Discussion:
OTish - Scratch that location in your planned novel!
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a425couple
2018-03-04 03:09:25 UTC
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OTish - Scratch that location in your planned novel!
If you were working on a sci-fi book with finding an
advanced alien culture on Proxima b, probably best
to switch to another exoplanet.
But, as one can see at the bottom, there are more
promising planets!

Superflare Blasts Proxima b, the Nearest Exoplanet, Dimming Hopes of Life
By Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | February 28, 2018 07:49am ET
161 10 MORE
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Superflare Blasts Proxima b, the Nearest Exoplanet, Dimming Hopes of Life
An artist's illustration of a flare from Proxima Centauri, modeled after
the loops of glowing, hot gas seen in the largest solar flares. The
planet Proxima b, seen here in an artist's impression, orbits Proxima
Centauri 20 times closer than Earth orbits the sun. A flare 10 times
larger than a major solar flare would blast Proxima b with 4,000 times
more radiation than Earth gets from solar flares.
Credit: Roberto Molar Candanosa/Carnegie Institution for Science,
NASA/SDO, NASA/JPL
The rocky planet circling the closest star to the sun got hammered by a
superpowerful flare last year, a new study reports.

That's a bit of bad news for anyone hoping that the alien world, known
as Proxima b, hosts life.

"It's likely that Proxima b was blasted by high-energy radiation during
this flare," study lead author Meredith MacGregor, of the Carnegie
Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., said in a statement.
[Proxima b: Closest Earth-Like Planet Discovery in Pictures]

"Over the billions of years since Proxima b formed, flares like this one
could have evaporated any atmosphere or ocean and sterilized the
surface, suggesting that habitability may involve more than just being
the right distance from the host star to have liquid water," she added.

In August 2016, astronomers announced that a potentially Earth-like
planet orbits Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun. Learn about
the exciting discovery in this infographic.<a
href="http://www.space.com/33872-proxima-b-closest-exoplanet-explained-infographic.html">See
our full infographic here</a>.
In August 2016, astronomers announced that a potentially Earth-like
planet orbits Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun. Learn about
the exciting discovery in this infographic.See our full infographic here.
Proxima b has inspired a great deal of excitement among astronomers and
astrobiologist since its discovery was announced in August 2016. The
planet is only slightly more massive than Earth, suggesting that it's a
rocky world. And Proxima b appears to orbit in its host star's habitable
zone — the range of liquid-water-supporting distances referenced by
MacGregor.

That host star is Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf that lies just 4.2
light-years from the sun. Red dwarfs are smaller and dimmer than the
sun, so their habitable zones lie much closer-in than those of sun-like
stars. For example, Proxima b orbits a mere 4.6 million miles (7.5
million kilometers) from Proxima Centauri and completes one lap every
11.2 Earth days. (Earth, by comparison, lies about 93 million miles, or
150 million km, from the sun.)

Such proximity raises questions about the potential habitability of
Proxima b and similar worlds. Red-dwarf planets close enough to be in
the habitable zone are likely tidally locked, meaning they always show
the same face to their parent stars, astronomers say. So, one side of
Proxima b may be broiling-hot, while the other is cold and dark.

It's possible that thick atmospheres distribute heat around tidally
locked planets, making at least some parts of these worlds habitable,
some astronomers have said. But Proxima b and its kin face another
habitability challenge — stellar eruptions.

Red dwarfs are very active stars, firing off lots of powerful flares,
especially when they're young. So, astronomers already knew that Proxima
b had absorbed a lot of punishment over the eons — but the new study
suggests that the damage may be greater than scientists had thought.

MacGregor and her colleagues reanalyzed observations of Proxima Centauri
made early last year by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
(ALMA), a network of radio telescopes in Chile. The researchers
discovered that ALMA detected an intense flare on March 24, a monster
that was 10 times brighter than anything the sun blasts out.

The flare boosted Proxima Centauri's brightness by a factor of 1,000
over a 10-second span, the researchers said.

"March 24, 2017, was no ordinary day for Proxima Cen," MacGregor said.

The team's analysis also throws cold water on the hypothesis that the
Proxima Centauri system hosts rings of dust and rock similar to the
asteroid and Kuiper belts in our own solar system.

That interpretation — an intriguing one that hints at the possible
presence of undiscovered planets neighboring Proxima b — had been based
largely on these same ALMA observations. Those findings seemed to
suggest that something in the system was re-radiating stellar light at
long wavelengths.

But that original analysis didn't take the superflare into account,
study team members said. The March 24 outburst was likely responsible
for the brightness "excess" observed in Proxima Centauri, eliminating
the need to invoke dust belts, the researchers said.

"There is now no reason to think that there is a substantial amount of
dust around Proxima Cen," co-author Alycia Weinberger, also of the
Carnegie Institution, said in the same statement. "Nor is there any
information yet that indicates the star has a rich planetary system like
ours."

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us
@Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

EDITOR'S RECOMMENDATIONS
Proxima b: 6 Strange Facts About a Potentially Earth-Like Exoplanet
Alien Planet Quiz: Are You an Exoplanet Expert?
10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life

https://www.space.com/39829-nearest-exoplanet-proxima-b-superflare.html
Quadibloc
2018-03-04 11:44:18 UTC
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I don't know; I think Proxima b would still be a fine location for a novel...

centered around humans living in underground cities, hundreds of billions of years
in the future, after the Earth has been destroyed by the Sun, still trying to
research a way to travel faster than light, but not having found it yet.

The absence of indigenous life-forms on the planet would be a plus, if anything.

John Savard
Wolffan
2018-03-04 16:18:12 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
I don't know; I think Proxima b would still be a fine location for a novel...
centered around humans living in underground cities, hundreds of billions of years
in the future, after the Earth has been destroyed by the Sun, still trying to
research a way to travel faster than light, but not having found it yet.
The absence of indigenous life-forms on the planet would be a plus, if anything.
John Savard
It is QUITE UNLIKELY that there will be HOMINIDS, much less humans, 100s of
billions of years in the future. Hellfire, it’s unlikely that there will be
MAMMALS. Or even tetrapod vertebrates. The first tetrapods showed up about
360-370 _million_ (that’s with an ‘m’) years ago. The first mammals
didn’t show for another 100-120 million years. It took another 220-240
million years for hominids to show up. The probability of anything vaguely
recognizably mammalian still being around “100s of billions” of years
from now may not be zero, but it can see zero from where its sitting. Even
hundreds of millions of years is a stretch. Given that humans haven’t been
around for hundreds of thousands of years (depending on how you define
‘human’) it’s not that likely that we’ll make hundreds of thousands
of years.

And, oh, yeah... it ain’t likely that the damn star will still be around in
100s of billions of years. Or, come to think of it, the galaxy. The universe,
I’m not sure about. The non-terapod, non-mammalian, non-homind, non-humans
won’t have a system to park their underground cities in.

Do you really have to prove that you’re as imbecilic and insane as Terry
Austin says you are WITH EVERY DAMN POST YOU MAKE? Do you?
William Hyde
2018-03-04 22:51:52 UTC
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Post by Wolffan
Post by Quadibloc
I don't know; I think Proxima b would still be a fine location for a novel...
centered around humans living in underground cities, hundreds of billions of years
in the future, after the Earth has been destroyed by the Sun, still trying to
research a way to travel faster than light, but not having found it yet.
The absence of indigenous life-forms on the planet would be a plus, if anything.
John Savard
And, oh, yeah... it ain’t likely that the damn star will still be around in
100s of billions of years.
Red dwarfs have quite long lifespans. I'm too lazy to work it out, but a low mass dwarf like Proxima will stay on the main sequence for about a trillion years. In a mere 200 billion years it will probably be putting out more light than what's left of our sun. Of course, it won't be a neighbor then.

I believe that in one of his novels, Michael Swanwick had humans being long extinct at latest 50 million years from now, the planet being dominated by intelligent avians (personally my money's on raccoons) in the era of the new Pangaea predicted by Christopher Scotese.
Post by Wolffan
Or, come to think of it, the galaxy.
Well, there should be at least one collision with Andromeda in that time. By then the local galaxies may have combined to form an elliptical. But that was the conclusion drawn before people knew about dark energy. I'm not sure how that affects the evolution of the galaxy.
Post by Wolffan
Do you really have to prove ...
I was going to make a similar comment on his earlier post on parliaments. But he seems to really, really, enjoy posting, and probably even the abuse he receives.

William Hyde
Wolffan
2018-03-05 11:07:06 UTC
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Post by Wolffan
Post by Quadibloc
I don't know; I think Proxima b would still be a fine location for a novel...
centered around humans living in underground cities, hundreds of billions
of
years
in the future, after the Earth has been destroyed by the Sun, still trying to
research a way to travel faster than light, but not having found it yet.
The absence of indigenous life-forms on the planet would be a plus, if anything.
John Savard
And, oh, yeah... it ain’t likely that the damn star will still be around in
100s of billions of years.
Red dwarfs have quite long lifespans. I'm too lazy to work it out, but a low
mass dwarf like Proxima will stay on the main sequence for about a trillion
years. In a mere 200 billion years it will probably be putting out more light
than what's left of our sun. Of course, it won't be a neighbor then.
I didn’t think that they lasted _that_ long. I thought a few tens of
billions, tops. I stand corrected.

And, of course the movement of _both_ stars will take them quite a bit away
from each other.
I believe that in one of his novels, Michael Swanwick had humans being long
extinct at latest 50 million years from now, the planet being dominated by
intelligent avians (personally my money's on raccoons) in the era of the new
Pangaea predicted by Christopher Scotese.
Post by Wolffan
Or, come to think of it, the galaxy.
Well, there should be at least one collision with Andromeda in that time. By
then the local galaxies may have combined to form an elliptical. But that was
the conclusion drawn before people knew about dark energy. I'm not sure how
that affects the evolution of the galaxy.
it won’t be _this_ galaxy as we know it.
Post by Wolffan
Do you really have to prove ...
I was going to make a similar comment on his earlier post on parliaments. But
he seems to really, really, enjoy posting, and probably even the abuse he
receives.
he’s an idiot.
William Hyde
Quadibloc
2018-03-04 23:04:02 UTC
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We aren't helpless furry animals dragged along willy-nilly by the forces of nature.

We have writing, science, and technology. We can shape and control our future.

If we put our minds to it, of course. Otherwise, we can all too easily drop the ball.

Failure is an option. But it's not the only option.
Wolffan
2018-03-05 10:55:57 UTC
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Post by Quadibloc
We aren't helpless furry animals dragged along willy-nilly by the forces of nature.
oh, really? So human DNA doesn’t exhibit changes over time due to, among
other factors:
* environmental chemicals
* local background radiation
* straight biological recombination from reproduction
* secondary biological recombination due to viruses and similar
* combinations of the above

Larry Niven made bandersnatchi unchangable over a Very Long Time. He did it
by making their chromosomes naked-eye visible, making them highly radiation
(and chemical, though he didn’t mention that) resistant. If you engineer in
something like that, then what you end up with AIN;T HUMAN NO MORE, you
incredible twit. Short of that, there _will_ be change. And that change will
have _hundreds of billions of years_ to work. They. won’t be human no more.
Post by Quadibloc
We have writing, science, and technology. We can shape and control our future.
not at that level.
Post by Quadibloc
If we put our minds to it, of course. Otherwise, we can all too easily drop the ball.
We can build something better than human... which won’t be human no more.
And which may replace humans, either after all humans die out, or after all
humans are forced out. Bad idea. And THEY WON’T BE HUMAN.
Post by Quadibloc
Failure is an option. But it's not the only option.
it seems that you DO have to prove that you’re as insane and imbecilic as
Terry Austin says you are with each and every post you make.

Go play with a vat girl.
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