Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Dec 17th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A New Earth?

space_ngc7331A team of astronomers discovers a distant planet with conditions that may be “just right” for life
A team of astronomers based at UC Santa Cruz and the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced the discovery of a planet in another solar system that has some of the Goldilocks conditions for sustaining life.

The team, led by Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC, and Paul Butler from the Carnegie Institution, announced its findings on Sept. 29 of an Earth-sized planet located squarely within its host star’s “habitable stone.”

The planet is currently being called Gliese 581g. It rotates around its sun Gliese 581, a star 20 light years away from Earth that can be seen by human eyes in the constellation Libra. This star has been a controversial planet-bearing red dwarf that has sparked much debate among planet hunters. As of now, its total planet tally is six—and Gliese 581g is not its first orbiter suspected of being suitable for life. Two previously discovered Gliese 581 acolytes lie on the fringes of the habitable zone (the distance from the sun that would allow liquid water to exist) but Gliese 581g orbits in the range that is “just right,” according to Vogt.

However, even though the planet may meet the frequently elusive conditions for sustaining life, Earthlings should note that the classification “potentially habitable” is not synonymous with temperate or pleasant. Gliese 581g would be anything but pleasant for a terrestrial visitor; the planet is tidally locked, so half the planet always faces the sun while the other half rests in eternal darkness, making extreme regional climates. The areas thought to be habitable—the terminators—are in the border zones between the darkness and the light.

Though its local climates may radically vary from Earth’s, the findings suggest that the two planets have other similarities. Though it is three to four times larger than our host planet, its mass suggests a rocky planet that could support an atmosphere.

These findings are based on 11 years of telescopic observation. Though light years away, in the scale of the universe, Gliese 581 is a neighboring star, which leads Vogt to believe that that there are many stars that have solar systems containing potentially habitable planets throughout the universe. “If these are rare, we shouldn't have found one so quickly and so nearby,” he said in a Sept. 29 UCSC press release. “There could be tens of billions of these systems in our galaxy.”

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire