The habitable zone of a planet(s)

This is my unprofessional view. I do stand by it with my best knowledge of this field in planetary science. My knowledge might be outdated or wrong, resulting in me getting the wrong conclusions in this article. You have been warned.

The problem with the habitable zone of a planet

I dislike it when I see the news that a planet has been found around a star. Only to see later in that same news that the planet is a dwarf star giving out minimal amount of light and heat. There seems to be minimal requirement for live to exist in the universe. I don’t know if this has been studied in any details or if there have been any study into this matter in recent years. There is a lower limit on were life can exist and there is a upper limit on this same scale.

The lower limit and the upper limit

In my personal view this star classes can support life. There are limits within those classification.

Lower limit

Class M (?)
Class K
Class G
Class F
Class A
Class M (red giants, supergiants)

Lower limit

The lower limit of stars might support life if the conditions allow for it. This might not happen in majority of any star system that falls into the lower limit. If life exists around such planet in a star system that falls into the lower limit that life might only be plants that can deal with cold temperatures and long winters. Animal life on such planet should be expected to be limited to not existing at all. This goes both for ocean and land animal life.

Upper limit

All of this classes might have their own limit and not all star systems that have planets support life due to random reasons. No dwarf stars (class L, Y, T, M). Any star that is at the end of its life span might have had life in the past, it however should be expected to be extinct at this point in the star life cycle. The upper class of stars is more complicated as they radiate more energy out and have a shorter life span than smaller stars. A life can evolve around such star but in the time needed for it to evolve to a civilization levels are limited because of the time needed until that happen.

There’s no guarantee for life in a star system

While a star might be favourable to life that alone is not a guarantee in any way that a star system is going to have any life. A lot of things can go wrong in a planet formation that results in no life or atmosphere that can support life. I don’t know what starts life in a star system but it is a sequence of events that has to happen each time life gets going on a planet in any star system that has life.

The complex life problem

While life might exist in a star system it does not have to be animal life. There might be planets out there with nothing but plants and insects on them and no animals. What path evolution takes on each planet is based on random factors that are impossible to predict.

The Venus problem

Venus is a dead planet in more than just one way. When it formed something did go horribly wrong during its formation or soon after it formed. This seems to have happened early on and there is a good chance that life never took hold on Venus and it never had any water to start the carbon cycle. According to this article and based on measurements Venus magnetic field flares up for a short period of time, this suggests that whatever happened to Venus is related to the planet core and issues that it is having. In our solar system Venus should be full of jungle life today and possibly hosting a civilisation on its own. Something like humans or perhaps not. Whatever happened resulted in Venus resulted in Venus being a dead planet and he has remained like this for billions of years.

The Mars problem

Mars never had any life. Its too small as a planet to support life and due to a large eruption in its past its core died and along with it everything that might have been on its surface. There is a chance that before the core of Mars core died due to the eruption of Olympus Mons and other volcano activity. Other reasons for Mars core dying are also possible, among them greater heat loss due to Mars being a smaller planet. Being a greater distance from the Sun in our solar system Mars never had any chance of supporting life. In other solar systems where the planetary evolution is different and Mars sized planet might be closer to its star there is a small chance a life might exists for as long the planet is able to maintain its magnetic sphere.

The planet problem

There are many factors that have to add up for a life to happen in a solar system. Sometimes those factors exist in a solar system and sometimes they are missing in the formation process. How and why are not known to anyone and it is the biggest question that humans have unanswered. An answer might appear in the centuries ahead if humans survive current global warming crises.

Is the Sun getting close to minimal activity?

There has been a interesting news today from BBC News about the current quiet that is taking place in our Sun. It is already known that our Sun is a variable star, but what type of variable star our Sun is has not yet been established. The most common idea [Solar Dynamics Observatory: The ‘Variable Sun’ Mission] is that our Sun has a variability that is connected to the 11 hour sunspot cycle. I don’t think it has been considered that our Sun might be a variable star that has a cycle of 400 years, with high and lows in taking place during that period. With the last lowest point taking place during the Maunder Minimum and possibly some 400 years before that (I don’t have that confirmed, it is just an idea). It is also possible that this cycle in the Sun is more variable than that and happens at random times, but I don’t have much faith in such this. At least until proven otherwise.

If this is a cycle of high and lows that last 400 years (this has not yet been proven by scientists, so this is just a speculation on my part) cycles it means that we are currently about to enter a new low that is going to last around 70 years, we are currently just seeing the start of this minimal period in the Sun. As was the case last time this type of low did happen in the Sun it took few decades to properly start. While this remains unconfirmed it remains just an idea that I am having. What we do know however is that our Sun is getting less active in terms of sunspot activity over the past few years. I do think this trend is going to continue for the next 70 or so years. I might be wrong about this, but I based my view on best earlier data that I have available to me. For the next few decades the winters in both Europe and the U.S are going to get really cold and long. Based on earlier historical data about what happens to the weather once there are few to no sunspots at all on the Sun.

BBC News coverage of the missing sunspots.


Is our Sun falling silent?
(BBC News)

Remains of comet ISON appear to be vanishing

It is now clear that whatever remained of comet ISON is now disappearing into space. It did appear once the comet did pass over the sun is not clear, but it clear that most of the comet at that time did disintegrate due to the heat from the sun and the extreme tidal forces that the sun enforces on objects that go close to it.

Images and more details can be found in the links below.

NASA pic: DOOMED ice Comet ISON literally had snowball’s chance in hell (The Register)
ISON Appears To Be Fading, But Astronomers Keeping Eyes Peeled (Universe Today)
Spaceweather.com (Information changes daily, so check the archive for today’s date 1-Desember-2013)

Comet ISON stripped of it’s material

The latest news of the comet ISON is that it appears to have survived the passing by the sun. Just barley, since there is not a lot left to see now according to latest images shown on Spaceweather.com website. It is not currently known what did happen to the comet, but it appears as it was mostly vaporised by the sun. Comet ISON was just one of many sungrazing comet that have not survived this interaction with the sun.

How much of the comet remains it difficult to know at present time, but I am sure that more details are going to appear in next few hours to days on what did happen to comet ISON.

Comet ISON destroyed (or stripped of it’s material) according to new images

The space weather report website Spaceweather.com is reporting that comet ISON seems to have disintegrated when it passed close to the sun. There are now clues that some small part of the comet might have survived the passage, but it is minor and is unlikely to provide any type of tail as it did before it did go past the sun.

For images and more details please click on the following link.

Spaceweather.com
ISON Real Time gallery

News about the comet destruction (or close to it)

Comet Ison destroyed in Sun passage (BBC News)

Radio burst from the Sun

According to Spaceweather.com a solar radio burst took place yesterday (02.03.2013) at 19:54 UTC. This solar radio burst was strong enough to drown out normal short wave radio transmissions on Earth. More solar radio burst can be expected in next few days. Since the sunspot that is creating this is making C-flares at this moment.

More details on this radio burst can be found on Spaceweather.com.

Solar storm and solar radiation storm under way

During the night there was an M9 solar flare on the sun. This is almost an X-flare according to spacewatch.com. There is also an solar radiation storm heading it’s way to Earth at this moment. It is expected to be S3 in size. But that means that computer might reboot, mobile phones might get weaker signals and so on. A CME is expected to hit Earth tomorrow around 14:18 UTC.

More information on this can be found on Spaceweather.com. Both the progress of this solar radiation storm and updates on the CME. Solar storm weather scales can be viewed here.

A X1.4 solar far happened yesterday (22. September 2011)

According to Spaceweather.com there was a X1.4 solar flare yesterday. The CME is going to miss Earth magnetic field. But might just glance it on the edge. The X1.4 solar flare did peak around 11:00 UTC yesterday.

This solar flare was created by a new large sunspot that is just coming over the Sun eastern limb. It should be in direct view from Earth in about two to three days time I would think.