Posted by: Helen | November 21, 2007

Rich stars can’t buy ‘friends’


SMH, November 8, 2007 – 6:36PM

Owning a mountain of gold might go a long way to increasing your number of friends here on Earth, but not so if you happen to be a star.

Astronomers have known for about 10 years that stars containing a higher percentage of heavy elements like gold are more likely to be orbited by other planets.

But two researchers from the University of NSW (UNSW) and the Australian National University (ANU) have discovered that while these heavy stars may have more planets they are less likely to have other stars orbiting them.

Dr Charlie Lineweaver of the ANU and Dr Daniel Grether from UNSW conducted an extensive survey of nearby stars in our galaxy collecting information about their concentrations of heavy elements and whether they had planetary or stellar companions.

Dr Lineweaver said that the results were quite unexpected and would open the door to new research that could help with the discovery of Earth-like planets outside our own solar system.

“We have known for a long time that more metals means more planets. But now we have shown that more metals also means fewer stars. It was quite the opposite of what we expected,” Dr Lineweaver said.

The race to detect Earth-like planets has become a “hot-field” in astronomy and Dr Lineweaver and Dr Grether believe that more research into the correlation between heavy elements and stellar and planetary companions could help the search for worlds like our own.

Dr Lineweaver said that finding planets capable of supporting life similar to our own may not be that easy as multiple star systems are more common than single star systems.

“If you put all of the star systems from our galaxy in a bucket and reached in you would be far more likely to pull out a system with more than one star in it and as we have shown these are less likely to have planets,” he said.

To make matters worse, our sun is not typical for our part of the galaxy.

Dr Lineweaver says that while the sun has a typical amount of heavy elements it is a lot bigger than its neighbours.

“Our sun is about 90 per cent more massive than other nearby stars and bigger stars produce more small wavelength rays like UV, which are vital for the existence of life,” he said.


Hey guys! Helen is now online wit da blog! I just wanted to post this article up because it is just amazing how carefully God has planned our world! The nuances within the solar system are fascinating and really remind us how great our God is!

See you all tonight!

O Lord, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him?

the son of man that you care for him?

Psalm 8:1,3-4


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