Monday, September 27, 2010

What our solar system looks like to aliens and coreshine

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 - Science is literally in the dark when it comes to the birth of stars, which occurs deep inside clouds of gas and dust. These clouds are completely opaque to ordinary light. Now, a group of astronomers has discovered a new astronomical phenomenon that appears to be common in such clouds, and promises a new window onto the earliest phases of star formation. The phenomenon - infrared light that is scattered by unexpectedly large grains of dust, which the astronomers have termed "coreshine" - probes the dense cores where stars are born. See article.
g Abodes - New supercomputer simulations tracking the interactions of thousands of dust grains show what the solar system might look like to alien astronomers searching for planets. The models also provide a glimpse of how this view might have changed as our planetary system matured. See article.
g Message - Visiting another civilization on a distant world would be fascinating, but at present such a trip is beyond our capabilities. However, it is perfectly within our capabilities to develop a communications system using a powerful transmitter and a sensitive receiver, and using it to search the sky for alien worlds whose citizens have a similar inclination. See article.
g Cosmicus - The second model of Europe's automated space station cargo carrier will not be launched until February 2011 at the earliest, rather than in December as planned, in what European government and industry officials said Sept. 21 is a classic conflict between commercial and government customers that use the same rocket. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat site: The World At Night. TWAN is a program to produce and present a collection of stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against the celestial attractions. The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above symbols of all nations and regions, attesting to the truly unified nature of Earth as a planet rather than an amalgam of human-designated territories.

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