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Thread: And we thought we were big

  1. #1
    ArnoldLayne
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    And we thought we were big

    This is a cool way of explaining the vast size of the planets, sun and stars.

    Poor pluto gets reduced to the size of dust when compared to the red giants

    http://webisto.com/space/

  2. #2
    Senior Member woppy71's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    Quote Originally Posted by ArnoldLayne
    This is a cool way of explaining the vast size of the planets, sun and stars.

    Poor pluto gets reduced to the size of dust when compared to the red giants

    http://webisto.com/space/
    Wow, that really does make me think how small and insignificant we are in the universe....
    Behaviour breeds behaviour - treat people how you would like to be treated yourself

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Rapunzel's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    Quote Originally Posted by ArnoldLayne
    This is a cool way of explaining the vast size of the planets, sun and stars.

    Poor pluto gets reduced to the size of dust when compared to the red giants

    http://webisto.com/space/
    WOW!
    That really puts things in perspective!

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    Senior Member MoreThanALover's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    We are just a speck...not even a speck. Wonder if there are other LIVING beings out there.

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    Senior Member woppy71's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    Quote Originally Posted by MoreThanALover
    We are just a speck...not even a speck. Wonder if there are other LIVING beings out there.
    Theres got to be some other living creatures out there. There's got to be. Whatever created us, must still be out there.
    Behaviour breeds behaviour - treat people how you would like to be treated yourself

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    Senior Member MoreThanALover's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    Quote Originally Posted by woppy71
    Theres got to be some other living creatures out there. There's got to be. Whatever created us, must still be out there.

    I thought God created us? eh..I'll go out into space (hehe out into) and find other life forms!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Felinessa's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    Well, yes, our Sun is a pixel in comparison with Antares or Betelgeuse.

    But let's consider this:

    Betelgeuse and Antares are Red Supergiants; Arcturus and Aldebaran are Red Giants (although they're actually orange). Betelgeuse and Antares are old stars, who may have gone supernova a while ago, but the image hasn't reached us yet. Or they may go supernova not too far into the future.

    Aldebaran (or Alpha Tauri), another red giant, is part of a binary system, having Beta Tauri, a cool dwarf, as its companion. They've speculated that it might have a planet, but its dimensions are so enormous, that it might actually be a brown dwarf.

    Rigel is a Blue Supergiant, a young star with a limited life-span (a few million years) because of its enormous energy output. Also, it's part of a three or four-star system (they've identified Rigel B and Rigel C, but they're not sure if the fourth really exists - it may be just Rigel's pulsations).

    Now this means:

    - the red giants and supergiants have a relatively cool surface and may go supernova at any time, which is not a pleasant prospect
    - the blue giants are too hot
    - binary and other multiple stars are generally orbited by planets with unstable orbits - the planets usually titter far too close to one of the stars at least once per revolution

    Therefore, impressive as they are, they aren't exactly propitious for planets that could sustain the development of life (the planets would be too hot, too cold, too close, too far, too unstable).

    Or, if we look at gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, they are impressive as planets as well, but they can't foster life.

    As small as our Earth may be, it really is a marvel of happy coincidences: far enough from the Sun to stay unscorched, close enough to not freeze all over, lots of liquid water (also due to the good distance), oxygen and carbon in the atmosphere, manageable gravitation, good axis tilt, temperate enough weather (even the subpolar regions or the tropics/equator are not too extreme for life), etc.

    With the billions of stars just in our Galaxy (and billions of other galaxies out there), there are, of course, billions of other planets. A good number are probably gas giants or ice specks, a good number orbit multiple star systems, many have inhospitable suns, many are too close or too far, too tilted or too straight, but there should be millions that are inhabitable. Out of these, it is probable that many have only microscopic or vegetal life. So we are pretty special, having a technological civilization. But, statistically, it is likely that there are others out there (who are probably pretty similar to us or to other Earth life-forms, i.e. carbon based).

    As far as meeting them, I'm a bit divided. If we somehow develop the technology to travel far enough and stumble upon an inhabited planet, I'd be worried, especially if they are at a primitive stage. Humans can be pretty exploitive, and a planetful of slaves would suit us just fine. Maybe by the time we have the technology, we'll have worked on our ethics as well. At the same time, if others find us, we may find ourselves in the place of the planetful of slaves, if they haven't matured enough as a species to work on their ethics as well.

    However, I also have a nagging feeling that meeting aliens might help us get over internal conflicts. I think humans, so isolated by the individuality of their minds, crave community, which leads them to view other communities with suspicion (we vs they). We have already fashioned an "Other" out of other races, whom we have thoroughly attempted to dehumanize. Yet, I'm thinking, aliens would represent a much greater "Other," which would strengthen the awareness of our unity as a species. Confronted with such Other, it will be difficult to see one of your own as different - it will suffice that s/he will share your humanity. Now hopefully we'll have learned the lessons of postcolonialism and will not try to repeat the tragedies with the new Others.

    But for everyone's sake, I hope they are humanoid ...
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    Senior Member chrisb84uk's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    That really is a fascinating link, thanks for that Arnold. I always knew the sun was big compared to the Earth, but I never knew how big the difference really was!

  9. #9
    ArnoldLayne
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    Re: And we thought we were big

    Quote Originally Posted by Felinessa
    As far as meeting them, I'm a bit divided. If we somehow develop the technology to travel far enough and stumble upon an inhabited planet, I'd be worried, especially if they are at a primitive stage. Humans can be pretty exploitive, and a planetful of slaves would suit us just fine. Maybe by the time we have the technology, we'll have worked on our ethics as well. At the same time, if others find us, we may find ourselves in the place of the planetful of slaves, if they haven't matured enough as a species to work on their ethics as well.

    However, I also have a nagging feeling that meeting aliens might help us get over internal conflicts. I think humans, so isolated by the individuality of their minds, crave community, which leads them to view other communities with suspicion (we vs they). We have already fashioned an "Other" out of other races, whom we have thoroughly attempted to dehumanize. Yet, I'm thinking, aliens would represent a much greater "Other," which would strengthen the awareness of our unity as a species. Confronted with such Other, it will be difficult to see one of your own as different - it will suffice that s/he will share your humanity. Now hopefully we'll have learned the lessons of postcolonialism and will not try to repeat the tragedies with the new Others.

    But for everyone's sake, I hope they are humanoid ...
    But dont we already have the Prime Directive ?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Felinessa's Avatar
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    Re: And we thought we were big

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