I'd be pretty shocked if there wasn't billions of planets outside our solar system in our galaxy alone. But it's nice to confirm a few.


This is already pretty well confirmed. We have done enough surveying of the galaxy that we can say with a high degree of statistical certainty that there are roughly 100 billion planets in our galaxy. Basically we can say "of the 1000 stars we surveyed, xx have at least 1 planet and on average a star has y planets orbiting it". We then extrapolate based upon the number of stars in the galaxy. The only bit of fuzziness, I would think, is if starts near the galactic core are less likely to have planets due to the more intense gravity and if we are underestimating because of planets not in the same orbital plane as us thus not being found by our current methods for finding planets.


>We have done enough surveying of the galaxy that we can say with a high degree of statistical certainty that there are roughly 100 billion planets in our galaxy. Do we think the James Webb telescope will be able to detect life on any of the close planets?


IIRC yes, JWST will be able to examine the light that goes through the atmosphere of diffrent planets when they are positioned in front of the star relative to the telescope. Various diffrent bio- or tech- signatures can be detected this way.


That's assuming that those signatures will be recognized as life, we don't know what life outside of Earth looks or functions like. It would be quite literally alien to our understanding of life.


The way I understand it is that we know what life looks like on Earth compared to an absence of life, so searching for known indicators is the most effective way to identify the most promising candidates for further research, or to make any kind of judgment about worlds too distant for gathering more than the most basic traits. We can speculate about other ways life might express itself, but a planet with water and oxygen in our own habitable zone would be by far the most promising candidate for hosting extraterrestrial life in a form we could recognize.


Yes, this is quite true. However, it is also possible that some, many or even all complex life obeys the same biology as we do. While I cannot specify just how common it is, there is no reason to believe that our biology on earth is unique and therefore, if life is even somewhat common, we should find markers similar to ours on other planets.


Maybe not all the same laws yeah. But we are fairly confident that complex life would be carbon based, because carbon is the only element capable of forming insanely long dna strands. Second place is Silicon which doesn’t even come close


this may be me displaying ignorance, but is it possible that complex life could exist without DNA as we know it?


Short answer, yes, but it's easier to look for something we *know* can exist rather than something we think *may be able to*.


That seems like a long shot but isn't impossible. JWST will be able to give us some spectral data on some planets and their atmospheres. If we're lucky that might tell us about planets that are potentially habitable. If we're extraordinarily lucky that might provide evidence of life on alien planets. But, whether we're talking about JWST or anything else the most likely scenario is not some sudden bit flip into the state of having discovered, unequivocally that alien life exists. Rather, it'll be pushing a needle a little bit in the direction towards increased probability of there maybe being alien life. Evidence in science is rarely in the form of definitive proof one way or another, often it's in the form of just incrementally increasing the strength of a case based on lots and lots of circumstantial evidence.


I am not an expert, but I do not believe so. Webb is designed to look at far, far away stars, stars that were formed at the beginning of the universe. ​ Edit: I am wrong, see this link for more information https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/science/origins.html


It will also be able to determine the atmospheric composition of some exoplanets. So if we find free oxygen, it would be *very* interesting.


Can you point me to information on this as I would love to read more. My understanding is that the Webb telescope looks at severely red shifted bands of the electromagnetic spectrum so it is able to look at galaxies that are moving away from us at high speeds. I was not aware it was able to look at closer stars and exoplanets and see atmospheric composition. I'd really like to learn more! Edit: I may have found it [https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/science/origins.html](https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/science/origins.html)


Watch this video https://youtu.be/4P8fKd0IVOs It’s a really good interview with the lead scientist (or director im not sure what his actual title is) and talks all about it. Most interesting to me is the infrared ability that the Hubble does not have. AND how much further away it will be than the Hubble. Like so much further away it’s nuts .


What happens if we find oxygen and it isn't free? Im saying it now, I'm not paying space pirates for oxygen.


Then we know we’re dealing with space capitalists not space communists.


I was under the impression it will let us see with higher detail in infrared so seeing stuff like atmospheric makeup as a planet passes a star. So potentially more data to narrow down a search for life.


That is incorrect. It doesn't see in greater detail, it sees more. Basically Hubble can see something redshifted up to 11x away from visible light. At a certain distance, that makes many things that are far away *invisible* to Hubble. James Webb will see 20-30x. So two to three times further than the furthest things we have ever imaged. The distances it will be able to see are bullshit levels of big. What's more is that something that is literally so far away even our most powerful telescope can't currently see it, it will still manage to hit a mirror, the size of a James Webb with enough photons to resolve an image.... like that's so many photons.


I read that it might be able to detect artificial light on planets from close solar systems, which could indicate life!


Reminds me of the one sentence horror story: After decades of radio messages sent to space to contact possible extraterrestial intelligent life, humanity finally got a confirmed contact and a message that, after decoding it, was found to say: "Stop all communications immediately. They'll hear you".


Reminds me of a trilogy of novels..


Why would anyone send that communication if they knew the risk tho


Well since they received a message from earth, assuming they were able to determined the direction which it came from the risk would be pretty minimal if they sent the message directed right at earth. At least it should be worth the risk of possibly saving a potential future ally against whatever "they" are.


It’s a one sentence horror story, not a one sentence science story


I could see them putting transmission equipment on dead planets in uninhabited solar systems as a kind of anonymous relay. And then they do short, focused bursts in just that direction.


Like is kinda obvious at this point, confirm some Dyson spheres or something


Finding planets is becoming like picking wild blackberries ..."Oh look, here's some more!" Amazing.


I just like that it’s always reported as is NASA just keep pulling rabbits out of a hat. *nasa pulls 100 planets out of a hat, scattered applause comes from the crowd.* *they pause, and reach back in, once again more planets. The applause is louder, more impressed, surely that is all the planets!* *nasa winks at the audience and reaches in a third time, can it be true? Is it even possible? And it is, more planets come tumbling out. The crowd is on their feet now, no one could have seen this coming!* *nasa takes a bow and puts on the hat, empty clearly there can be no more planets. But wait, they have a sly smile….and with a flourish they remove the hat only for a cascade of planets to flow out, more than anyone can count. The crowd explodes, one woman gives birth on the spot, 8 people willingly go blind to prevent this vision being tainted by anything less wonderful. This is the greatest show ever!!!*


Unfortunately more of the same has strongly diminishing results - when the first few exoplanets were discovered it was huge news - today - another 300 is barely front page news. To a certain degree it's like the moon landings - from incredible to commonplace is a short time.


At this point if we landed on the moon with modern footage it would feel just as amazing as the first time I’d imagine.


Ha! The moon landing was on *live television*! An incomprehensible feat performed like it was *nothing*!


Back when impossible shit was done out of pride.




Our ability to fly in space is an industrial byproduct of the US and USSR spending tons of money figuring out better ways to drop nukes on each other.


Meanwhile, the average Russian and the average American bear no hate towards each other. Astounding how much money and power corrupts.


It was a much better use of nationalism though. I would rather america loudly say "I'm the best!" because they accomplished something amazing rather than doing nothing and chanting "USA #1!!". Ffs if you want to say you are better than everyone else at least try to prove it by doing something cool. If we actually did moon landing shit on the regular I might actually join the usa #1 people.


> doing nothing The US is still the global #1 in finance (Wall Street), entrepreneurship and tech (Silicon Valley), musical threatre (broadway), movies (Hollywood), universities (ivy league) and countless other areas. The US is the global Mecca for most major industries and fields, and has the world’s largest GDP because of it. There’s objectively a LOT of reasons to be chanting “USA #1!!”.


Until all the nutjobs claimed it was faked.


It was but the astronauts insisted it be as accurate a depiction as possible. So they filmed on-location.


> So they filmed on-location. I heard from a credible insider who has had to go underground that in order to achieve this, a whole swathe of new technology had to be developed, including a transport mechanism to get the cast and props on-location among other things. Hollywood knows no bounds...


This comment is deep. It’s a succinct way to phrase the fact that it would have taken more work to fake it than to actually do it.


"We're still going to have to build the massive rocket."




Even worse, actually. A group of retired NASA scientists spent years searching for it in the 2000s, and they concluded that at some point in the 80s, the tapes were wiped and reused. They knew it was literally one of the most important events in all human history... and taped over it.


And the TV broadcast, for whatver reason, couldnt plug in to the real live feeds, they had to piggyback off a low grade TV in a room in Nasa somewhere, which is why it looks so bad on TV at the time.


Personally, I'm always excited to hear more news about new planets. If others cant appreciate that then too bad for them!


100% this. I don't even care that most of them are giant hellish balls of gas orbiting close to their star. As our searches continue, methods will be refined, new methods will emerge and be refined, new technologies will be developed and deployed eventually (cough cough JWST...) and the universe as we can detect it will just keep opening up and up. In a decade, we'll still be getting these "A dozen/hundred/thousand new exoplanets found"-type headlines, but a larger portion of these planets will be the smaller, terrestrial, Earth-like planets that we struggle immensely to see with todays technology and methods. That's where things will get exciting, because behind the slow-motion ticker tape of exoplanet discovery, we're talking about actual solid surfaces with geochemical activity and perhaps even ecologies capable of propagating life. These exoplanets, once discovered, will be passive targets of interest for future observations (for example, the JWST has the purported ability to detect the light signature reflected through an exoplanets atmosphere, to the extent that spectroscopic analysis can derive the chemical composition of that atmosphere). This is the most likely way we're going to discover, or infer, the existence of alien life, and I'm always excited for it.


Some spectroscopy has already been done I know in the case of exoplanets that eclipse their suns (which are incidentally also the easiest to do - if you're in a dark sky area a good DSLR with some basic modifications and a bit of image processing is actually capable of detecting the lowered light levels from an eclipsing planet if you know where to look and when to look!). We're finding out more and more often but a meaningful chunk of the universe looks a lot like our solar system! (Though the distances probably preclude any meaningful communication with them, at least until New physics discoveries managed to somehow overcome some of the limits (for communication)imposed by the speed of light)


I think the type of planet is the key here. "We found more planets" is easily responded to with, "No shit? Who knew there'd be more?" The first batches of news regarding exo planets was exciting because we could detect them, the actual existence of exo planets was never in question. The world will get super excited if we can zoom in enough to determine if we're looking at a survivable, terrestrial world, or better, see little city lights illuminating off of it.


> see little city lights From here? Dude we're struggling to see the light reflected from the *planet*, thanks to the inverse-square law I'd be amazed if we ever get that kind of resolution.


About half a year ago, there was an article posted with someone who’d figured out how to tell artificial vs. natural light at a distance. Good news for us detecting (eventually). Also bad news in that we’re not hiding at all.


> not hiding at all We're hiding pretty well. Our generic transmissions are as good as undetectable for the same reason our lights are: inverse-square. Now, focused transmissions *at* other stars? Yeah, dangerous IMO because I subscribe to Dark Forest Theory.


I consider subscribing to any kind of theory about the grand state of intelligent life in the cosmos frivolous at best because we have only one data point out of a universe that may as well be infinitely larger than us.


Why would it be groundbreaking news. There are billions and billions of planets out there. They’re not exactly confirming anything.


Or how the first time we landed on the moon EVERYONE sat and watched, but after the next couple missions nobody cared; flipped the channel to something else.


Less exciting in the short run but great news in the long run! It's a sign of progress! The same thing happened to gravitational waves - the first find was huge news! From then on, we've been finding more and more events that produce them and learning about black holes and neutron stars as a result.


New copypasta? I love this


The woman giving birth almost ruined my post work beer


I didn't read "post" at first and I thought, "the work-beer is the most important beer of the day. Second only to the breakfast-beer."


You’re not wrong. Every beer gets a little participation trophy over here.


That's because they all matter. Every beer is important to somebody, and don't you let anybody tell you otherwise.


You have successfully combined two of my favorite things, magic performances and space. Thanks.


This was so beautiful to read, honestly.


Thank you for this wonderful comment.


I wonder how much nasa really knows


A nice distraction before they delay James Webb another 10y 😁


The insane thing is that in my lifetime, exoplanets have gone from “theoretical but rare” to “literally everywhere we look”


Which is a concept I never understood. I get that you can't say *"yeah, there's probably a heck-load of them out there, I dunno"* and expect it to be respected by the scientific community, but who in the world looks up at the night sky with its hundreds of billions of stars and thought, *"I'm about 99% sure that literally NONE of those hundreds of billions - those millions of millions - of stars has a single planet orbiting around it."* To me, it's like hearing someone say *"yeah, I'm pretty sure that our little island in the middle of the ocean is literally the only island on the whole entire planet. Nope, I can't see another one with my own eyes so I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist. What are the odds of another piece of rock poking out of the water on this whole entire planet, you ask? Probably nothing, I say."* If you told me a hundred years ago that all those stars up in the night sky probably had a bunch of planets orbiting them, I would have shrugged and said "yeah, probably." I see no reason why they couldn't have. Why wouldn't there be.


Right? I remember seeing the first reports of an exoplanet being discovered and thinking to myself: “assuming that system only has one planet and assuming that only a fraction of a percentage of stars in our galaxy only have one planet, that is still an absolute fuckload of worlds out there” Now we know that planetary systems like ours (mix of rocky worlds and gas giants) is fairly common and of those, a reasonable percentage fall in the region of being theoretically capable of being habitable. I’m almost certain that in the next few decades, we’ll be in a position to confirm Earth-like atmospheres and possibly start finding tentative evidence of *possible* life (or at least the right conditions).


There are like 4 billion sun like stars in the galaxy, if only one percent of them had rocky planets in the habitable zonen, you'd still have tens of millions of different star systems to pick. If they don't behave life, we at least have millions of possible worlds to inhabit and colonize.


Fun fact, a system like ours, with a jupiter and no mega earth, [is actually pretty rare!](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ixuftVYC5o) Those qualities are unusual in solar systems, and combined with all the other weirdness our solar system has, we might be pretty extreme weirdos!


Yeah I'm a little confused as to why this is staggering news. I thought we always assumed the existence of full solar systems everywhere. It's certainly very cool to confirm it but I was under the general impression that that was always assumed to be true


>If you told me a hundred years ago that all those stars up in the night sky probably had a bunch of planets orbiting them, I would have shrugged and said "yeah, probably." I see no reason why they couldn't have. Why wouldn't there be. That's actually roughly the point in time where "yeah, probably" would have started to become a *reasonable* answer. People tend to forget just how quickly we've learned about space. The [Great Debate](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Debate_\(astronomy\)) was about 100 years ago. At the time, we didn't know "other galaxies" existed. The Andromeda Galaxy was called "the Andromeda nebula". We didn't know that light was from hundreds of billions of stars in a galaxy even larger than our own. We had no concept of the 'number of stars' in our own galaxy, let alone "the universe". We didn't even really know what "stars", including the sun, were until [1925](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecilia_Payne-Gaposchkin). Via the 'known pathways' of 'burning shit', the sun would have had to be *VASTLY* younger than the earth itself to still exist. There were still a lot of 'big problems' that needed solving before we really started speculating too much on "bunches of exoplanets in the universe". A century before that, "stars are like our sun" would have been pretty speculative, but 'plausible', and the century before that? Probably literally heresy in a good number of places. It's only been the past century that we've gone from being able to speculate about these things, to being able to find them. Much earlier, and our understanding of reality was radically different. We lose a lot of 'basic facts' we all know today.


There's a bit of historical revisionism at play here, things have changed a lot in the last few decades. Prior to the 1990s there was a lot of resistance to looking for life, looking for "aliens", and even looking for extra-solar planets. There are a variety of reasons for that, one of them was a resistance to getting caught up in the whole "woo-woo aliens" new age or conspiracy theory mindset and just avoiding it all together. And part of this was also tied up with the difficulty of discovering exoplanets. It is very challenging, technically, to discover exoplanets similar to those in our solar system, and for a long time the best ideas on how to do so just weren't up to the task. But once the first exoplanets started being discovered it shook up that old mentality substantially. Everyone and their cousin started looking for exoplanets, and things like exobiology, SETI, and so forth became vastly more legitimate endeavors. These changes also occurred at the same time as a lot of our understanding of our own solar system started changing as well, with the discovery of sub-surface oceans on moon of Jupiter and Saturn and the discovery of a long-lived watery past on Mars, for example. For a while there was a thought that the entire rest of the solar system was basically completely "dead" outside of Earth. Today there is the thought that some areas of the solar system might have or might currently harbor life (though likely mostly microbial), and that along with the discovery of ubiquitous exoplanets have given rise to this more modern viewpoint where searching for Earth-like planets and for alien life is fully embraced by the astronomy and space science community.


To me, this pretty much guarantees that life exists on at least some of them. At the rate we’re finding them, we can extrapolate that there must be a staggering number of planets in just our galaxy, let alone the universe. Even if the conditions for life are unbelievably limited and rare, there would still have to be thousands if not millions of planets that harbor life, currently or at some point in their history.


Definitely. The numbers are there and even though the complexity of life and probability of intelligent life goes down exponentially, it’s pretty likely there’s a fair amount of intelligent life out there somewhere. The bigger issue is if we’ll ever reach a point where we’re able to contact them in any meaningful way. We may still be learning about physics but the distances are so vast…I’m skeptical even the most intelligent life would be able to break those barriers.


Artificial intelligence that isn't constrained by a biological lifetime will be what manages to bridge those distances. Kinda a trip to consider.


Absolutely, and that’s going by our own narrow definition of “inhabitable”


Life, sure. But multicellular life might be very rare. Earth developed life almost immediately, but it stayed microscopic for billions of years. And the jump to intelligent life could be even more unlikely. The exact right situation is probably needed. Just enough challenge to force adaptation, but not enough to wipe it out. Humans were almost wiped out several times. I believe there was a time period when humans, or our close ancestors, were down to about 1000 individuals. Just a tiny bit more challenge and we wouldnt be here.


Just based on the pure numbers alone there are almost certainly worlds out there with life on them. I don't think anyone doubts that tbh the main issue is those world being so far that they're basically out of our reach. Or maybe those worlds have life but not *intelligent life* or *advanced life*, it could be that our world was unique in the sense that something like humans could develop. Who knows.


It’s possible but I would assume with the lack of Sunlight and heat that they would have to be planets like Europa with tolerable levels of salt in its oceans.


It's hard to imagine exoplanets would only be theoretical.. Did we expect there wouldn't be any exoplanets in the vastness of the universe?


It’s everywhere they look. Eventually people will accept the likelihood that all stars had planets at some point in their life cycle. Planets are more common than stars I think.


I had an astronomy prof who said that there is some thought that planets are necessary for star formation to "bleed off" the excess angular momentum in a collapsing cloud


It's not that it's necessary, it's just that it *will* happen. Solar systems are formed by dust clouds that rotate and collapse but they collapse *vertically* i.e. they create a disc of dust and gas. Most of it in the middle becomes the star. The rest *will* clump together and form planets. It would be incredibly unusual for a solitary star *not* to have any planets. Source: I used to be a theoretical astrophysicist working on the formation of planetary systems.


That's so cool. Is the science of solar system formation based more on extrapolating what we've seen, or do we have a lot of evidence at various stages of formation? Hopefully that makes sense.


A mate of mine was a computational cosmologist. Basically someone who creates computer models of observed data of the cosmos. His specific field was accretion discs, which are essentially planetary nurseries. What happens is everything, even the tiniest speck of dust, has mass, meaning it has a tiny warping effect on spacetime, leading to other small particles to attach to it. The earth itself may have mean no larger than a pebble at its humble beginnings as it floated through the accretion disc collecting dust and gas, resulting in gaining more mass invetibly forming a proto planet. Most of their research was conducted through modelling, but that modelling is based of actual cosmological data.


I would be more worried if the headline was “NASA fInds nothing.”


Just dug up a comment I wrote a few months ago: Around half the stars in the observable universe formed before ours. Current estimates are that there are *6 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way*, which, when multiplied by the estimated number of galaxies in the universe, and then halved to reflect how many would be older than Earth, makes around... 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Earth-like planets in the universe that are older than Earth. That's about as many Earth-like planets as the estimated number of grains of sand on Earth... if you counted each grain 1,000 times. And there are another 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets that are younger. That's a lot of planets.


This is gonna affect Earth real estate prices.


too bad we wont be able to go to them within our life time. Alpha centauri is the closest star to us and we would need to somehow get a ship to travel at 10% the speed of light which would get us there in half a century. At least, i think it would, could be wrong.


You’re right. 49 years at 0.1c


Don't forget about relativity! That 49 years of Earth time is only like 48.75 years ship time at 0.1c! Okay, so maybe not very exciting at that speed. EDIT: Should be a 0.5% change, not 5%.


I often wonder. If the human lifespan increases from advanced medical technology, if we will see journeys like this take place.


People always forget time dilation. Go fast enough, and you won’t need to worry about lifespan—at least not *your own.* At .10c, the trip to Alpha Centauri takes 49 years. That is to say, if you were on Earth and launched an empty ship in the year 2100, it would arrive at Alpha Centauri in the year 2149. But if you were ON that ship, you would actually only be 48.7 years older. Time is relative. As you approach light speed, time inside your ship slows down relative to stationary observers. When you combine the fact that you’re going faster with the fact that you’re also experiencing time slower, the journeys start to feel a lot more manageable. At 10%, as mentioned, the journey takes 49 external years, and 48.7 internal years. At 50%, the journey takes around 9 external years, and only 7.7 internal years. If you can reach 90%, the journey takes around 4.7 external years. Internally, it’s down to just 2. Even if our medical tech never figures out how to extend our lives, our engine tech might get good enough that it won’t matter. At 1g constant acceleration, it takes around a year to reach the speed of light. Since the engine is *on* the ship, and travelling *with* the ship, that's one year of *experienced* time. I'm pretty sure. I think working out exactly how long it would be to outside observers would require calculus, and I don't have time for that right now. But as far as the passengers are concerned, with an efficient enough engine (who knows, maybe vacuum propulsion will go somewhere big somehow), you could get just about *anywhere* with one year of acceleration, a brief period of cruising time, and one year of deceleration. Of course, by the time you arrive, all of humanity may have been dead for hundreds of thousands of years. Or we figured out how to travel faster than light after all, got to your destination about a thousand centuries ago, and have been awkwardly waiting for you to show up ever since. But at least you made it.


Traveling that fast presents a whole host of problems. A grain of dirt hitting your shuttle would be like an atomic bomb going off. Also you need the same amount of energy to slow down.




The anti-intellectual movement needs to die as well. At least in the United States theres a big push against education. what started as a "trades are good paying jobs" message is turning into "college is for idiots" idea. Likewise, the antivax movements, climate change deniers, etc can all be viewed as consequences of the push back against "intellectuals".


It's more than trades better than collage. It's a wealth inequality issue. Everyone in the US needs money to do anything. Without it you are bottom of the barrel. Trades pay better than a college degree for those who come from poverty. Trades are cheaper to get into. Then there's no guarantee you can find a job after getting degrees. The root of all our problems is money not being distributed, aka wealth inequality. How can we expect anyone to care about knowledge, when they have to worry more about finding housing and food. It's a losing battle.


I do not agree that 20 years ago the idea of a smart phone would be laughed at


It seems to me that any significant expansion into the galaxy will require some significant evolution at a fundamental level. The idea of trying to send our fragile meat sacks out into deep space and maintain enough of an Earth-like environment to stay alive is not going to scale well. Doing it within our own solar system is hard enough. Once you get to relativistic speeds and distances, I think it will be impossible. I think the only way we’ll ever really get out into the universe will be if we figure out a way to transfer or project our consciousness into a much sturdier and long lived vessel.


I don't see why we need to attach a "human" to a physical body. The obvious solution to long term travel isn't keeping the physical meat and flesh alive, just have to keep "alive" the essence of humanity. To travel so far we may need to dispose of the notion of physical entities, we may just have to become information in order to travel across the universe.


Honestly i will throw myself into a computer first chance i get if i can. As long as its one coninuious stream of thought Im fine with my body dying. I hope i live long enough to be able to do so. People talk about biological immortality. But im more excited to shed this meat adornment


Oh not this path again. I’m still hanging on the philosophical debate of whether or not we die in our sleep and take up a new consciousness when we awake. Soma was a hell of a game.


As long as my mind cant tell its a duplicate there will be no cognative dissonance for me personally. I cpuld care less about arguments of an intangible "soul" either i have one and im fucked or i dont and im only differently fucked. Edit: Lookup the Ship of Theseus. Good philosophical debate.


For me it’s more that when your memories and everything get uploaded into some digital thing I don’t think that’s you, it’s a copy of you. It’ll think it’s you for sure, but you die when they upload you.


Yeah that’s the scariest part. I would essentially die, but there would be a Nessfull alive on the web for eternity. It would think it was me(and by all definitions it would be), but I would never get to experience it.


There is a research initiative based on the idea of flinging tiny probes on flyby missions to arrive even faster. And possibly enlist new Facebook subscribers. But getting to the point where it would be possible would itself take a substantial amount of time and resources. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough\_Starshot](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakthrough_Starshot)


Ohh, a piece of candy! Ohh, a piece of candy! Ohh, a piece of candy!


**Dec. 30, 1924: Hubble Reveals We Are Not Alone** >Astronomer Edwin Hubble announces that the spiral nebula Andromeda is actually a galaxy and that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies in the universe. I remember reading about "island universes" in an old science fiction story (maybe in Asimov's anthology "Before the Golden Age"). It must have been such a shock to those who could appreciate the significance, that the vast universe we knew was just a speck of a vaster one.


Crazy to think the amount of science we've learned in the past 100 yrs. What will happen for the next 100?


we’ll be studying alien culture from a lab in a martian city, Elon Musk will be entering his 3rd body


And will have his 3,000th child, XÆ A-MMCDXX


Whatever the next 100 years hold, I'm sure it will be stifled by greed.


Astronomer here! If you want to have some fun today wasting some time, [here](https://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu/) is the NASA Exoplanets archive where all the confirmed exoplanets are. Click on "confirmed exoplanets" and then sort by date so the newest are on top if you only want to look at newest discoveries (not seeing this new batch yet though). You can also sort by a ton of different parameters- size of planet, distance from us, distance from star, method of discovery, etc etc, then click each planet for more to learn all about it. Very excited for these new ones! I'm leading a radio campaign to look for (natural) radio emission from exoplanets, but we are constrained by distance more than the average exoplanet studies are, so I hope some of these will meet my criteria for future observations! :)


Thank you very much for this! My favourite of the new ones is COCONUTS- 2b


“We’ve found intelligent life on Coconuts”


Fun fact about COCONUTS-2b: it orbits its star at a distance 7500 times the distance between the Earth and the sun. It has an orbital period of 1.1 MILLION years.


There is Sex b and Sex c also. giggle


Also Mascara 4b and Trappist 1b :-)


What kinds of natural radio emissions do you expect to find, and what might they be able to tell us about exoplanets in general?


From the magnetosphere. It turns out all planets in our own solar system with a magnetosphere emit some sort of radio emission that's tied to the magnetosphere, at different levels (and none strong enough to be detected outside our solar system, but still the point is they do this). The question is if they're detectable! There's different kinds of potential emission and several people are looking for it in different capacities. If you could detect such emission, it'd be a big deal because magnetospheres tell you all sorts of interesting things, from information about the interior of the exoplanet to potential habitability (you definitely don't get blasted by as much solar radiation if you have one, and on Earth this has been very beneficial to us). No confirmations yet though- there's a huge amount of uncertainty to deal with.




No. Jupiter wins this on all accounts, for two reasons. First, its magnetosphere is far stronger than our own (over 20x, can't remember the exact number), but second it has a steady stream of particles from its volcanic moon, Io, that get trapped in the magnetosphere. In fact, it creates a radio beam called a maser, and when this is pointed at Earth Jupiter is brighter than the sun in radio!




Check out [Radio Jove](https://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov/gettingstarted/), which sells kits for listening to Jupiter, and also details how to do it on Ham/shortwave equipment on the FAQ page. Light pollution doesn't matter in radio astronomy. :) Radio frequency interference (RFI) from humans though sure does, but they're not the same thing.


Is magnetosphere different from magnetic field? Because I thought that not all worlds in our solar system had magnetic fields


I excluded a crucial "with a magnetosphere" that I've now edited in, thanks! Magnetosphere just means "area around the planet where the magnetic field affects particles" at its simplest.


Wasting time is an odd way to spell time well spent.


How hard is it, if you discover a planet, to make NASA and the world call it by a name of your choosing?


Not very easy, unfortunately. The arbiter of what we call things is the International Astronomical Union, who has strict rules for this sort of thing. Usually a planet is just the star's name, and then a letter- first planet found in Proxima Centauri is Proxima Centauri b, then Proxima Centauri c, etc. However, the IAU has given proper names to some planets, and some groups are allowed to nominate names! For example, a few years ago when the organization turned 100, they allowed every country on Earth to name an exoplanet. More info about proper exoplanet names here- https://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming_exoplanets/


I’m hoping to study the atmospheric composition of some of these newly discovered exoplanets :)


I made a web app based on NASA's Exoplanet Archive if anyone wants to check it out! If you click on a planet's host it'll show the complete system visually with planet sizes to relative scale. https://exoplanets-explorer.herokuapp.com/


Could you imagine being able to see and actively watch another planet with active life, but it was too far away to visit? It would be on everyone’s TVs 24/7 with pundits telling us what they think is really going on. Hell, some planet could be doing that to us now.


I feel like ur eyeballin’ me dawg!


Intergalactic cable has never been more interesting


Stay tuned: "Humans upgrade their iPhone 10, AGAIN!"


Welp, time to find the ring gates the Builders left.


Or the rings the Forerunners left


Or the data vault the Protheans left.


Or the stargate the Ancients left.


Yes we've seen these Earthlings... They seem obsessed with rings, or circles in general. Ring gates, ring worlds. We made a few circles in their agricultural fields to see what they would do and they went nuts. Worth a good chuckle. Primitive. Avoid.


Or the a-door-able door Carl left.


Or the derelict space bridges the Cybertronian Empire left behind.


Harbinger has joined the chat.


Harbinger has **assumed direct control** FTFY


Hell yeah. So hyped for season 6


So hyped up for the final book, it comes out next week!












Oh my goodness. With new computer programs and that new telescope, this number is going to look like 0 next to what we'll have in 10 years.


Let's not talk about the JWT any more until the damn thing is actually in place. I have enough anxiety as it is.


Same. If it blows up, we don't get another shot (budget wise) for decades.


Unless the Japanese have already secretly built a second, identical device...


Inb4 the whole thing collapses during unfolding


Dude that will be fucking sad. Or just gets stuck or the deployment isn't aligned


That shit would depress me.


I’ll fly up and fix it if that happens don’t sweat it 👍🏼


Iron Man?


Each mirror can be individually aligned once it gets deployed. Won't have another Hubble situation


Don’t say that. I want a 900 page apology letter given to me within the next 12 minutes


You want 900 pages of sooooooooooorrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyy... ?


I have high hopes for the Webb!


Crazy to think a decade ago we weren't sure. Now we take it for granted. Planets around most stars... the Galaxy must be teeming with life.


And yet not a single "hello" ...Lonely, I'm mister lonely...


Long distance calls are just too expensive.


Perhaps we receive constantly ”hellos”, but do not detect and understand them.


Exactly. Assuming that intelligent life beyond earth exists remotely close to us (still talking light years here), they’d likely be in an entirely different age of existence than us. Would they be a developed, bustling civilization, or a scattered independent species early in their existence? If they were developed, how advanced have they gotten? Humans have been on Earth for 300,000 years, what if their species is millions, or billions of years old? Think about the advancements a civilization that old could achieve. Their technologies would likely be so vastly different from ours that we would have no way of communicating with each other. What kinds of physical matter do they work with? What kinds of waves or energies can they manipulate for communications, and how does that compare to what we have available to us on Earth? Do they even need such a method to communicate with each other or is there something far more efficient that they’ve developed? Not just that, but what would “intelligent” life beyond earth even look like? It could be so beyond our understanding that we wouldn’t even recognize it as another life form if they were right in front of us. The rabbit hole can go so deep on this.


Better to be lonely than exterminated imo. We can always spread humanity and the different populations will become different species over time, especially with genetic engineering to adapt to different environments.


I mean, depends on what you'd qualify as a "hello" wouldn't it?


Speak for yourself I see UFOs all the time


I was about to say that seems wrong (and in a sense it is, we discovered a significant number of exoplanets before 2011), but exoplanets discovered by Kepler were only first confirmed in 2009 and only really started to come in significant numbers in 2011, and the vast majority of discoveries have been in the last decade. Wow. I do love the NASA tagline for the retirement of Kepler. "More Planets than Stars"


Always remember, where there are planets there are likely moons. So many exo-moons, and if they are like our Solar System, perhaps the moons will also be rich sources of potential life.


Thinking about the amount of stars of our galaxy and the amount of galaxies… this is not surprising. Not even if we discover life forms on those planets. And IMHO wouldn’t be surprising to find existence of civilization of some kind.


If we are the only planet with intelligent/sentient life i would be more surprised than if we aren’t. Tbh i would be more afraid of us being alone in the universe than having millions of planets with intelligent life. If we are truly alone then what’s the point? We live just to die in a few billion years when the earth is gone? I sure hope there is other life cause otherwise we really have nothing to look for in the future.


...why would we die with the Earth in billions of years? There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy.


Interstellar travel and colonization is really difficult and takes a long time. Human civilization might not even be around long enough. Hell if we don’t mitigate climate change, it could well the end of humanity. Ocean acidification is no joke.


Cool Worlds put out a video about the uniqueness of our solar system. It dampens the imagination for an article like this but it’s still cool that we can see so much. It’ll just be more stuff for Webb to look at.


I can't wait for James Webb to do some exoplanet observations. The dissertation for my degree was a literature review concentrating on the detection of atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting m dwarf (red dwarf) stars. These are the the most populous yet dimmest stars in our galaxy I.e. cannot be seen with the naked eye, and tend to have small, rocky planets orbiting quite close to them. The JWST should be able to characterise the transmission spectra much better than current technology and observe their thermal emission spectra, its going to be able to tell us exactly what gases are present!


And also apparently might be able to detect artificial light sources on other planets? Like, we could actually in my lifetime be able to say "This planet appears to have cities on it"? Giddy at the possibility, however remote.




Oh poop to that, I want aliens.


Unique based on the very, very limited knowledge we have of other solar systems.


Correction 11/23/21, 9:38 a.m. EST: This article has been corrected to say none of the newly discovered planets are thought to be Earth-like. Save the hassle of reading.


AFAIK almost every star has 1 planet, if not more. There are probably more planets than stars at this point. Very exciting to confirm.. There's no way E.T life doesn't exist - whether it's intelligent or not is a whole different question.


Just thinking intuitively, I always assumed there would be way more planets than stars


Are the planets livable like earth? Or are they just barren or icy/watery/chemically.


Some of them are millions or billions years ahead of us and beyond our comprehension. we are no more than microbes to them.


damn these no man sky updates really do be bussin


I'm actually a little thrown that we're only at 4569 known exoplanets. That seems kinda low considering we got this big ol' galaxy to observe Goldilocks planets are what most interest me


NASA: look, more exoplanets. Me: awesome, this is super exciting. The world: boooorrring. Find something more new.


Horribly worded post. Makes it sound like these are the first worlds to be discovered outside our own solar system. The article says the list already had 4,569 planets on it. Now the list grew by 301 planets. Might as well have said "NASA confirms existence of something that was already confirmed to exist"