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Old 11-13-2008, 08:01 PM   #1
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Pictures of New Worlds

The first images of extrasolar planets are in
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In what might amount to an early Christmas present to the universe, two groups of astronomers have taken the first pictures of what they say — and other astronomers agree — are probably planets going around other stars.

The achievement, the result of years of effort on improved observational techniques and better data analysis, presages more such discoveries, the experts said, and will open the door to new investigations and discoveries of what planets are and how they came to be formed.

“It’s the tip of iceberg. Now that we know they are there, there is going to be an explosion,” said Christian Marois of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Victoria, British Columbia. Dr. Marois is the leader of a team that recorded three planets circling a star — known as HR 8799 — 130 light-years away in the constellation Pegasus.

The other team, led by Paul Kalas of the University of California, Berkeley, found a planet orbiting the star Fomalhaut, only 25 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. In an interview by e-mail, Dr. Kalas said that when he finally confirmed his discovery last May, “I nearly had a heart attack.”

In scratchy telescope pictures released to the world Thursday in Science Express, the online version of the journal Science, the new planets appear as fuzzy dots that move slightly around their star from exposure to exposure. Astronomers who have seen the new images agreed that these look like the real thing.

“I think Kepler himself would recognize these as planets orbiting a star following his laws of orbital motion,” Mark S. Marley, of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., wrote in an e-mail message elaborating on HR 8799.

More than 300 so-called extrasolar planets have been found circling distant stars, making their discovery the hottest and fastest growing field in astronomy. But the observations have been made mostly indirectly, by dips in starlight as planets cross in front of their home star or by wobbles they induce going by it.

Astronomers being astronomers, they want to actually see these worlds, but a few recent claims of direct observations have been clouded by debates about whether the bodies were really planets or failed stars.

“Every extrasolar planet detected so far has been a wobble on a graph. These are the first pictures of an entire system,” said Bruce Macintosh, an astrophysicist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and a member of Dr. Marois’s team.

The new planetary systems are anchored by young bright stars more massive than our own Sun and swaddled in large disks of dust, the raw material of worlds. The three planets orbiting HR 8799 are roughly 10, 9 and 6 times the mass of Jupiter, and orbit their star in periods of 450, 180 and 100 years respectively, all counterclockwise.

The Fomalhaut planet is about three times as massive as Jupiter, according to Dr. Kalas’s calculations, and is on the inner edge of a huge band of dust, taking roughly 872 years to complete a revolution of its star.

Both systems appear to be scaled-up versions of our own solar system, with giant planets in the outer reaches, leaving plenty of room for smaller planets to lurk undetectable in the warmer inner regions. Dust rings lie even farther out, like the Kuiper belt of icy debris extending beyond the orbit of Neptune in our own solar system.

“This is a window into what our own solar system might have looked like when it was 60 million years old,” Dr. Marois said.

Sara Seager, a planetary theorist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it was significant that that the planets in both cases seemed to be associated with disks of dust, particularly Fomalhaut, one of the brightest and closest stars and one of the “Fabulous Four,” known to be host to a massive disk.

“Fomalhaut is like a Hollywood star to astronomers, so we have some personal excitement here,” she said. “It feels like finding out that one of your four closest friends just won the lottery big time”

Alan Boss, a planetary theorist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, said the triple-planet system in Pegasus was particularly promising, “as we expect planets to form in systems in general, whereas spurious background interlopers will generally appear as single ‘planets.’ ” But he and others cautioned that much more study of these objects was necessary and that the masses imputed to them were still highly uncertain.

Being able to see planets directly opens the door to spectroscopic observations that can help determine the composition, temperature and other physical characteristics of planets and allow for comparisons with each other and with their parent stars. Dr. Macintosh said that he hoped to train a spectroscope on his new planets as early as Monday.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/sc...ca4&ei=5087%0A

The same elements exist throughout our galaxy and the universe, physical laws are probably the same everywhere and soon we will be able to pinpoint places where life might arise; a very exiting time to be alive.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:07 PM   #2
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SELECTIONS FROM THE
BOOK OF MOSES


An extract from the translation of the Bible as revealed to Joseph Smith the Prophet, June 1830—February 1831
CHAPTER 1


(June 1830)


God reveals himself to Moses—Moses transfigured—Confrontation with Satan—Many inhabited worlds seen—Worlds without number created by the Son—God’s work and glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.


1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,

2 And he asaw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

3 And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

4 And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore alook, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.

5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is gno God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.


7 And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.


8 And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.


9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth....


35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:10 PM   #3
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I'm sure that has A_W convinced.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:44 PM   #4
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Sorry Diamond, Xenu is my master

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Old 11-14-2008, 05:58 PM   #5
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35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
So if there are other worlds with life on them does that prove God exists?
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:03 PM   #6
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The first images of extrasolar planets are in
Thanks for posting that! I saw one of the pictures earlier today - so cool.

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SELECTIONS FROM THE BOOK OF MOSES
*sigh*
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:04 PM   #7
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No, it would also be another nail in the coffin of special creation because it would (probably) be two independent examples of where abiogenesis (the formation of a new life form) occurred.
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:08 PM   #8
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I think this picture is about a million times more of a religious experience than Diamond's post:

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Old 11-14-2008, 06:09 PM   #9
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That's the picture I saw earlier. I love it!
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:41 PM   #10
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that's pretty freakin' awesome.
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:12 AM   #11
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You guys remember NBCrusader?

Seemed like an awesome guy. He was definitely always fighting the "good fight".
Not that I always agreed with him. He was principled, he stood up for what he believed was right. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Then one day he said (paraphrased) "just because you show me a picture of some planet, doesn't mean that it's actually there" and I think he left not too long after that.

Yeah.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:09 AM   #12
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Are we sure it isn't the eye of Sauron?
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:21 AM   #13
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So if there are other worlds with life on them does that prove God exists?
it's another witness of the Ex Niliho theory of Catholicism being an incorrect idea and a testament of
God's awesome creative power and design.

<>
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:14 AM   #14
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Interesting stuff, but I'm more concerned that if we do find life on another planet somewhere, it will have to be at least 100 light years away. So we should start really thinking about transportation that will make these kinds of journeys to make contact with other life forms feasible. I know we can't travel faster than the speed of light (damn Einstein), however according to relativity if we approach the speed of light, time will tend to dilate making the (say) 100 light year journey seem like 1 year from the reference frame of the person in the spacecraft. However it will still take 100 years from our perspective on earth. So I have no idea how scientists plan on tackling intergalactic space travel in the future whilst being constrained by laws of physics.
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Old 11-15-2008, 10:38 AM   #15
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i wonder if the beings on those planets know about us.
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