Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why "Planet Goldilocks" likely isn't

All the science stories in the last 24 hours have been touting the alleged "Planet Goldilocks" as the first outside our solar system compatible for life similar to ours.

Fact one - its revolution and rotation are synchronous, so that it eternally turns the same face to its home star. At a distance of just 19 million miles, then sunlit side is getting fried more than Mercury. And, unless it has a thick enough atmosphere, the star-based side is chilling. That said, it would also be a fine line between "just enough" atmosphere to keep the dark side warmed up a bit, and so thick an atmosphere that you get Venerean effects.

Besides, if the atmosphere is that thick enough, that close to the home star, with that short of a revolutionary period, what sort of storms might be generated?

Beyond that, we're talking massive solar wind that close to the home star, with a planet that might well not have enough magnetic field to keep the planetary surface from heavy bombardment.

So, Goldilocks it ain't.

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