Author Topic: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION  (Read 71030 times)

Offline notsorandom

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NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« on: 10/14/2015 04:37 PM »
I'm going to defend the aliens hypothesis here in a very half hearted way. Our ability to search for aliens is actually pretty limited. One of the only and strongest evidence we could have for alien life is detection of something that doesn't correspond with our knowledge of the natural world. In other words seeing something that shouldn't be possible without life. If 100% of every abiotic explanation can be completely ruled out then aliens sort of become the default explanation.

This particular observation could be a number of other things which don't involve life. The authors point out a few plausible scenarios to explain what they have observed. The most compelling are doubtful mainly because they are transient events and the chances of seeing them happen are very low. However that doesn't mean it is impossible to have happened to catch an event in the act. We don't get aliens because a non alien solution is unlikely. All non-alien solutions have to be totally ruled out before we start going in that direction.
« Last Edit: 10/21/2015 04:32 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline JasonAW3

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #1 on: 10/14/2015 04:40 PM »
I'm wondering if what is being seen has a pattern to it.  In other words, are we seeing a repetition of the dimming of the light levels to the same or similar degrees over a set period of time.

     Obviously, if there are multiple objects or dust cloud clumps at different distances from the star, the light variation is going to be different at different times, but if there are multiple objects in orbit around the star in the same orbit, then the variability should follow a pattern, at least for a while, until those objects either clump together or are ejected from the same orbit.

     It's possible that a gas giant planet, in a highly eccentrict orbit, may have passed by a rocky planet within the distance needed to cause the planet to break apart, much like Shoemaker/Levi 9 was torn apart when it passed too close to Jupiter.  This would not only create clusters of debris, but would also spread the debris over a large volume of space.

     It's also possible, that a wandering black hole may have done the same thing.

     Likely though, those two scenerios were already thought of.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2015 04:43 PM by JasonAW3 »
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Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #2 on: 10/14/2015 08:15 PM »
The thing is to block that much light it would have to be an absolutely enormous number of comets, that's almost as an unlikely explanation as aliens. But who knows.

Offline cro-magnon gramps

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #3 on: 10/14/2015 09:24 PM »
The thing is to block that much light it would have to be an absolutely enormous number of comets, that's almost as an unlikely explanation as aliens. But who knows.

But if Jupiter sized planet would only block 1% of the light, how does comets explain sequences of 15 and 22% blockages? Those would have to be assemblages of material larger than a gas giant. I'm opting for the destruction of multiple GIANT rocky planets, in the same system at the same time, by some natural means, and we are seeing the clumping back together as the spikes. As the Clumps get smaller, as material comes back together, the spikes themselves should become shorter, less than the 15 and 22%.
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Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #4 on: 10/14/2015 09:30 PM »
The thing is to block that much light it would have to be an absolutely enormous number of comets, that's almost as an unlikely explanation as aliens. But who knows.

But if Jupiter sized planet would only block 1% of the light, how does comets explain sequences of 15 and 22% blockages? Those would have to be assemblages of material larger than a gas giant. I'm opting for the destruction of multiple GIANT rocky planets, in the same system at the same time, by some natural means, and we are seeing the clumping back together as the spikes. As the Clumps get smaller, as material comes back together, the spikes themselves should become shorter, less than the 15 and 22%.

Surely that would generate enormous amounts of dust & debris which would in turn generate a heck of an IR signature as it warms up & we just don't see that here. Give or take some leeway this star is producing the expected IR signature, indicative of very little dust let alone debris from the destruction of multiple planets.
« Last Edit: 10/14/2015 09:34 PM by Star One »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #5 on: 10/14/2015 10:03 PM »
But if Jupiter sized planet would only block 1% of the light, how does comets explain sequences of 15 and 22% blockages?

I would point out that the coma of some comets in our own solar system have been observed to extend as wide as the Sun.  It's not entirely implausible that a comet storm could create vast clouds.

That being said I don't think anyone is really convinced by the comet explanation. It's just the least-worst idea at the moment.

Btw, did anyone notice the message in the initials of the paper's title? Where's the flux?  ;D
« Last Edit: 10/14/2015 10:52 PM by Alpha_Centauri »

Offline John-H

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #6 on: 10/14/2015 11:14 PM »
If the signal is completely non-periodic, has anyone considered the possibility that it is not from that system at all? Could the star be passing in front of a group of nearby rocks or clouds?

John

Offline Bubbinski

Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #7 on: 10/15/2015 01:33 AM »
Are there any known planets orbiting this star? 

If there are no habitable planets around this star then either this has to be a comet swarm or some other natural occurrence, or if this *is* artificial it would imply the alien race had mastered interstellar travel.  Either way it would be something to look forward to, to see the answer.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline savuporo

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #8 on: 10/15/2015 03:41 AM »
Kepler didn't happen to be close to any microwave ovens at the observation time ? Just checking
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Offline sghill

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #9 on: 10/15/2015 01:09 PM »
The thing is to block that much light it would have to be an absolutely enormous number of comets, that's almost as an unlikely explanation as aliens. But who knows.

But if Jupiter sized planet would only block 1% of the light, how does comets explain sequences of 15 and 22% blockages? Those would have to be assemblages of material larger than a gas giant. I'm opting for the destruction of multiple GIANT rocky planets, in the same system at the same time, by some natural means, and we are seeing the clumping back together as the spikes. As the Clumps get smaller, as material comes back together, the spikes themselves should become shorter, less than the 15 and 22%.

Not on a time frame of 1200 days...

If the signal is completely non-periodic, has anyone considered the possibility that it is not from that system at all? Could the star be passing in front of a group of nearby rocks or clouds?

John

The signal is periodic, it's just that it's varying so greatly it can't be something on the star (sunspots), it can't be planets, and it can't be gas or dust within the system (the IR signature ruled out dust, and it's not glowing if it it's gas).  (Note: Alpha Centauri, correct me please if I paraphrased that wrong, the paper was pretty heady stuff!).

My first thought as well was that disassociated (from a star) gas was passing (*giggle*) well in front of the star from Kepler's point of view, but the gas should be glowing from ultraviolet light hitting it.  And if it's dust, then it'd glow in IR.

Then I thought, "Dark matter cloud" because that might occult the star, but not have an IR or ultraviolet signature.

As far as a****s goes, if we are looking at the structures we'd expect from a Type 1 civilization transitioning to a Type 2 civilization, then what are they doing with the energy they are intercepting?  The IR should will go way up from waste heat and the light should will go way down.  We see the starlight dimming, but we aren't seeing waste heat.

And let's go over to the General discussion area to have any discussions about a****s.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2015 01:28 PM by sghill »
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Offline notsorandom

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #10 on: 10/15/2015 01:51 PM »
That none of the other stars in the immediate field of view dimmed too puts some constraints on the size of a potential interstellar dust or gas field. If we assume that the bright star located 40" away from KIC 8462852 is behind KIC 8462852 than we can say that the occulting object cannot extend more than a maximum of about a quarter of a light year in that direction (if I did my math right). The closer that object gets to Earth the smaller it has to be to not dim any other stars. Unfortunately I am having to make the assumption that this other bright star is not in front of what ever is blocking the view because I can't find any data about it or even its name to make an estimate of its distance. However there are stars in the field of view which would have to be behind KIC 8462852 which were not dimmed. These still constrain the size of the occulting matter yet less so due to their larger angular separation.

Offline Star One

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #11 on: 10/15/2015 02:59 PM »
Something that's been bothering me about this is what precisely are SETI hoping to pick up as I find it hard to believe that a Type 2 civilisation would be still using radio. It's theorised that the electromagnetically 'dirty' period of a civilisation is only usually a limited period before they advance beyond this.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2015 02:59 PM by Star One »

Offline sghill

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #12 on: 10/15/2015 03:37 PM »
Something that's been bothering me about this is what precisely are SETI hoping to pick up as I find it hard to believe that a Type 2 civilisation would be still using radio. It's theorised that the electromagnetically 'dirty' period of a civilisation is only usually a limited period before they advance beyond this.

Or not.  It's 50/50 until we see any evidence otherwise.  But OT for the Kepler thread.
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Offline notsorandom

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #13 on: 10/15/2015 03:47 PM »
Something that's been bothering me about this is what precisely are SETI hoping to pick up as I find it hard to believe that a Type 2 civilisation would be still using radio. It's theorised that the electromagnetically 'dirty' period of a civilisation is only usually a limited period before they advance beyond this.
There is also a chance, though limited, that a natural phenomenon related to the brightness variations is visible in the RF spectrum. At 454 parsecs away our telescopes would be unable to pick up spurious RF emissions at the same power levels we use here on Earth. Our current detection range is a pitiful ~0.08 parsecs (excluding radar which gets a bit further but not far enough). However if there were an alien civilization building an energy capturing device on that scale there they would presumably be a huge amount of energy at their disposal. Even if they were using a very small fraction of that energy as for radio it would still be a substantial amount, maybe even detectable at that range.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #14 on: 10/15/2015 03:54 PM »
Something that's been bothering me about this is what precisely are SETI hoping to pick up as I find it hard to believe that a Type 2 civilisation would be still using radio. It's theorised that the electromagnetically 'dirty' period of a civilisation is only usually a limited period before they advance beyond this.
Doubtful that a civilization even as advanced as this one would be likely to be, would have access to FTL. Might be a bad bet though.

As for what they pick up forgive me if I am wrong but won't it take roughly >1100 years for the signal to even reach the system? And then another 1100 for the return signal to come back?

Seems like there is no point in sending them a signal anyway.

But say they did have FTL and were hostile, yea this would be a very bad idea.

I think the worth of it outweighs the risks however, they ought to give it a shot but none of us will likely to be alive whenever there is a reply.
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #15 on: 10/15/2015 04:13 PM »

As far as a****s goes, if we are looking at the structures we'd expect from a Type 1 civilization transitioning to a Type 2 civilization, then what are they doing with the energy they are intercepting?  The IR should will go way up from waste heat and the light should will go way down.  We see the starlight dimming, but we aren't seeing waste heat.


It may be possible that, if it IS an a**** culture, they may have become much more effecient in their energy usage so that any waste heat would likewise be vastly reduced.  Even now, there are companies that have developed ways to convert heat and transient RF into electricity for use in small devices.  in some cases, it has even proven possible to use ambient heat energy to power small electronic monitioring systems.

The recapture and reuse of waste heat and transient RF won't totally eliminate waste heat, but it would make the use and conversion of energy, including solar power, much more effecient.
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Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #16 on: 10/15/2015 04:17 PM »

As far as a****s goes, if we are looking at the structures we'd expect from a Type 1 civilization transitioning to a Type 2 civilization, then what are they doing with the energy they are intercepting?  The IR should will go way up from waste heat and the light should will go way down.  We see the starlight dimming, but we aren't seeing waste heat.


It may be possible that, if it IS an a**** culture, they may have become much more effecient in their energy usage so that any waste heat would likewise be vastly reduced.  Even now, there are companies that have developed ways to convert heat and transient RF into electricity for use in small devices.  in some cases, it has even proven possible to use ambient heat energy to power small electronic monitioring systems.

The recapture and reuse of waste heat and transient RF won't totally eliminate waste heat, but it would make the use and conversion of energy, including solar power, much more effecient.
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #17 on: 10/15/2015 04:28 PM »
What bothers me most is, if these blips in teh luminosity do turn out to be some artificial structures, the reason that we may not be seeing a lot of waste heat IR, is because the builders of said strurctures may no longer exist.

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Offline Alf Fass

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #18 on: 10/15/2015 04:50 PM »
Would a gas giant with an enormous ring system be a possible explanation for the group of dips in the starlight starting around 1490 days? It would mean a ring system millions of km across, with the ring being hundreds of thousands of km across from its inner to outer edge, so: We see a big chunk of the starlight blocked by one side of the ring, the planet then blocks the usual ~1%, then the other side of the ring blocks another big chunk of light.

The ring system would have to be tilted up facing the star, but in itself that's not unreasonable.
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Offline Stan-1967

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Re: NASA - Kepler DISCUSSION
« Reply #19 on: 10/15/2015 05:13 PM »
That is a very good conjecture.   If the ring system extended to the edge of the Roche limit of a planet torn apart by a gas giant, the resulting debris system would be around 6X more than the gas giant itself.  However it could be larger due to differences in composition and strength of the fragments.   It seem plausible for a transient ring system to have at least 25X larger cross sectional area than the radius of a the parent planet.   The point here is that for the cross section of a gas giant that blocks 1% of a stars light to block 25% with a ring system, the ring system needs a radius of 5X that of the planet. ( cross section blocking light scales to r^2)   This conjecture may still be weak because if it is that big, I would think the IR should be visible.
« Last Edit: 10/15/2015 05:24 PM by Stan-1967 »

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