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Thread: Could WISE find a Jupiter-size or larger exoplanet around Alpha Centauri?

  1. #1
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    Could WISE find a Jupiter-size or larger exoplanet around Alpha Centauri?

    According to Wikipedia, WISE can detect a Jupiter-mass planet at a distance of 1 light year, and a 2-3 Jupiter-mass planet/brown dwarf out to 2-3 parsecs, which is 6.5-9.7 light years.

    Is it possible that WISE could find a Jupiter or larger size exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri (4.37 light years), if it exists?

  2. #2
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    not if it's too close to Alpha Cen

    The optics on WISE yield a FWHM of around 5 or 6 arcseconds. That means that any planet closer to Alpha Cen than 5 or 6 arcseconds (which corresponds roughly to 6 AU) will be blended together with the light of the star itself.

  3. #3
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    Its calculated that to have a stable orbit around any binary a rule of distance must be adhered to... after about 1.6 au the gravity well of the second star would prohibit existence. closer to and Earth sized remain undetected and invisible to us yet...

  4. #4
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    2552,

    Is it possible that WISE could find a Jupiter or larger size exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri (4.37 light years), if it exists?
    Alpha Centauri is believed to be a triple star system. Alpha Centauri A and B orbit each other other about every 80 years. Alpha Centauri C, also called Proxima Centauri, is thought to orbit the other two and is the closest star to the sun.

    http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/as...s/970717b.html

    Somewhere orbiting one of those three stars or a combination thereof, I would bet there is a planet as large or larger than Jupiter. If this planet is orbiting "close" to one of those stars (but not too close, re: comment StependousMan), and/ or is much larger than Jupiter, or transits the star in our direct line of sight, WISE or other detection instrumentation will probably be able to find it sooner or later. Smaller planets will naturally be more difficult to find.
    Last edited by forrest noble; 2010-Jan-20 at 12:41 AM.

  5. #5
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    They are currently searching for planets around Alpha Centauri 3. You can read about it here.

  6. #6
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    Excellent link, Thanks jonfr.

    Lets just pack the bags and go there... I do hope they are friendly. With our best, could I do this in less than 18 years ?

  7. #7
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    astromark,

    Lets just pack the bags and go there... I do hope they are friendly. With our best, could I do this in less than 18 years ?
    If my calculations are correct we could make the round trip in less than a year at Warp 2, and still have a couple of months of excursion time visiting with the friendly natives. But from what I've heard you have to stay away from Alpha Centauri A, planet #9 (Hargard) since supposedly some unholy x-rated practices are currently taking place there. -- Robert Heinlein --

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    If my calculations are correct... at Warp 2
    Can you explain?

  9. #9
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    Hungry4info,

    My quote:
    If my calculations are correct... at Warp 2
    Can you explain?
    Warp Drive is from the science fiction Star Trek TV and Movie series. Warp 1 accordingly is the speed of light. The Warp scale numbers increase by a factor of ten like the Richter scale or the Luminosity (brightness) scale except Warp Drive is solely science fiction. Warp 2 therefore would be ten times the speed of light; Warp 10 was the fastest they could go which accordingly would be a billion times the speed of light (pretty fast). The Alpha Centauri star system is about 4 1/2 light years away. This means that the light we see at night from these stars was produced about 4 1/2 years ago. AT a science-fiction speed of warp 2 we would be traveling at 10 times the speed of light. This would mean the trip to the Alpha Centauri system would only take about 5 months and 12 days, and the round trip about 10.8 months. So in a year's time we'ld still have time to visit with the "friendly natives." The author mentioned is Robert Heinlein, a science fiction author.

    If you are Hungry for info like your name implies, my previous posting won't help you much since it's only attempted trivia humor for sci-fi buffs.

    ........... I'm fairly sure the BAUT banner is fake.
    Those are fighting words -- is to a real photo

    regards
    Last edited by forrest noble; 2010-Jan-25 at 11:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by forrest noble View Post
    Warp Drive is from the science fiction Star Trek TV and Movie serious. Warp 1 accordingly is the speed of light. The Warp scale numbers increase by a factor of ten like the Richter scale or the Luminosity (brightness) scale except Warp Drive is solely science fiction. Warp 2 therefore would be ten times the speed of light; Warp 10 was the fastest they could go which accordingly would be a billion times the speed of light (pretty fast).
    To be even more trivial and nerdy, forrest noble you are confusing the old and new Warp scales. The Warp speed scale from the old Star Trek (the Original Series, TOS) was simply the cube of the Warp number, with no set limit (for instance they go to "warp 14" in one episode). So Warp 2 in the old scale is 8 times the speed of light, not 10, and warp 10 is 1,000 times c.

    But the New warp scale as used on The Next Generation (TNG) and onwards, is slightly different, it's the Warp number to the power of 3.3333... But only up to Warp 9, after that it gets a bit strange, since warp 10 is infinite speed (impossible to reach). So after warp 9 a new function is used that increases the speed exponentially, i.e. warp 9.9 is much faster than warp 9, and warp 9.99 is orders of magnitude faster, etc. BTW in the new scale warp 2 is indeed 10 times c, and warp 8 is 1,024 times c, about the same as warp 10 in TOS.

    I would provide links for this stuff, but there's just so many of them out there, Google it and you'll find loads of info on it, as well as debates about how to calculate values above warp 9.

  11. #11
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    Murphy,

    No links needed. Thanks for the info re: fictional warp drive.
    Last edited by forrest noble; 2010-Jan-25 at 11:34 PM.

  12. #12
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    The OP... The answer is yes. but less likely than a much smaller planet closer to these stars.
    As for this Warp Drive question. As yet its fiction and may remain as such forever... and has no place here.

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