Tag Archives: planets

TRAPPIST-1: A Solar System of Earth-Sized Planets

The announcement that NASA hinted about being a major discovery related to planets orbiting another star turned out to actually be pretty major. In many cases, we’ve seen announcements of huge planets, single Earth-sized planets, or a super-Earth in the habitable zone around a star. This time, it’s even more significant.

TRAPPIST-1 is a very cool and small red dwarf star 39 light years away. Not only does it have one Earth-sized planet, but it has seven. And it’s not just one of them in the habitable zone, it’s three. How’s that for amazing?

Two were originally discovered by The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope (TRAPPIST) in Chile, then confirmed by NASA’s Spitzer Telescope. But Spitzer discovered a further five planets. When the James Webb Space Telescope is in operation, it will be used to study these planets even further. We may be able to discover the atmospheric composition, determining if they’re potentially habitable.

As these are planets orbiting a red dwarf, they are close to the star, with the outer planet having an orbital period of only 20 days. This means that they’re likely to be tidally locked, with one side of each planet facing the star. They don’t have enough information about the outer planet to determine its exact size, but scientists guess that it may be icy.

NASA released this video on the planets:

What do you think of this news? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

Advertisements

Would You Move to Another Planet?

In my upcoming book, Knights of Ariadne, humanity has colonised a world outside of our solar system for the first time. I’m currently writing Journey to Ariadne, the web serial that sets up this world. Part of that story is the journey to the new planet. I also recently watched the movie Passengers, where they are doing the very same thing, traveling to another planet to colonise it. One of my favourite novels is Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson. It’s all about colonising Mars. This whole concept has me intrigued.

Reading about it is fun. I love reading books about people traveling to a new world to colonize it. But would I do it myself? It depends on my circumstances. If my life were totally different, and I had few to no attachments here on Earth, I absolutely would.

Some of the reasons I would do this are:

  • It’s an adventure.
  • A chance to make a difference in society.
  • The ability to establish a new society.
  • Exploring a completely new world.
  • Discovering new life.
  • Building a home and making a new life for myself.
  • The feeling of being one of the first people to experience this world.

Of course, it’s not going to be easy. The early years would likely be difficult. Food would be an issue. Would our crops grow on this world? Would this world provide food we could eat? Would there be any dangers from animals or plants on this planet? There’d be no help if there were a major emergency.

But the challenge would be worth it. Just the chance to experience a new world around another star and see previously unknown life would be incredible.

How about you? Would you do it? Let me know in the comments section.

Continuing My No Man’s Sky Adventure

I played a bit more No Man’s Sky today, and made some pretty good progress. But let me show you the third planet I visited.

That is so pink! The first two planets were much more subdued in colour, but this one was so brightly coloured. It’s like the fluorescent planet with pink grass.

From where I left off yesterday, I managed to get my hyperdrive and a warp cell, so I can travel to another system. However, I haven’t explored all the planets in my home system. I’ve made it to my third planet, and still have a fourth planet to explore.

So, starting at the second planet, I was able to get my hyperdrive installed, and I went searching around for fuel. I needed antimatter. I found an installation that had a door sealed with steel. I tried destroying that, but I was then attacked by a couple sentinel drones, which I destroyed. Then they sent elite sentinels after me! I don’t have a weapon yet! I only have the mining laser. I ran for my ship and took off, going straight up into space. I went to the space station, did some trading, and decided to head to the third planet. But before I went, I got a transmission from the second planet to come back to an outpost I visited before. I actually got some antimatter at that outpost earlier on, and now they were asking me to come back. I went down, and the alien there asked me for some titanium. I went out searching for it, came back, and he changed his mind. He wanted carbon! I gave him carbon, and in exchange he gave me… carbon? What was the point of that?

Anyway, that’s when I decided to get off the planet and head to the third planet. I haven’t explored it much, but I did check out a beautiful cave filled with colourful minerals.

Some other things that happened included going swimming in a small pond on the second planet, which is about 30% water. I discovered many kinds of plants, animals, and minerals. I also renamed all the animals and planets. I haven’t done the plants yet, though. You see, when you discover something, you have the right to name them whatever you want (but don’t bypass censors), and you get money! And if you discover all animals on a planet, you get a lot of money. My first and third planets have eight or nine species to discover, but the second planet is totally devoid of animals. Only plants.

The first planet is considered balmy, but it’s actually quite hot, requiring me to use thermal shielding in my suit. Also, it has active volcanic vents. The second planet is also balmy, but it’s far more comfortable, and quite earth-like, except it has less water and only plants. The third planet is humid, nice temperature, and very colourful.

I’m thinking of keeping track of all the planets and showing you a picture of what I see. I’m not playing this game on my own computer, so no screenshots. Only photos. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Choose My Best Instagram Photos – Round 1, Group 38

I’ve finished adding Japan photos to Instagram, so it’ll be capped at 63 groups for the first round. Once we finish group 63, we’ll move on to the second round, which will be randomly sorted photos that passed the first round. It’ll basically be the same format.

But now, on to the 38th group. This time, you get to see trains, buildings, and darkness. Enjoy!

The rules are simple. I post 10 of my Instagram photos every few days, and you get to vote on your favourites. It’s multiple choice, so please vote for 2 to 4 photos (3 is ideal). Leave a comment saying why you voted the way you did. The poll comes after the photos.

Here are the photos:

View this post on Instagram

¥100 only

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Sotetsu train car 7

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Marker in the station

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Sotetsu Shonandai Station Staff

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Hina Matsuri is today

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Cyclist in the fog

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Remember 311

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Venus and Jupiter meeting

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Venus and Jupiter up close

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

View this post on Instagram

Walkways in the sky

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

 

And now the vote. Please vote for your favourite photos (ideally 3, but anywhere between 2 and 4):

Please leave a comment with a reason for your votes. I’d like to know what works with my photography. Thanks!

NASA’s Big Kepler Announcement: It’s Not Aliens

NASA announced recently that they would be making a big announcement today about a discovery by the Kepler Telescope. Well, the announcement is that 1,284 planets have been discovered. And what’s really big is that there’s a 99% chance that they are planets. Here’s a graph of the planets that have been discovered so far.

keplerplanets
The known planets discovered so far with Kepler. Credit: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel

Of course, before the announcement was made, many people were speculating on what the announcement would be. This includes science groups on Facebook. Groups that I would think would know better. You see, this is what people were saying: NASA is going to announce aliens!!!!

First of all, science groups were saying this. Really? Too many science groups are promoting both junk science and hype.

Secondly, NASA is not going to announce aliens when they said they were talking about a Kepler discovery. Kepler is not designed to detect life. It cannot detect life. Kepler deals with detecting planets that cross in front of their stars. That does not include detecting alien civilisations or even life. Further observation is required to study the atmosphere, and even then, we can’t be certain if there’s life.

However, several of the new planets are fairly close to Earth-sized and in the habitable zone of their stars. That is exciting. Those planets will be studied to pinpoint their sizes and atmospheres.

So, relax. No aliens will be discovered by Kepler. I don’t know why people even thought that.

A Must See Planetary Alignment

Back in May 2002, I was treated to an amazing planetary alignment. Just after sunset, I could see all of the naked eye planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all lined up in the sky. You can read about it on the American Association of Amateur Astronomers website, which shows how websites looked back in 2002.

That was the first time I’d ever been able to see Mercury.  But to see all of the naked eye planets was incredible.  It happened again in 2005, but I didn’t see that. However, for the next month, you can see it in the morning just before dawn. So, you have to get up early to see this! It’ll be visible in the east, so you’ll need a good spot to view it from and clear skies. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it means braving the cold. It begins January 20th and ends on February 20th.

This video does a good job at illustrating what you’ll see.

Are you going to get up early to see this alignment?

Space Exploration Novels

I’m a big fan of space exploration, whether it’s the solar system or outside the solar system. The idea of discovering new things is very attractive to me.

I always enjoyed watching Star Trek, and have enjoyed reading discovery-related novels like Ringworld and the Hyperion Cantos where we could see many different worlds. It was very interesting.  Even the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson is filled with exploration.

I’d like to know about science fiction novels that focus on space exploration and discovering new worlds. If you know any, please leave a comment. Let’s make a good list of them.