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  • Joe (uuk) McGonagle
    ... From: Ken Kubos Newsgroups: alt.ufo.reports,uk.rec.ufo Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 2:32 PM Subject: Alien Solar System Much Like
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2003
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      From the NG's:

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Ken Kubos" <kubos@...>
      Newsgroups: alt.ufo.reports,uk.rec.ufo
      Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 2:32 PM
      Subject: Alien Solar System Much Like Ours ...


      > Alien Solar System Much Like Ours
      >
      >
      > By Erik Baard
      >
      >
      > 02:00 AM Jul. 03, 2003 PT
      > Our solar system just got a little less special, to the delight
      of those
      > hoping to find life elsewhere in the galaxy.
      >
      > British astronomers say they found the first sun-like star with
      a giant gas
      > planet in an orbit similar to Jupiter's, which leaves plenty of
      room for
      > worlds like Earth and Mars.
      >
      > The discovery "moves this star to No. 1 on the list" of places
      to look for a
      > planet like Earth, said astrophysicist Hugh Jones of Liverpool
      John Moores
      > University, who led the team that made the discovery. The team
      announced the
      > find on Thursday at a conference on extra-solar planets in
      Paris.
      >
      > The star is designated HD70642. The mass of its giant gas
      planet is about
      > twice that of Jupiter, and the planet circles the star at a bit
      over 300
      > million miles out, which would place it between Mars and
      Jupiter were it in
      > our own solar system.
      > The alien system is just 90 light years away in the
      constellation Puppis.
      > The star is at a similar stage of life as our sun and has no
      companion star,
      > Jones said. It also is in the same galactic neighborhood, so
      background
      > radiation levels should be about as low as in our solar system.
      >
      > What makes the discovery more exciting is that the star
      system's
      > configuration closely resembles our own.
      > Scientists believe that the presence of a giant planet in a
      position like
      > Jupiter's is key to the development of advanced life on a
      smaller planet
      > closer to the host star. The big planet acts as a vacuum
      cleaner for the
      > rest of the system, sweeping up interplanetary debris like
      asteroids, which
      > could snuff out life on the inner planets in fiery collisions.
      >
      > Too close to its star, the gas giant would hurtle any
      terrestrial or
      > Earth-like worlds too far into the barren void or skew their
      orbits into
      > long ellipses creating seasons too extreme for life. Too far
      out, the gas
      > giant could become a nemesis, slinging comets and asteroids
      into the nest of
      > terrestrial planets.
      >
      > So far, nearly all of the 100 worlds discovered around other
      stars have been
      > so-called "hot Jupiters," or big planets that hug their host
      stars
      > closely -- about where Venus would be in our solar system.
      Also, their
      > orbits are elliptical instead of nearly circular. The newly
      discovered
      > system has the gas giant in just about the right place.
      >
      > "Jupiter has played a major role in bringing carbon and water
      to Earth, and
      > it has also protected us from a too-high rate of
      dinosaur-killing impacts,"
      > said University of Washington astronomer Don Brownlee. "Even if
      it turns out
      > that this system is not able to harbor a terrestrial planet in
      a circular
      > habitable zone orbit, it will still be significant in that it
      is close to
      > being (our) solar system's clone."
      > Along with paleontologist Peter Ward, also of the University of
      Washington,
      > Brownlee is the author of books that argue advanced life in the
      universe
      > must be exceedingly rare and transient.
      >
      > Of course, life might arise in other nests. Moons around gas
      giants, for all
      > we know, could be teeming with life.
      > All theories of planetary evolution will be put to the test in
      coming
      > decades, with the launch of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder
      and the
      > European Space Agency's Darwin project, both orbiting arrays of
      telescopes
      > and sensors designed to detect smaller worlds. The current
      method developed
      > by Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institute of Washington and
      Geoff Marcy of
      > the University of California at Berkeley uses large
      ground-based telescopes
      > to look for wobbles in stars' rotations to infer the presence
      of a planet.
      > The method works best for finding massive giant gas planets.
      >
      > The discovery made by Jones' team was detected by the 3.9-meter
      > Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales.
      > But even with current resources, astronomers have a greater
      appreciation for
      > humanity's place in the cosmos. "We first showed that our own
      circular solar
      > system is not the only thing out there, and now from what we
      know so far,
      > yes, there's a rather similar star to (our) own," Jones said.
      > --
      > Cheers,
      > Ken
      >
      >
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