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(NBC News)   Scientists believe dead stars could support life. "No shiat," says Yoko Ono   (science.nbcnews.com) divider line 48
    More: Interesting, white dwarfs, outer planets, James Webb Space Telescope, Center for Astrophysics, Discovery News, kepler space telescope, red giants, heavy elements  
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2140 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Feb 2013 at 5:29 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-27 03:32:44 PM
Good jerb, subby.
 
2013-02-27 03:37:00 PM
Well, there's your HOTY (Entertainment.)
 
2013-02-27 03:44:01 PM

Sliding Carp: Well, there's your HOTY (Entertainment.)


seconded
 
2013-02-27 04:25:58 PM
Heh...

\thirded
 
2013-02-27 04:38:51 PM
Subby needs to take a bow.
 
2013-02-27 04:49:04 PM
Along the shore the cloud waves break,The twin suns sink behind the lake,The shadows lengthenIn Carcosa.Strange is the night where black stars rise,And strange moons circle through the skies,But stranger still isLost Carcosa.Songs that the Hyades shall sing,Where flap the tatters of the King,Must die unheard inDim Carcosa.Song of my soul, my voice is dead,Die thou, unsung, as tears unshedShall dry and die inLost Carcosa.-"Cassilda's Song" in The King in Yellow Act 1, Scene 2
 
2013-02-27 04:53:33 PM
Love it, subby.
 
2013-02-27 04:55:35 PM

Sliding Carp: Well, there's your HOTY (Entertainment.)

 
2013-02-27 04:58:39 PM
*snert*

/nice
 
2013-02-27 05:17:20 PM

Weaver95: Along the shore the cloud waves break,The twin suns sink behind the lake,The shadows lengthenIn Carcosa.Strange is the night where black stars rise,And strange moons circle through the skies,But stranger still isLost Carcosa.Songs that the Hyades shall sing,Where flap the tatters of the King,Must die unheard inDim Carcosa.Song of my soul, my voice is dead,Die thou, unsung, as tears unshedShall dry and die inLost Carcosa.-"Cassilda's Song" in The King in Yellow Act 1, Scene 2


Stranger still is the post-of-the-missing-spaces, that elusive creature, celestial tides sucking at the marrow at its core until the edges fold and wrinkle like cosmic origami, until the gaps shrink and it collapses in upon itself.

"Weaver's impoperly gapped post song", in "Dead star thread", Act 1 scene 1
 
2013-02-27 05:41:39 PM
Wow, first the heavy water headline and now this.

/+1, +2 if subby is the same person.
 
2013-02-27 05:43:18 PM
Huh. Interesting.

How would the hypothetical planet still have an atmosphere after having gone through the parent star's red giant phase?

"Outer planets may migrate inward, closer to the star, and new worlds may form. Not all will be in stable orbits, but an Earth-sized world located [in white dwarfs' habitable zone, one that would have it circle its parent star in just 10 hours] would have a temperature roughly the same as Earth's. At that distance, the planet could have liquid water on its surface, a condition believed to be necessary for life."

OK ... Unlikelier things have happened. Intelligent life on Earth, for one...
 
2013-02-27 05:47:20 PM
Well done subby!
 
2013-02-27 05:49:06 PM

StopLurkListen: Huh. Interesting.

How would the hypothetical planet still have an atmosphere after having gone through the parent star's red giant phase?

"Outer planets may migrate inward, closer to the star, and new worlds may form. Not all will be in stable orbits, but an Earth-sized world located [in white dwarfs' habitable zone, one that would have it circle its parent star in just 10 hours] would have a temperature roughly the same as Earth's. At that distance, the planet could have liquid water on its surface, a condition believed to be necessary for life."

OK ... Unlikelier things have happened. Intelligent life on Earth, for one...


Jury's still out on that one.
 
2013-02-27 05:49:28 PM

PainInTheASP: Wow, first the heavy water headline and now this.

/+1, +2 if subby is the same person.


Link for the heavy water one? I must have missed it.
 
2013-02-27 05:49:53 PM

StopLurkListen: Huh. Interesting.

How would the hypothetical planet still have an atmosphere after having gone through the parent star's red giant phase?

"Outer planets may migrate inward, closer to the star, and new worlds may form. Not all will be in stable orbits, but an Earth-sized world located [in white dwarfs' habitable zone, one that would have it circle its parent star in just 10 hours] would have a temperature roughly the same as Earth's. At that distance, the planet could have liquid water on its surface, a condition believed to be necessary for life."

OK ... Unlikelier things have happened. Intelligent life on Earth, for one...


When did THAT happen?
 
2013-02-27 05:58:35 PM

Dazrin: PainInTheASP: Wow, first the heavy water headline and now this.

/+1, +2 if subby is the same person.

Link for the heavy water one? I must have missed it.


It's going to hit the main page around six.  Not fantastic but it made me chuckle.  And no, you're just going to have to wait/  :-)
 
2013-02-27 06:20:46 PM
You.

Magnificent.

Bastard.
 
2013-02-27 06:31:13 PM
Best headline I've seen in awhile, but I drink a lot, so...
 
2013-02-27 06:32:40 PM
Yoko Ono is not life.  It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are deaf.
 
2013-02-27 07:06:19 PM
How long would it take a white dwarf to cool to black dwarf? If such a planet existed, it could hang around in the habitable zone for billions of years.
 
2013-02-27 07:29:46 PM
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-02-27 07:56:03 PM

Weaver95: Along the shore the cloud waves break,The twin suns sink behind the lake,The shadows lengthenIn Carcosa.Strange is the night where black stars rise,And strange moons circle through the skies,But stranger still isLost Carcosa.Songs that the Hyades shall sing,Where flap the tatters of the King,Must die unheard inDim Carcosa.Song of my soul, my voice is dead,Die thou, unsung, as tears unshedShall dry and die inLost Carcosa.-"Cassilda's Song" in The King in Yellow Act 1, Scene 2


Just keep it to the first act, please and thank you
 
2013-02-27 08:11:08 PM
Been there, done that.
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-02-27 08:13:15 PM
Why is Yoko Ono like a Somalian? They both live off dead beetles.
 
2013-02-27 08:46:04 PM

DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: Been there, done that.
[upload.wikimedia.org image 176x255]


It was a fun read as a teen, but Forward's prose ... ouch. He's more fun when he's being professorial.

ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2013-02-27 09:02:20 PM
+1 with a 'golf clap' subby.
 
2013-02-27 09:19:42 PM

WTF Indeed: Subby needs to take a bow.


A bow? Fark that. Subby should get free TF for life.
 
2013-02-27 09:24:23 PM

Sliding Carp: Well, there's your HOTY (Entertainment.)

 
2013-02-27 09:26:24 PM
Beautiful.
 
2013-02-27 09:35:43 PM

theorellior: How long would it take a white dwarf to cool to black dwarf? If such a planet existed, it could hang around in the habitable zone for billions of years.


According to Wikipedia, there aren't any black dwarf stars yet because it takes longer than the current age of the universe for a white dwarf to cool off enough. The temperature of white dwarf stars is one way to gauge the age of the universe. That kind of shiat is above my pay grade though.
 
2013-02-27 11:01:14 PM
Nice.... Thats a nice headline right there
 
2013-02-28 12:05:50 AM
Problem is the planet is tidally locked at that distance.

Damn astronomers should pull their thumbs out and quit looking for short-period planets. They're all worthless and freakish.
 
2013-02-28 01:30:14 AM
I read your headline, you magnificent bastard.
 
2013-02-28 01:53:57 AM
it's funny because Yoko Ono was near The Beatles then their inflated egos blew it up
 
2013-02-28 04:06:11 AM

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Problem is the planet is tidally locked at that distance.

Damn astronomers should pull their thumbs out and quit looking for short-period planets. They're all worthless and freakish.


They aren't looking for those as such, it is simply that those are

1. possible to see with current tech
2. staging posts on the way to seeing more earth-like examples
3. extremely scientifically informative.
 
2013-02-28 08:38:10 AM

theorellior: How long would it take a white dwarf to cool to black dwarf? If such a planet existed, it could hang around in the habitable zone for billions of years.


10^15 years or so. Even if the white dwarf only stayed warm enough to support life for a thousandth of that time, that's still a billion years.

Of course, there's the question of how a planet gets into a white dwarf's habitable zone in the first place. Maybe something like a planet orbiting at the distance of Mars or so when the parent star sheds most of its mass, and then spirals inward due to drag from the planetary nebula. Although that should be offset by reduced gravity from the parent star.

So maybe these are supposed to be rogue planets that got gravitationally captured?
 
2013-02-28 08:46:52 AM
And, you know, the thing about Yoko.... She's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When she comes at ya, doesn't seem to be living. Until she bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then... ah....

Then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin' as she sings one of her tracks from Double Fantasy.
 
2013-02-28 08:54:00 AM
Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy:billion

Trillion, even.
 
2013-02-28 09:12:00 AM
Nice one subby.
 
2013-02-28 09:22:44 AM
A few years ago Paul wanted to put out some Beatles songs that he wrote credited "McCartney-Lennon" instead of the originally agreed upon "Lennon-McCartney." Yoko threatened to sue. Although she is technically legally in the right, fark that ugly, no-talent biatch. fark her to hell.
 
2013-02-28 09:23:19 AM
Oh, and fantastic headline, +1.
 
2013-02-28 09:39:39 AM

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Problem is the planet is tidally locked at that distance.

Damn astronomers should pull their thumbs out and quit looking for short-period planets. They're all worthless and freakish.


Another problem is that in the process of becoming a white dwarf, I suspect all that system's inner planets would be cooked or at least stripped of their water and atmospheres.

So is this a case of a frozen planet gradually spiralling in to a stable orbit that is "moth vs. lightbulb"?

Hmmm. Doubtful.
 
2013-02-28 11:58:51 AM

Valiente: Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Problem is the planet is tidally locked at that distance.

Damn astronomers should pull their thumbs out and quit looking for short-period planets. They're all worthless and freakish.

Another problem is that in the process of becoming a white dwarf, I suspect all that system's inner planets would be cooked or at least stripped of their water and atmospheres.

So is this a case of a frozen planet gradually spiralling in to a stable orbit that is "moth vs. lightbulb"?


I think the idea is that the mass ejection of the nova makes the planets change orbits, and they maybe even shuffle around through orbital interference. E.g. Ganymede and Io could get stripped from Jupiter and move in to become inner planets, or Neptune throws Pluto inwards. Supposedly when you mess with the gravity in a system by changing the mass of the sun, it causes orbital instability that then has to resolve itself.

And hey, maybe the mass ejection screws up the Oort cloud, so after the inner planets get cooked they get a new bombardment of water from comets.

Though this doesn't change the idea that a tidally locked short-period planet is crap.
 
2013-02-28 01:17:35 PM

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Problem is the planet is tidally locked at that distance.

Damn astronomers should pull their thumbs out and quit looking for short-period planets. They're all worthless and freakish.


Give us a flashlight, and we'll start looking for our keys other places besides under the lamppost.

I'll never have proof, but I suspect that for every poster like you here on Earth, there are a dozen posters on tidally-locked planets guffawing (or whatever it is they do) about the notion of life in the hideously unstable environment of an independently-rotating planet. I mean, you'd go from day-side to night-side conditions many times a year, with no chance to establish a stable zonally-segregated ecosystem. Sure, some scientists speculate that life might have evolved while their planet was still spinning, but nobody takes them seriously.
 
2013-02-28 04:57:18 PM
Let's see here. One stellar mass object at a million miles away. The tides on that planet would be measured in miles. It would not be habitable if it had water on the surface. The earth itself bulges out due to the gravity of the moon, it's not a lot but it is measurable. There would be enormous earthquakes on land from the stress caused by a one solar mass object a million miles away. So it would also not be habitable if there was no water on the surface.
 
2013-02-28 07:37:23 PM

Suckmaster Burstingfoam: Problem is the planet is tidally locked at that distance.

Damn astronomers should pull their thumbs out and quit looking for short-period planets. They're all worthless and freakish.


The "damn astronomers" are making the best of current technology, and steadily pushing it farther. While you've done... what, exactly, about this?

Also, a moon tidally locked instead to its gas giant host might fair better perhaps. I don't know nearly enough to say to what extent the interplay between the various tidal effects would make its orbit around the gas giant decay, however.


red230: Let's see here. One stellar mass object at a million miles away. The tides on that planet would be measured in miles. It would not be habitable if it had water on the surface. The earth itself bulges out due to the gravity of the moon, it's not a lot but it is measurable. There would be enormous earthquakes on land from the stress caused by a one solar mass object a million miles away. So it would also not be habitable if there was no water on the surface.


The rotational poles might be calmer. Also, habitable by what? Some things, even if just microscopic life floating in the shifting seas, might survive the scenario you describe.
 
2013-02-28 11:01:03 PM
So I checked out the original paper, and it's fascinating.

The hypothesized planets are probably not the original planets that once existed around the star. They're reformed out of the debris left over after the progenitor star, as a red giant, puffed away its mass towards the end of its life. The paper suggests a cooling white dwarf takes about 10 billion years to cool off, during which there's a continuously habitable zone for about three billion of those years. That's about as long as it took oxygen-spewing life to form on Earth. So, start with a population of white dwarf stars, and observe the ones that, by magnitude, appear to have entered the white dwarf stage more than three billion years ago.

Because the white dwarf is so dense, any planet close enough to it to be habitable is going to be pretty damn close to the Roche limit, and that means it'll have an orbital period measured in hours, not years, so you don't have to observe it for decades in order to get a signal. Also, because the dwarf is so dense, it's about the same physical size as a planet despite having a mass of about 0.6 solar masses. Because the planets are huge (in radius) compared to the size of their stars, it's more likely that if they exist within a million miles of the white dwarf, they will transit and will be detectable. Because the white dwarf is relatively small and dim compared to a real live star, a space-based telescope will also have an easier time detecting any atmospheric signature such a planet might have - including any oxygen signature that would be drowned out by our own atmosphere for ground-based observers.

So they propose to look at 500 middle-aged white dwarfs within about 130 light years, figure out how many actually have planets, and of those, look for any atmospheres, and if you find oxygen, ozone, or other biomarkers that you can't explain away by other means (the authors point out that a 3 billion year old white dwarf isn't producing anywhere near as much UV as it was when it was young), then, maybe, just maybe, you get to freak out.
 
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