View Full Version : Oldest Planetary System Discovered, Improving the Chances for Intelligent Life Everyw

2015-Jan-27, 02:10 PM
Using data from the Kepler space telescope, an international group of astronomers has discovered the oldest known planetary system in the galaxy an 11 billion-year-old system of five rocky planets that are all smaller than Earth. The team says this discovery suggests that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the Universe’s 13.8-billion-year history, […]

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2015-Jan-27, 03:26 PM
11 billion year old rocky planets? This discovery could bump any ideas of us being the first kids on the block down to just being the new kids on the block.

2015-Jan-27, 06:24 PM
I think the prevailing wisdom was that gen 1-3 stars didn't create enough heavy metals to allow rocky planets to form. however this seems to have overturned that assumption. I guess they'll have to rethink that.

Doesn't help answer Fermi though.

2015-Jan-27, 10:47 PM
My memory probably needs some updating, but weren't the very first stars super massive stars, short lived, and ended their lives relatively quickly as hyper novas? Would this not create the elements necessary to build solar systems very early on throughout the young universe?

Thanks Fraser, this is BIG News! Up there imho with Dr. Hubble discovering that the Milky Way isn't the Universe, just a speck in it.

2015-Jan-28, 08:18 PM
Yes, I think the first stars are thought to be so massive and short-lived that we don't see any.

I have previously guessed that maybe early planets were mostly small brown dwarfs (i.e. gas giants) and speculated that a small rocky planet might result from having a massive hydrogen/helium envelope blasted away.

This system suggests my fanciful guess was just plain wrong. It seems small rocky worlds were more common early on than gas giants (my fanciful guess would have suggested the opposite).

I wouldn't count out these planets from habitability just yet, though. If they are tide locked to the star, and lack atmospheres, then the dark side might harbor underground oceans with life.