here but I am thrilled with the technology involved and the images that get portrayed .... my 'cynical old guy' question is What happened to Kepler 22a ?

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by All4vols » Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:40 pm

It is my understanding that habitable zone is dependent on many factors, many related to the planetary body itself, such as the gravity of the planet, it's magnetic field, density of atmosphere and proximity to other large bodies. For example, Mars doesn't have a protective magnetic field and gravity sufficient to hold an insulating atmosphere which would allow for warmer surface temperatures. Also, I understand water to be fairly uncommon in inner solar systems except where it is brought back to the liquid zone by some carrier, such as comets.

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:27 pm

Flase wrote:If the density were the same as Earth, the gravity should be 2.43 which is like 14x Earth's gravity. If scales on Earth tell you you are 100kg, on this planet they would read 1400kg. Such a g force would knock you out and you would be jelly on the ground with bones cracking and blood coming out of your ears if you were teleported to this rock.

Actually I've just been reading that I'm wrong about that. Damn.
Right. Because you were calculating the increased mass (which goes as the cube), but not allowing for the larger size, meaning you are farther from the center. For a given density, the surface gravity scales linearly with diameter. A planet ten times larger than Earth, but with the same density, will have ten times the surface gravity.
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:32 pm

revloren wrote:I'd like to know how the boundries of the green disc of the habitibal zone was arrived at. For our solar system, it seems to show orbit of Venus almost within the zone, while I've always imagined Venus as an extremely inhospitible place, with no chance for liquid water. Mars is pictured well within the zone, yet almost all water there would be perpetually frozen solid, yes?

I always thought Earth was the only planet in our system with 'Goldilocks' status. :?:
Venus, Earth, and Mars are all within the Goldilocks zone as the term is normally used. That's because all exist where they could support liquid water. The fact that Venus doesn't, and Mars is borderline, is an issue of their atmospheres, tectonics, and other matters not directly related to their positions.

Being in the Goldilocks zone is clearly not enough to result in a planet that could support life, but it's likely that most planets that do support life (as we understand it) do exist in such zones. So if you're looking for candidate planets to search for life, filtering first by position makes good sense.
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:36 pm

Ann wrote:As for Mars, I think that Chris Peterson, one of the most knowledgeable members of these boards, is of the opinion that Mars is definitely habitable. (I may have misunderstood him.) However, if I have understood him correctly, what makes Mars habitable would be that one or more species of hardy microbes could survive there. Whether or not there actually are any microbes on Mars is of less importance for the question of habitability, or so I believe that Chris's reasoning goes. The important thing is that there might well be microbes there, and if, for example, we humans were to accidentally send microbes to Mars on some of our probes or rovers, these microbes may survive there.
I don't think there is much doubt about this. Earth microbes have been demonstrated (in the lab) to survive under conditions that mimic those on Mars. Given the adaptability of life as we observe it on Earth, it is reasonable to conclude that if life ever existed on Mars, it could still exist there.
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:42 pm

walrus2646 wrote:A true neophyte here but I am thrilled with the technology involved and the images that get portrayed .... my 'cynical old guy' question is What happened to Kepler 22a ?
Kepler 22a is the star itself, usually just shortened to Kepler 22.
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by zloq » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:16 pm

Chris Peterson wrote: Kepler 22a is the star itself, usually just shortened to Kepler 22.
I see the little wiki page says that - but it looks sloppy. I think the convention is to use Kepler 22 for the star *system* (i.e. the star and all discovered planets) and 22a to denote the central star in that system. Then b is the first planet discovered orbiting that star.

So you never have a Kepler N system unless you already decided to look at the particular star, and then found an exoplanet.

Kepler N is the star/planet system, Kepler Na is the central star, and Kepler Nb is the first planet found - apparently.

For Kepler 16, which is a system comprising a planet orbiting a binary star, it looks like they still call the central binary star Kepler 16a, but it is composed of two stars, A and B. Meanwhile the one known planet is Kepler 16b - as usual.

Seems like a useful convention. I think it's good to separate Kepler 22 from the star itself - just like it's good not to have "our solar system" get confused with just the sun itself.

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:26 pm

zloq wrote:I see the little wiki page says that - but it looks sloppy. I think the convention is to use Kepler 22 for the star *system* (i.e. the star and all discovered planets) and 22a to denote the central star in that system. Then b is the first planet discovered orbiting that star.
Yes, I think I've read that, as well. It seems a pretty natural shorthand to refer to the central star (if there is just one) by the same name as the system as a whole. In most cases, there would be no possibility for confusion in doing that.
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Wolf Kotenberg » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:45 pm

Many greetings
How did you ( or your predecessors ) come up with " Cloudbait Observatory " as a name ?

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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:49 pm

Wolf Kotenberg wrote:Many greetings
How did you ( or your predecessors ) come up with " Cloudbait Observatory " as a name ?
Me. It's a play on the well known observation by amateur astronomers that the more you invest in astronomical equipment, the longer period of cloudy weather you can expect.
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by zloq » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:30 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:It seems a pretty natural shorthand to refer to the central star (if there is just one) by the same name as the system as a whole. In most cases, there would be no possibility for confusion in doing that.
I think the key difference is that the Kepler catalog isn't a catalog of stars, some of which have planets - it is explicitly a catalog of discovered star/exoplanet systems. If anything - it might make more sense to shorten Kepler 22 to be the exoplanet - since that's where most of the interest lies. But I would rather not shorten anything since the clarity provided by the convention is helpful. Kepler 22 is like our solar system - it is number 22 in the catalog of star/planet systems identified by the Kepler mission; Kepler 22a is like our Sun; Kepler 22b is like our Earth.

I think the convention is pretty clear - and useful - and the Wiki page is bad, and shouldn't have been used as a reference for the name. The caption should say, "The planet's host star, Kepler 22a, ..."

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Post by neufer » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:32 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler-22b wrote:
<<At 2.4 times the size of the Earth, Kepler 22b is substantially larger than Earth and may therefore have a different composition. For example, the newly discovered planet may not be Earth-like, but rather more like Neptune, which is mostly ocean with a small rocky core. Nonetheless, Natalie Batalha, one of the scientists on the project, speculated "it's not beyond the realm of possibility that life could exist in such an ocean.">>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterworld wrote: Mariner: What are the markings on her back?

Helen: Some say it's the way to dry land.

Mariner: Dry land is a myth.

Helen: No, you said it yourself, that you've seen it.

Mariner: You're a fool to believe in something you've never seen.

Helen: But the things on your boat...!

Mariner: The things on my boat, what?

Helen: There are things on your boat that no one has ever seen. These shells, the music box and the reflecting glass. Well, if not from dry land, then where? Where?

<<Waterworld is a 1995 post-apocalyptic science fiction film. The film was directed by Kevin Reynolds and co-written by Peter Rader and David Twohy. It is based on Rader's original 1986 screenplay and stars Kevin Costner, who also produced it. Waterworld was released to mixed reviews, despite being moderately successful at the international box office. The film's release was accompanied by a tie-in novel and video game, and also three popular themed attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood, Singapore and Japan called Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular, which are all still running as of 2011.

The setting of the film is the distant future. Although no exact date was given in the film itself, it has been suggested that it took place in 2500. The polar ice caps have completely melted, and the sea level has risen many hundreds of metres, covering virtually all the land. The film illustrates this with an unusual variation on the Universal logo, which begins with the usual image of Earth, but shows the planet's water levels gradually rising and the polar ice caps melting as well until virtually all the land is submerged. The plot of the film centers on an otherwise nameless antihero, "the Mariner," a drifter who sails the Earth in his trimaran.

Some humans have developed genetic mutations allowing them to deal with the aquatic environment; they have webbed feet, which enable them to swim at high speeds, and gills located behind the ears, allowing them to breathe underwater. This lets them explore the previous drowned civilizations, scavenging for supplies and materials. In addition to their speed and stealth, they are also very strong. They also have the sense of electroreception either above or below the water, being able to tell when it is about to rain. Old Gregor refers to these genetic mutants as Ichthyus sapiens (Latin for "wise fish"). The Deacon also refers to the Mariner in this way, calling him an "Ichthy-demon". The other less educated atollers refer to them as "mute-o." The Mariner is such a mutant, although no other mutants are ever seen. However, from certain lines of dialogue in the film, it is clear there are more of his kind. The leader of the Smokers, the Deacon, refers to the protagonist as a "guppy freak," and, in line with his quasi-religious nature, believes that no such "abominations" should exist in nature. It is stated that Ichthyus sapiens do not need to eat for days on end.
  • George Costanza: What's the deal with Aquaman? Could he go on land, or was he just restricted to water?

    Jerry Seinfeld: No, I think I saw him on land a couple times.
........................................................................

An antihero drifter known only as "the Mariner" (Kevin Costner), sails the seas in his trimaran. He enters an artificial atoll seeking to trade dirt, which is now a precious commodity. The fearful atollers vote to "recycle" him by drowning him in a yellow sludge brine pool. At that moment pirates, known as "Smokers", raid the atoll, as they were tipped off by a Smoker spy posing as a trader (Gerard Murphy), known as "the Nord."

The Smokers are searching for an orphan girl named Enola (Tina Majorino), who has what appears to be a map and directions to Dryland tattooed on her back. The girl and her guardian, Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn), the atoll's shopkeeper, plan to escape with Gregor (Michael Jeter), the atoll's expert inventor, in the hopes of finding Dryland. Unfortunately, Gregor's escape method, a hot air balloon made of old rags, launches too early with him on it, leaving Helen and Enola stranded. Instead, they escape with the Mariner, who agrees to take them with him as they saved his life. He is ill at ease with their company, though, as he prefers solitude, and he finds them to be a nuisance. Chasing them is "the Deacon" (Dennis Hopper), who is the captain of a derelict oil tanker, the Exxon Valdez, and the leader of the Smokers. He wants the map to Dryland and has a number of skirmishes with the Mariner while trying to get Enola. After Helen's naive actions during a battle with the Smokers results in significant damage to the Mariner's boat, he angrily cuts their hair very short. After this incident, however, the Mariner gradually warms up to them, and teaches Enola to swim.

Helen, convinced that Dryland exists, demands to know where the Mariner finds his dirt. The Mariner, able to breathe underwater, puts her in a diving bell, and swims down to the ruins of Denver. While they are underwater, the Deacon and his Smokers board the boat. The Mariner and Helen escape as the Deacon burns it and captures Enola. Since Helen cannot breathe underwater, the Mariner breathes for the both of them, resulting in an underwater kiss of life. They resurface and board the wreckage of the Mariner's trimaran, where they are later rescued by Gregor. He takes them to a new makeshift atoll where the survivors of the first atoll attack have regrouped.

Using a jet ski, the Mariner chases down the Exxon Valdez and boards it. There, the Deacon is having a celebration, tossing gifts of cigarettes and Smeat (cans of Spam) to the crew, proclaiming they have found the map to Dryland. After they have all gone below decks to row, the Mariner walks out onto the deck and threatens to drop a flare into the oil reserves unless the Deacon releases Enola. The Deacon, believing that the Mariner is bluffing, refuses. The Mariner drops the flare into the vent leading to the oil reserves.

The ship explodes, and the Mariner escapes with Enola by climbing a rope up to Gregor's balloon. The Deacon, still alive, makes a grab for Enola, but Helen throws a metal object which strikes him in the forehead, causing him to fall into the water. He then pulls out his pistol and shoots at the balloon, hitting one of the lines, causing Enola to fall into the sea. The Deacon and two other Smokers, all on jet skis, converge on Enola. The Mariner ties a rope around his ankle and bungee jumps down to grab Enola, pulling her out of the water just as the jet skis collide and explode.

Gregor figures out the map, translating the Asian symbols using an old and tattered China Airlines magazine, realises they are latitude and longitude coordinates, and steers his balloon in that direction. The group indeed finds Dryland, which turns out to be the peak of Mount Everest, which is still above sea level. Gregor, Enola, Helen and the others land on the island and find the skeletons of Enola's parents. They then begin civilization anew on the island, but the Mariner decides he must leave. Enola, saddened to hear the Mariner is going, asks why. He explains that he does not belong on land, and that the ocean, his only home, calls to him. He builds a new, wooden boat on the beach and sails off.>>
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Re: APOD: Kepler 22b: An Almost Earth Orbiting... (2011 Dec

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:51 pm

zloq wrote:I think the convention is pretty clear - and useful - and the Wiki page is bad, and shouldn't have been used as a reference for the name. The caption should say, "The planet's host star, Kepler 22a, ..."
It's not just Wikipedia. The Kepler site itself calls the star Kepler 22 most of the time, as do other technical sites reporting on the matter. LIke I said, I think it's just a natural way of speaking.
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