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(Big Think)   We've discovered more super-Earths than any other exoplanet. But are they really the most common planet in the Universe?   (bigthink.com) divider line
    More: Unlikely, Planet, Extrasolar planet, Solar System, Terrestrial planet, abundant type of planet, surprising find, Super Earths, main methods  
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451 clicks; posted to STEM » on 21 Jan 2022 at 8:09 AM (16 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-01-21 8:20:17 AM  
It was at that moment with the discovery of so many super Earths that humanity realized they were normal Earths and got stuck with the runt of the litter.
 
2022-01-21 8:30:23 AM  
It's just observer/observational bias.
 
2022-01-21 8:43:34 AM  
We have no idea what's going on with planets in other galaxies, and never will.
 
2022-01-21 8:53:30 AM  
We discover planets by seeing small blips in the light output of a star.

Of course we'll find more of the bigger planets. They create the more noticeable blips.

/DNRTFA
 
2022-01-21 9:19:19 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-01-21 9:28:22 AM  
There is an abundance of Bizarro Earth's just on this planet.
 
2022-01-21 9:28:44 AM  
Dang autocorrect apostrophe
 
2022-01-21 10:01:51 AM  
Current models suggest that habitability is more likely as you get towards the larger end of the rocky planet scale.  Rather than being average (what is usually assumed until we find evidence indicating otherwise), we may be closer to the lower bound.  Which is nice, because we get rockets that can reach orbit.

So if our current exoplanet hunting technology is biased towards the larger rocks, there's a reasonable chance that is increasing our odds of finding one with detectable signs of life, which is cool.
 
2022-01-21 10:24:06 AM  
No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe
 
2022-01-21 10:26:08 AM  
Weren't super-Earths easier to spot early on and thus potentially overrepresented in the data?
 
2022-01-21 10:29:36 AM  

lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe


Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.
 
2022-01-21 10:39:31 AM  

Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.


Yeah, but not all sand on all beaches everywhere.
 
2022-01-21 11:07:28 AM  

discoballer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.

Yeah, but not all sand on all beaches everywhere.


In this analogy, the single beach represents the observable universe.
 
2022-01-21 11:43:48 AM  

Unsung_Hero: discoballer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.

Yeah, but not all sand on all beaches everywhere.

In this analogy, the single beach represents the observable universe.


Then it's a bad analogy based on the assumption that the universe is broadly the same everywhere within it.
 
2022-01-21 11:56:45 AM  

discoballer: based on the assumption that the universe is broadly the same everywhere within it.


No, it's an analogy attempting to explain to you that the universe is broadly the same everywhere within it.

If you choose not to accept that, that's your problem.
 
2022-01-21 12:25:16 PM  

Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.


Remind me again how many assumptions about the formation cycle of the universe have been flat out wrong?

Do we even have a single solid theory on the rules for how a solar system forms?
 
2022-01-21 12:26:14 PM  

Unsung_Hero: discoballer: based on the assumption that the universe is broadly the same everywhere within it.

No, it's an analogy attempting to explain to you that the universe is broadly the same everywhere within it.

If you choose not to accept that, that's your problem.


It's not a problem for me. I still think your analogy is bad.
 
2022-01-21 12:36:17 PM  

lifeslammer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.

Remind me again how many assumptions about the formation cycle of the universe have been flat out wrong?

Do we even have a single solid theory on the rules for how a solar system forms?


Remind me how any of that changes the laws of physics over distance.  Remind me how this happens without generating any evidence of it for our telescopes to collect.

On large scales, the universe is homogeneous.  You can say it isn't so, but you will have zero evidence for it which is why you will not find anyone with any kind of significant background in physics or astronomy and without mental illness to support your position.
 
2022-01-21 12:59:00 PM  

Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.

Remind me again how many assumptions about the formation cycle of the universe have been flat out wrong?

Do we even have a single solid theory on the rules for how a solar system forms?

Remind me how any of that changes the laws of physics over distance.  Remind me how this happens without generating any evidence of it for our telescopes to collect.

On large scales, the universe is homogeneous.  You can say it isn't so, but you will have zero evidence for it which is why you will not find anyone with any kind of significant background in physics or astronomy and without mental illness to support your position.


Ah yes. failed arguments ignoring facts. Ok lets change the question so you dont have to think as hard.

The farthest observed planets are SWEEPS-04 and -11, 27,700 light years away (give or take). Our galaxy is 100,000 light years across. So if we assume that we have the ability to find planets closer than or as far away as 27,700 LY that gives us an observable area of 2.410 million LY in a galaxy with an area of 7.854 million LY. If that was the only area in our comparison that would seem like a damn fine job, and having half the galaxy in our potential sample size would be fantastic for getting results.

The problem is rather obvious when you replace the word "galaxy" with "universe". The current estimate for the size of the known universe is somewhere around 46 BILLION LY in radius (earth to edge of known universe). Just a flat circle like a galaxy would have an area of 6.65x1021 LY. As far as we can tell, its a sphere. So the volume of a sphere with a 46 billion LY radius turns into 4.077x1032

What the fark is a sample size of half a galaxy good for when declaring absurd bullshiat about the makeup of the universe? (oh and im assuming you are one of those people who know that there were likely over 30 mars sized planets bouncing around the inner solar system in the early days yes?)
 
2022-01-21 1:08:55 PM  
It would be really odd if there were more super-earths (or mini-Neptunes) in the universe than smaller terrestrial planets. Most of the time, you'll find a relatively low number of really big things, a much greater number of medium-sized things, then a whole bunch more smaller things, and so on... just like there are a few really large stars, a much greater number of medium stars, then a whole bunch more red dwarfs. Or the same thing with planets, moons, and asteroids. Or with large animals, medium-sized animals, and small animals.
 
2022-01-21 1:11:21 PM  

lifeslammer: Ah yes. failed arguments ignoring facts. Ok lets change the question so you dont have to think as hard.


All of astronomy and physics say you're an idiot, it's not just me.  Maybe see if you can get into a university or something, take an appropriate course, and then get flunked out by a prof.
 
2022-01-21 1:34:25 PM  

Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.

Remind me again how many assumptions about the formation cycle of the universe have been flat out wrong?

Do we even have a single solid theory on the rules for how a solar system forms?

Remind me how any of that changes the laws of physics over distance.  Remind me how this happens without generating any evidence of it for our telescopes to collect.

On large scales, the universe is homogeneous.  You can say it isn't so, but you will have zero evidence for it which is why you will not find anyone with any kind of significant background in physics or astronomy and without mental illness to support your position.


The scale you're talking about is such that it is irrelevant for our experience of the universe. Your analogy is bad. The universe being homogenous is irrelevant to our actual perception of it.
 
2022-01-21 1:35:54 PM  
No, they're just easier to find because they're big.
 
2022-01-21 2:32:59 PM  
Super-Earths, which are in fact not very Earth like.

Dummies.
 
2022-01-21 2:44:12 PM  

Tyrone Slothrop: We have no idea what's going on with planets in other galaxies, and never will.


One thing for sure

With billions of planets only earth has advanced life


Snicker
 
2022-01-21 2:45:14 PM  

DerAppie: We discover planets by seeing small blips in the light output of a star.

Of course we'll find more of the bigger planets. They create the more noticeable blips.

/DNRTFA


As long as they dont have space aliens on them we're good
 
2022-01-21 2:51:28 PM  

lifeslammer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.

Remind me again how many assumptions about the formation cycle of the universe have been flat out wrong?

Do we even have a single solid theory on the rules for how a solar system forms?

Remind me how any of that changes the laws of physics over distance.  Remind me how this happens without generating any evidence of it for our telescopes to collect.

On large scales, the universe is homogeneous.  You can say it isn't so, but you will have zero evidence for it which is why you will not find anyone with any kind of significant background in physics or astronomy and without mental illness to support your position.

Ah yes. failed arguments ignoring facts. Ok lets change the question so you dont have to think as hard.

The farthest observed planets are SWEEPS-04 and -11, 27,700 light years away (give or take). Our galaxy is 100,000 light years across. So if we assume that we have the ability to find planets closer than or as far away as 27,700 LY that gives us an observable area of 2.410 million LY in a galaxy with an area of 7.854 million LY. If that was the only area in our comparison that would seem like a damn fine job, and having half the galaxy in our potential sample size would be fantastic for getting results.

The problem is rather obvious when you replace the word "galaxy" with "universe". The current estimate for the size of the known universe is somewhere around 46 BILLION LY in radius (earth to edge of known universe). Just a flat circle like a galaxy would have an area of 6.65x1021 LY. As far as we can tell, its a sphere. So the volume of a sphere with a 46 billion LY radius turns into 4.077x1032

What the fark is a sample size of half a galaxy good for when declaring absurd bullshiat about the makeup of the universe? (oh and im assuming you are one of those people who know that there were likely over 30 mars sized planets bouncing around the inner solar system in the early days yes?)


There are approx 10 to the 77th power number of atoms in the known visible universe.

Also approx the same number of bitcoin private keys available.
 
2022-01-21 4:56:11 PM  

Unsung_Hero: Current models suggest that habitability is more likely as you get towards the larger end of the rocky planet scale.  Rather than being average (what is usually assumed until we find evidence indicating otherwise), we may be closer to the lower bound.  Which is nice, because we get rockets that can reach orbit.

So if our current exoplanet hunting technology is biased towards the larger rocks, there's a reasonable chance that is increasing our odds of finding one with detectable signs of life, which is cool.


That means we'll be heavier most places we go, so everybody needs to start doing squats.
 
2022-01-21 5:04:45 PM  

lifeslammer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: Unsung_Hero: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Actually, yes you can, because at large enough scales it's just lots and lots of repetition.  If you're on a beach and you pick up a handful of sand to examine, you can be pretty confident your sample will represent all the sand on the beach.

Remind me again how many assumptions about the formation cycle of the universe have been flat out wrong?

Do we even have a single solid theory on the rules for how a solar system forms?

Remind me how any of that changes the laws of physics over distance.  Remind me how this happens without generating any evidence of it for our telescopes to collect.

On large scales, the universe is homogeneous.  You can say it isn't so, but you will have zero evidence for it which is why you will not find anyone with any kind of significant background in physics or astronomy and without mental illness to support your position.

Ah yes. failed arguments ignoring facts. Ok lets change the question so you dont have to think as hard.

The farthest observed planets are SWEEPS-04 and -11, 27,700 light years away (give or take). Our galaxy is 100,000 light years across. So if we assume that we have the ability to find planets closer than or as far away as 27,700 LY that gives us an observable area of 2.410 million LY in a galaxy with an area of 7.854 million LY. If that was the only area in our comparison that would seem like a damn fine job, and having half the galaxy in our potential sample size would be fantastic for getting results.

The problem is rather obvious when you replace the word "galaxy" with "universe". The current estimate for the size of the known universe is somewhere around 46 BILLION LY in radius (earth to edge of known universe). Just a flat circle like a galaxy would have an area of 6.65x1021 LY. As far as we can tell, its a sphere. So the volume of a ...


Do you have a *single* iota of evidence supporting the idea that our galaxy is fundamentally different than the others despite?
 
2022-01-21 7:07:26 PM  

lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe


Incorrect. It is safe to assume many things exist in an infinite universe.
 
2022-01-21 10:50:45 PM  
You're biased by size.  They're probably more common than neptunes and jupiters, but that doesn't make them the MOST common.  maybe marses are.
 
2022-01-22 3:09:13 AM  

Doodenkoff: lifeslammer: No, you cannot assume whats in the universe when your sample size is one trillionth of one trillionth of 1% of the universe

Incorrect. It is safe to assume many things exist in an infinite universe.


According to Douglas Adams, given that the volume of the universe is infinite there must be an infinite number of worlds. But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are. Any finite number divided by infinity is zero, therefore the average population of the Universe is zero, and so the total population must be zero.

Accordingly, anyone you meet is a figment of your imagination, including you.
 
2022-01-22 8:49:19 AM  

englaja: But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are.


Given an infinite universe, this is a bad conjecture.

∞ - 1 = ∞
 
2022-01-22 11:27:10 AM  

Doodenkoff: englaja: But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are.

Given an infinite universe, this is a bad conjecture.

∞ - 1 = ∞


Which is why it is comedy writing, and not science writing. Comedy writing doesn't have to deal with different kinds of infinity.
 
2022-01-22 12:40:50 PM  

Nintenfreak: You're biased by size.  They're probably more common than neptunes and jupiters, but that doesn't make them the MOST common.  maybe marses are.


Actually our solar system is really weird. Like, WAY weird.

The current theories (yes, multiple) for the full formation cycle of the system roughly go as follows...

First the Grand Tack Hypothesis which says that during its formation, Jupiter started drifting from the outer to inner system. While it formed 3.5 AU out, it moved as close as 1.5 AU and then because of saturn forming at almost the same time, was pulled out to its current 5.2 AU distance from the sun. Because of the drift, it likely stole almost all of the material that would have otherwise built Mars to be larger than it is. However, at the same time there were also 5 or 6 super earths (planets up to 10x size of earth) in the space between the sun and the current orbit of Mercury.

However, the theory couldnt well explain the lack of super earths anywhere or evidence of them. It was further altered to the Grand Attack Theory where the smaller bodies that came to the inner system as Jupiter was drifting inwards kept going after Jupiter started to reverse due to Saturn. The superearths would act as a clog in the drain and eventually the mass of all the other matter altered the orbit of all of them enough for them to fall into the sun. This was also a good theory for being able to explain what happened to all the hydrogen and helium that should have been on the planet as it formed during the birth of the solar system.

Which brings us back to the 30 protoplanet pileup. The remains of whatever didnt fall into the sun eventually formed into a full and chaotic pack of wandering lumps of rock, which slowly hit each other over and over and over again. By the end all that was left was Mercury, Venus and Earth - all second generation planets. And as the moon is far larger than it should be, its now thought that instead of one massive hit, the young earth took many glancing blows during this period that kept pulling off material from the crust and mantle. The density of the moon supports this, because it isnt dense enough to have any of the heavy elements that would be removed from more direct impacts - just lighter surface elements

And you can watch this explained far better in How the Universe Works, S6E3. But its also really cool and interesting to find out how much more complicated things actually are, and these are things we only figured out in the last decade (the Grand tack was proposed in 2011). Who knows what we will learn once Webb starts looking around and finding things in the IR range with its awesome eye
 
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