UChicago launches search for distant worlds

Oct 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Since 1995, scientists have discovered approximately 600 planets around other stars, including 50 planets last month alone, and one that orbits two stars, like Tatooine in Star Wars. Detection of the first Earthlike planet remains elusive, however, and now the University of Chicago joins the search with the addition of Jacob Bean and Daniel Fabrycky to the faculty.

“I can’t imagine a more profound impact on humanity than the discovery that there are other Earthlike worlds or that we are not alone,” said Rocky Kolb, the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics and department chairman.

Bean joins the faculty as an assistant professor in astronomy & astrophysics this autumn quarter. Fabrycky, who was a member of the team that discovered the Tatooine-like planet, will join the department next fall. Bean and Fabrycky were hired following a joint search conducted by the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Department of .

The new faculty additions come as the University as a whole is engaged in a significant expansion of its faculty. The departments of geophysical sciences and astronomy & astrophysics had identified the study of exoplanetary systems as one priority for their faculty, noting that discoveries in this arena “could have intellectual, cultural, and societal impacts comparable to those of Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin.”

A host of geophysical sciences faculty members already pursue interests related to exoplanets, said Michael Foote, professor and chairman of geophysical sciences. “What I personally find interesting is to see just what is the spectrum of variation in the kinds of planetary systems there could be out there,” said Foote, a paleontologist. “Models of solar system formation largely have been based on the details of our own system. Now that others are being discovered, many with unexpected properties, we need to revise our models.”

Exoplanets have emerged as a fairly recent interest of Dorian Abbot, assistant professor in geophysical sciences. Abbot has focused most of his work on periods deep in Earth history, when ice and snow may have covered the entire planet, and on other fundamental problems in climate dynamics and variability.

Pushing to smaller planets

But last July, he and Eric Switzer, postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, published a paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters about conditions under which an that has been ejected from its planetary system could sustain a life-nurturing liquid ocean. Switzer, a member of the South Pole Telescope team, primarily studies deep-space phenomena, including the afterglow of the big bang.

“We met at a party and were walking out together and found out we lived in the same neighborhood, then the same building, then the same floor,” Abbot said. “Then we started talking about various science questions.”

Their rogue-planet paper resulted from their discussions. But with exoplanetary research emerging as a new focus in the departments of geophysical sciences and astronomy & astrophysics, such collaborations are more likely to arise intentionally rather than from serendipitous encounters.

“The culture around here is that departmental and divisional boundaries just don’t mean anything,” Foote said. “In general, people follow their interests irrespective of what other units the folks are appointed in.”

Bean comes to UChicago from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he worked as a postdoctoral researcher. His interests include finding new planets to determine the census, orbits and masses of planets, and the architecture of planetary systems, as well as studying the detailed physical properties of individual planets.

Bean would especially like to detect and study ever-smaller planets. “The ultimate goal is to find and study Earth-size extrasolar planets that may be habitable,” he said.

Observing low-mass stars is a practical way to detect smaller planets because the techniques Bean uses all involve measuring a signal relative to the planet’s host star. A star of low mass and small size facilitates the detection of smaller planets for a given level of precision as compared to larger stars, which include the sun.

“In the push to smaller planets, low-mass stars offer a shortcut,” Bean said. “It also turns out that low-mass stars are the most numerous type of stars in our galaxy, so taking the census of planets around these stars is an important component of understanding the overall planet population.”

Bean noted that UChicago’s newly acquired access to the Magellan Telescopes and its founding membership in the Giant Magellan Telescope will be critical to his future success. “I look forward to making many exciting discoveries with these facilities,” he said.

Fabrycky is a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where his research has focused on the Kepler mission to find Earth-size planets around other stars. He specializes in the dynamics of exoplanets and their orbital characteristics.

For Kepler he’s been studying the architecture of planetary systems using the passage of the planets in front of their stars.“The precise timing of those mini eclipses, called transits, tells you about what other are acting gravitationally in the system,” he explained. “If you see one planet whose transits are not perfectly periodic, that means it’s likely being gravitationally acted on by another planet.”

Fabrycky is a relatively rare theorist in the community of exoplanetary scientists, most of whom are observers. “I am interested in observations as well,” he said, but from a more theoretical or mathematical point of view. “I can see things in the data that other people miss and I think that’s my strength.”

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omatumr
1 / 5 (3) Oct 15, 2011
Detection of the first Earthlike planet remains elusive ?


The empirical facts are these:

1. Earth-like planets were reported orbiting a pulsar in Jan 1992.

www.nature.com/na...5a0.html

2. The observation was confirmed in April 1994

www.sciencemag.or...5158/538

3. The interior of the Sun is a pulsar, encased in iron

www.nature.com/na...9a0.html

www.omatumr.com/a...enon.pdf

Evidence for a small, high-Z, iron-like solar core [Astron. Astrophys. 149, 65-72 (1985)]

4. Earth formed from SN debris, beginning with its iron core

www.terrapub.co.j...0245.PDF

5. Despite Eisenhower's warning a "scientific-technological elite" seems to be trying to mold information

Document: http://mcadams.po.../ike.htm
Video: www.youtube.com/w...ld5PR4ts

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA PI
for Apollo Samples
http://myprofile....anuelo09
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2011
Oliver you have made it quite clear that you think there is something you call neutron repulsion and it stops the formation of Black Holes. If Black Holes are stopped by NR then Neutron stars couldn't exist either. Of course there are all those claims that NR is causing galaxies to fragment and you spammed the site with that dozens of times.

If it has the range to fragment galaxies and the strength and range to block the formation of ANY black holes then it not only is strong enough to stop the formation of neutron stars but also ANYTHING that is held together by gravity.

For NR to stop the formation of Black Holes and cause the fragmentation of galaxies then it is stronger than gravity at both the range of a dozen kilometers and at kiloparsecs. This means that not only does it shatter galaxies but they could not form in first place. Planets could not form and ALL gravity bound objects would be sundered by this hypothetical galaxy busting Black Hole blocking force.

Ethelred
omatumr
1 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2011
Science addresses REALITY. False science continues advocating models that have been falsified by data and observations.

The Bilderberg model of Earth's heat source as a giant, homogeneous ball of hydrogen, steadily heated by H-fusion "in equilibrium."

http://adsabs.har....3....5G

Was repeatedly falsified by experimental data on:

a.) Solar flares
b.) The solar wind
c.) The photosphere
d.) The Galileo Mission to Jupiter
h.) Analysis of meteorites and planets
e.) The Apollo Mission to the Moon
f.) Neutron-capture cross sections
g.) Nuclear rest mass data, but . . .

Ignored because the AGW fable is based on the Bilderberg model of constant heat arriving from the Sun.

Data that falsify SSM and AGW are summarized in three papers:

1. Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002)

http://arxiv.org/.../0501441

2. ESA SP-517, 345-348 (2003)

http://arxiv.org/...410717v1

3. APERION J, in press

http://arxiv.org/...2.1499v1
jsdarkdestruction
not rated yet Oct 16, 2011
oliver, you have absolutely no right to talk about reality, you left that behind you a long time ago, along with your honor and dignity and integrity. your lies are sickening and no one here believes in your nonsense except you and kio. youve got no training in any of the fields you claim are wrong and experts have shown you are wrong repeatdley. Get real, its sad how low youve fallen. no, pathetic.
Ethelred
4 / 5 (4) Oct 16, 2011
Science addresses REALITY. False science continues advocating models that have been falsified by data and observations.
Absolutely. So stop with your false science and your false accusations about others.

Was repeatedly falsified by experimental data on:

a.) Solar flares
No. Nor do they support you.

b.) The solar wind
Fit the standard models.

c.) The photosphere
Which couldn't exist with a Neutron Star in it. But DOES fit the standard models.

d.) The Galileo Mission to Jupiter
Which does not support your claims.

h.) Analysis of meteorites and planets
Support the standard models.

e.) The Apollo Mission to the Moo
Supports the standard models.

f.) Neutron-capture cross sections
Fits the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

g.) Nuclear rest mass data, but .
Fits the PEP. Which you refuse to address in any way.>
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2011
Ignored because the AGW fable is based on the Bilderberg model of constant heat arriving from the Sun.
Something YOU made up recently in your continuing attack on rational science. An exceeding bizarre excursion into rampant paranoid nonsense. Not a one those people give a damn about your ridiculous self contradictory theory.

And few scientists think or claim the Sun doesn't have variation.

And that another attempt to evade answering my question. SO here it is again.

You have made it quite clear that you think there is something you call neutron repulsion and it stops the formation of Black Holes. If Black Holes are stopped by NR then Neutron stars couldn't exist either. Of course there are all those claims that NR is causing galaxies to fragment and you spammed the site with that dozens of times.>>
Ethelred
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2011
If it has the range to fragment galaxies and the strength and range to block the formation of ANY black holes then it not only is strong enough to stop the formation of neutron stars but also ANYTHING that is held together by gravity.

For NR to stop the formation of Black Holes and cause the fragmentation of galaxies then it is stronger than gravity at both the range of a dozen kilometers and at kiloparsecs. This means that not only does it shatter galaxies but they could not form in first place. Planets could not form and ALL gravity bound objects would be sundered by this hypothetical galaxy busting Black Hole blocking force.

Ethelred
RENO5488
not rated yet Oct 16, 2011
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT IS THE LARGEST SIZE A PLANET COULD BE TO SUPPORT LIFE, EXAMPLE, COULD THERE BE A PLANET SO LARGE THAT THE GRAVITATIONAL PULL WOULD BE TOO MUCH TO SUPPORT LIFE? IF SO WHAT IS THAT SIZE?