The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: New Project for Hubble?  (Read 1873 times)

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
New Project for Hubble?
« on: 07/12/2011 09:53:38 »
There have been questions about what to do with the Hubble, if, and when, the JWST is launched.

NASA is wanting to stop doing fueling, maintenance and upgrades on it, and eventually crash it back to Earth.

What about upgrading the Hubble for the primary mission of looking for planets around Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B, and Proxima Centauri?  Everything indicates that there should be planets around the stars, they are just hard to find which might indicate that they are not the "Super Jupiters" that are being found elsewhere.

http://www.universetoday.com/13728/why-havent-planets-been-detected-around-alpha-centauri/
http://www.universetoday.com/13123/if-alpha-centauri-has-earth-like-planets-we-can-detect-them/

University of California researchers (links above) are suggesting that a dedicated telescope should be able to find Earth-sized planets around the stars with about 5 years of intense observations.

It might be a lot to dedicate something like the Hubble to such a small mission scope, but wouldn't it be better than crashing it into the ocean?


 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
New Project for Hubble?
« Reply #1 on: 07/12/2011 22:46:50 »
Looking for habitable planets about the Alpha centauri system is probably pointless because it is a relatively close binary with quite an elliptical orbit so only orbits very close to the main stars or very far away would be stable and even closely orbiting planets would have very unstable and distorted orbits leading to very variable climatic conditions.  The red dwarf proxima may be ok but red dwarfs usually suffer from flares where they could briefly brighten by a factor of 2 or more this would fry any planet in the habitable zone there are several other local stars that are probably more suitable
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
New Project for Hubble?
« Reply #2 on: 07/12/2011 23:15:16 »
I would certainly get more excited to hear about a planet that was less than 10 lightyears from Earth, and closer to the size of Earth, rather than twice the diameter, and likely 8 times the mass of Earth, and over 500 lightyears away.

Even a large moon in the habitable zone would be interesting.

Even communication with a planet 500 lightyears away would be difficult as one would have to wait 1000 years (25 to 50 generations) for a reply to any message one would send.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

New Project for Hubble?
« Reply #2 on: 07/12/2011 23:15:16 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums