Thursday, August 05, 2010

Light in a stellar nursery and hundreds of billions of orphan worlds

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars - An international team of astronomers has conducted research on the properties of light in a massive star-forming region of the Orion Nebula and have investigated a process that may have played a role in the development of life on Earth. See article.
g Abodes - Orphan planets could be more numerous than stars! In our own galaxy alone, there would be hundreds of billions of these wandering worlds. See article. This article is from 2005.
g Message - Is SETI - the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence - a religion? See article. This article is from 2006.
g Cosmicus - In scientific circles we are perhaps used to thinking of the word “principle” as “order,” “certainty” or “a law of the universe.” So the term “uncertainty principle” may strike us as something akin to the terms “jumbo shrimp” or “guest host” in the sense of juxtaposing opposites. See article. This article is from 2004.
g Learning - A spectacular gathering of three of the brightest planets will be the chief celestial attraction in the evening sky during the next few days. Anyone with a clear and unobstructed view of the west-northwest horizon will be able to Venus, Mars and Saturn in a single glance. See article.
g Imagining - No longer can a science fiction writer create a goo-dripping alien just because a story line requires an adversary from another planet to drop in on our unsuspecting world. The average reader is not going to buy into the B-rated movies of old; it takes more than an actor in a rubber mask for them to suspend their disbelief and enjoy a story or novel. Bringing an alien species into a novel requires a bit of planning and thought on the part of the writer. See article.
g Aftermath - Book Alert: Science fiction writers have given us many fine novels contemplating humankind's first contact with intelligent extraterrestrials. But our nonfiction world has not thought much about what to do if we are actually faced with this situation. Jean Heidmann, Chief Astronomer at the Paris Observatory (and self-styled bioastronomer), offers a book, “Extraterrestrial Intelligence,” on the subject that is at once serious and fun. Heidmann's obvious joy in raw speculation — all of it grounded in real science — is contagious. If aliens send us a message from many light years away, for example, how should we respond? See reviews.

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