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Oxygen and Carbon Discovered in Exoplanet Atmosphere 'Blow Off'

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Old February 3rd 04, 01:14 AM
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Default Oxygen and Carbon Discovered in Exoplanet Atmosphere 'Blow Off'

From Lori Stiles, UA News Services, 520-621-1877,
February 2, 2004

Contact Information
Gilda Ballester

Alfred Vidal-Madjar

Lars Lindberg Christensen
Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre
+49-173-3872-621 (cellular)

Related Web sites listed at end of story

An international team of astronomers has for the first time detected oxygen
and carbon in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system.

Hydrogen gas flowing out from the planet at near-sonic speed is dragging
heavier oxygen and carbon up from the lower atmosphere like dust in a

Oxygen and carbon atoms surround the planet in an extended envelope. This
tells scientists they for the first time are seeing a planet "blow off" its
atmosphere. Some argue that early Venus and Earth may have lost their
original atmospheres by the same kind of stunning hydrodynamic outflow.

The planet is a hot Jupiter-like planet 150 light years away, orbiting star
HD 209458 in the Pegasus constellation. It is unique among extrasolar
planets because its orbit crosses in front of a star close and bright enough
to be observed. The planet revolves completely around its star every 3 and
1/2 days, partly eclipsing its star during each 3-hour transit, or pass
across the face of the star.

Astronomers led by Alfred Vidal-Madjar of the Institut dıAstrophysique de
Paris, CNRS, France, used the Hubble Space Telescope for observations of the
planet, called HD 209458b, in October and November 2003. They used Hubbleıs
sensitive ultraviolet spectrograph to probe the structure and chemical
make-up of the planetıs atmosphere during the transits. Such observations
can only be made from space because Earthıs ozone layer filters out UV

"In some ways our discovery of oxygen and carbon is not so surprising," said
Gilda Ballester of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory,
a member of the team. "These are common species which have been identified
in the lower atmospheres of our jovian planets, bound up in molecules such
as methane and water.

"What's key here is that we have detected oxygen and carbon in atomic form
and in the outermost layers of the planet where we would not normally expect
them," Ballester said. "These species are 10 times heavier than hydrogen
atoms, so a force stronger than gravity is driving them up along with the
hydrogen gas into the very extended envelope around the planet."

Vidal-Madjar, along with Ballester and other team members, discovered in
earlier Hubble Space Telescope observations that the planet has a huge
hydrogen atmosphere. They reported it in Nature in March 2003.

The planetıs visible disk eclipses 1.5 percent of its star during a transit,
Ballester said. But its expansive upper atmosphere covers between 8 and 15
percent of the star. When the astronomers saw UV absorption signatures of
oxygen and ionized carbon in the planetıs inflated upper atmosphere, they
knew it was produced in an atmospheric blow off.

Planet HD 209458b is only 4 million miles away from its star, so its lower
atmosphere is already extremely hot, around 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000
degrees Celsius). Ultraviolet light adds a lot of energy to the planetıs
upper atmosphere, heating it up to around 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit (10,000
degrees Celsius). Ultraviolet light also splits gas molecules into atoms and
ions. Absorbed UV light is also what produces the kinetic energy that fuels
the planetıs explosive gas outflow.

Team member Jack McConnell of York University, Canada, predicted this
phenomenon. He theorized that at such high temperatures, hydrogen atoms in
the upper atmosphere would reach speeds great enough to escape the planetıs
gravity, which is comparable to Earthıs gravity. And as the hydrogen atoms
flowed out from the planet at near sonic speed, they would drag heavier
oxygen and carbon atoms in the atmosphere up with them, called blow off.

The team also observed, as French team member Alain Lecavelier des Etangs
predicted, that the planet is so close to its star that the combined gravity
fields of the star and the planet shape its upper atmosphere into the form
of a rugby ball, allowing even more gas to escape.

Vidal-Madjar is among those who speculate that early Venus, Earth, and
perhaps Mars lost their original atmospheres this way.

"Itıs exciting that we found what we proposed we would find in observing the
planet in the UV with the Hubble Space Telescope," Ballester said.

The astronomers are reporting the new discovery in a forthcoming issue of
Astrophysical Journal Letters, in the article, "Detection of oxygen and
carbon in the upper atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b."

The Hubble Space Telescope is jointly operated by the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration and the European Space Agency.

* * *Related web sites * * *
Astrophysical Journal Letters article

European Space Agency news release

Science team page on HD 209458b
HEIC video clips

Gilda E. Ballester
Old February 4th 04, 11:49 PM
Jonathan Silverlight
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Posts: n/a

In message , Ron
From Lori Stiles, UA News Services, 520-621-1877,
February 2, 2004

"Itıs exciting that we found what we proposed we would find in observing the
planet in the UV with the Hubble Space Telescope," Ballester said.

The astronomers are reporting the new discovery in a forthcoming issue of
Astrophysical Journal Letters, in the article, "Detection of oxygen and
carbon in the upper atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b."

The Hubble Space Telescope is jointly operated by the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration and the European Space Agency.

An article in New Scientist
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994634 says that
Hubble is "the only telescope able to observe the necessary UV
wavelengths", and even then it was very difficult.
Save the Hubble Space Telescope!
Remove spam and invalid from address to reply.
Old February 5th 04, 12:31 AM
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I have just a wee question for Hubble huggers:

If to be looking from the outside in, from a great distance such as
even Sirius; How likely is it that a carbon and H2O based planet
within our solar system could be identified, and if so, which one of
our planets would become the most likely candidate (remembering that
Earth's atmosphere is not only damn thin but rather of low density,
plus surrounded by a relatively horrific zone of radiation)?

What I mean is; of what's roughly associated out to 75,000 km away
from Earth, what is there for an instrument like Hubble to detect,
especially if it were viewing into our solar system from 8.64 or more
light years distant. As Earth passes in front of the sun, what if
anything would Hubble detect?

Here's what other I think; As super terrific as some exoplanet is, or
even that of Mars, folks have got to stop focusing upon the likes of
such, and of darn near anything other associated with our NASA, as at
least of lately Hubble isn't doing humanity much good either by
detecting something Earth like that's 150 ly distant. I mean, my God,
the likes of Mars has been frozen solid and of otherwise irradiated to
death for thousands of years, not to mention pulverised in the past
and of what's ongoing by those pesky meteorites. At least as of so
far, all that's been recently learned is exactly what we already knew.

And so what if we located some remains of even an advanced
civilization that once upon a time survived on Mars. It's way too
freaking spendy just getting there, and we've NOT a workable solution
for retrieving one kilogram, much less a tonne worth of anything from
another planet. Remember folks, there's still not independent proof
that we've managed to retrieve one gram directly from our own moon, at
the very least we have NOT even a working prototype instrument lunar
lander, much less a pilotted craft. In other words, you folks need to
get a grip and/or another life, either that or an alternative Borg
collective that has not been infected by the sorts of NSA/DoD Trojan
Horse virus affecting all of what our NASA is involved with.

Even of the highly published notion of pondering over some Earth like
monster planet that's 150 light years distant seems hardly worth going
for, much less flushing billions into some one-way probe that the next
ten thousand generations will not obtain squat worth of anything.
Worse yet would be having to expedite another spendy though apparently
expendable shuttle crew upon upgrading Hubble is simply morbid, and so
far out of whack that even Charles Manson would be proud, backed up by
the likes of Hitler and those Cathar exterminating Popes, with our
very own warlord GW Bush bringing up the rear with his educational
"high standards and accountability" and of that ultimate "so what's
the difference" policy.

If you simply must insist upon spending billions and of wasting
technology and expertise on something that can't directly benefit
humanity, while creating as much artificial CO2 as possible, at least
try looking at Sirius and of research into the 110,000 year cycle of
life giving UV illumination that's establishing upon something that's
way more likely as to reveil where our creators and/or DNA came from
in the first place, as that's but 8.64 ly. With only the existing
laser technology that we've had for a couple of decades, those reply
packets and/or streaming images (via laser and/or microwave) could
have been coming in as we speak. Meaning that we might not have the
proper laser spectrum detection knowhow to be receiving by way of
photons but, surely anyone looking at our relatively dim solar system
should have been more than capable of detecting laser packets emitting
from such a dumbfounded planet as Earth.

Otherwise, try focusing yourself upon getting the lunar space elevator
(LSE-CM/ISS) up and running. Once this nifty elevator is established,
only then will the mining of lunar 3He become viable, among so many
other considerations, all of which can directly improve things for
humanity, and within an affordable as well as obtainable goal that's
way past due.

If you elect to think our moon is somehow "off limits" and/or "taboo",
then try out a little local area code calling to/from Venus, as that's
not only taking far less than a penny on any probe dollar, but focused
upon where other life NOT as we know it has to be existing in spite of
our ignorance, arrogance and greed, as there's something on Venus as
of at least 14 years ago that's not microbe, but more than likely
lizard folk like, and perchance even Cathar by nature. Remembering
that unlike Mars, on Venus it's not being irradiated to death nor
currently being pulverised by meteorites, and there's absolutely no
shortage of energy, and that with said energy all sorts of
insurmountable issues become surmountable. Remember also that the
thick and dense atmosphere of Venus is a super terrific positive
attribute, just the opposit of what our NASA and NASA moderated
publications have to say.

Of course, if your Borg implants have been flashing that "blue screen
of death" message, then perhaps you shouldn't bother yourself with the
truth, as that could prove CPU fatal.

Latest Sirius entry (Feb. 03, 2004):

BTW; There's still way more than a darn good chance of there being
other life of some sort existing on Venus:

Some good but difficult warlord readings: SADDAM HUSSEIN and The SAND

David Sereda (honest ideas and notions upon UV energy), for best
impact on this one, you'll really need to barrow his video tape:

The latest round of insults to this Mars/Moon/Venus class action

Some other recent file updates:
Old February 16th 04, 09:27 PM
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I still believe we deserve a basic "look-see" for ourselves, even if
the original Hubble image needs to go though extensive photoshop.
Though if team Hubble can't even manage that, then perhaps they can
focus upon Venus or at least Sirius/abc. Of course I'm referring to
the nighttime side of Venus which shouldn't be all that bright, even
though it'll be getting itself a little too close for comfort, perhaps
too close for the optics of Hubble to even focus upon something that
so freaking large (just kidding).

Even though I seem to keep running smack into other fellow village
idiots that seem only to oppose other life itself, such as a fairly
recent village idiot moron that actually doesn't wish to consider the
available energies of Venus worth squat, much less the greater yet
energies available to whomever might have originated about the likes
of Sirius/abc. It's most interesting in how their skewed laws of
physics can be so pathetically conditional upon qualifying whatever
life on Mars as being just fine and dandy, if not otherwise remaining
outright bigoted against all other alternatives. I'll suppose they
even think it was a darn good thing that the Pope exterminated

Here's yet another instalment of what many consider absolutely

Terraforming other planets via synchronized moon

Here's another bigger "what if" that's pertaining to the likes of
Sirius taking a fairly long shot at terraforming a few planets.

Lets just presume that the absolute closest Sirius ever gets itself is
the 0.01 ly, and that of the loop or orbit route offered them a
plausible near fly-by working timeline that's within this range/zone
of up to +/- 1 ly, down to the otherwise absolute minimal (0.01 ly)
distance, which then suggest an overall maximum range of Sirius travel
time being worth roughly 2 ly.

If sirius was trekking itself along their pathway at the rate of 80.5
km/s, I believe that offers 7450 Earth years worth of being within
this +/- 1 ly zone, though we might have to reconsider that their best
effort at to/from commuting was utilizing a 30,000 km/s (0.1 ly)
capability, thus a more reasonable window of opportunity falls down to
the capability of +/- 0.1 ly, or a Earthly timeline of 745 years worth
of encounter, which obviously doesn't give all that much room for
terraforming error, but none the less, for a sufficiently advanced
race, perhaps 745 years worth could have done the trick, unless
something goes terribly wrong.

Gee whiz; what could possibly go wrong, much less with doing three
entirely different planets at the same time?

One of those nagging if not pestering thoughts has always been; what
if we were those smart souls from Sirius, going about attempting our
hand at this sort of task, assuming that we mastered at least the rate
of traveling about at 30,000 km/s, thus being our maximum 0.1 ly
commute from Sirius (one-way) was at most going to take us roughly a
full year (give or take the 80.5 km/sec factor), and obviously lesser
time as our mutual junctions close in on the 0.01 ly differential.

In order to offer some reassurance of providing our teams with a
survivable outpost (pitstop) that wasn't directly associated with
either of the three planets that we had intended to terraform, it
seems like it would have been a damn good notion as to placing an
unusually stable moon about the central planet, though a moon having a
thermal nuclear core of energy reserves as to best accommodate our
terraforming teams. In this manner the three worlds of a given solar
system (such as this solar system) could have been safely tampered
with, and otherwise manipulated with the least possible contact and/or
contamination by our own kind, as well as for our teams having sort of
camped out on a reliable home away from home, that wasn't going to be
nearly as difficult for ourselves and items being delivered to in the
first place, and/or for subsequently extracting everything for the
eventual return flights back home. In other words, making a crew
change at least every 25 or so years becomes entirely doable, mostly
for our physiology benefits and of certain other needs that might be
in order, such as retirement, though some of the most dedicated folks
might pull a double shift, and/or later return for another 25 year

Keeping in mind, that most of the bulk substances sent from Sirius/abc
are not those having to be deposited onto the moon, but rather
established into orbit about the intended planet, whereas the
terraforming teams stationed onboard the moon would then go about
overseeing those package deliveries, as for perhaps directing their
final decent onto the surface, whereas whatever was released and/or
having to be transported about the globe for accomplish their intended
goal, this would then have been at the discretion of the team(s)
charged with such responsibilities.

As well accepted by our NASA and their loyal huggers, everyone seems
to be aware of and in reasonable consensus upon the initial
difficulties of just getting ourselves to another planet, even though
this task is entirely dwarfed by any further notions of having
whatever it takes as to getting ourselves back off that other planet,
at least with any dignity. In other words, not having to utilize a
body bag, like what's most likely going to happen upon Dr. Zubrin's
return from Mars.

Thus it seems by having yourself the benefits of delivering and/or
creating a sufficiently nearby and relatively low gravity outpost,
that's entirely stable, as well as the one and only having a
synchronized rotation, and actually performing as a rather unique
moon, that's providing an essential home sweet home remote platform
for all of your terraforming teams, is a rather grand solution if
there ever was. As then, only when and if it's absolutely necessary
for making a personal visitations onto the surface of Mars, Earth or
Venus, not only is your to/from commute travel time a snap but, you'll
never have to spend the night away from your underground lunar
laboratory and adjoining lunar abode. Therefore, if the environmental
conditions on your planet aren't right, and/or something you had
previously created for the planet was attempting to eat you, lo and
behold, you would just pack everything up and leave on your fleet
scout ship (offering perhaps 3,000 km/s), and that would be that.

Without any doubt, this is about as far outside the box as I've
managed to get myself, thus as such plots thicken as to how certain
terraforming sorts of things could have been done, it seems just a
plausible for this one to fly as not. Obviously I've left out numerous
details, and I haven't covered many issues that would seriously have
nailed our hides to the barn, at least with any respect to what's
currently accepted or even on the books for the future potential of
ways of doing such things, of which obviously isn't nearly sufficient
nowadays, nor will it likely become doable within the next few
decades. Thereby this avenue of terraforming remains for the likes of
folks a whole lot smarter than us.

Of course, not every well intended effort at terraforming is going to
work as planned, as variables and unknowns are going to impose some
degree of risk if not outright horrifying results. Although, if future
missions of longer range capable probes are continued, chances are
certainly better off than not for your terraforming workmanship to
survive, even though there may come a time when it's apparent that
only an entire "RESET" is going to save the day, and after all, the
creatures now living on those planets you terraformed were just petri
dish clones of something you felt was necessary, so there's obviously
little if anything to being lost if it should become necessary to wipe
the slate clean, and attempt to start over, as it certainly would be
cruel and immoral to intentionally shift the odds by give one of your
creation groups the technological and/or biological advantage over
another. I'm assuming that the "all knowing" God by which Sirius obeys
will NOT have been pleased if such terraforming runs itself too far
amuck, as I'm assuming that would be considered sacrilegious.

Perhaps we should try to realize that I'm not suggesting anything
"Star Wars", as more likely "Star Oops" if you'd honestly consider the
sorts of DNA/RNA running amuck that created the likes of GW Bush and
of a few dozen others. In fact, why even give these Sirius folks any
benefit of doubt, as they could be the mirror image of "dumb and
dumber", which might account for why Earth has been so screwed up in
the first place.

However, this could soon become the very foundation or eventual road
map of what our NASA and Halburton have been planning all along, with
the notions of either terraforming another world for our eventual
benefit, and/or simply pillaging and/or harvesting that planet's
resources for our immediate benefit, and perhaps regardless of
whatever the consequences. Obviously by the standards of what our
administrations have already accomplished and/or allowed far worse
things with entire disregard for those consequences, and "so what's
the difference", what's even better than our indiscriminate open-pit
mining of some other world?

Here's the latest deliveries upon what's new and of what's hot, as
offering a bit more context into what my three brain cells can deliver
on behalf of Sirius terraforming the likes of Mars, Earth and Venus.
*** http://guthvenus.tripod.com/gv-earth-venus.htm

Calling Venus;
If you're perchance more interested in the truly hot prospect of our
achieving interplanetary communications, as for that relatively simple
quest I've added lots, if not a little too much, into this following

Regards. Brad Guth / IEIS~GASA

Jonathan Silverlight wrote in message ...
In message , Ron
From Lori Stiles, UA News Services, 520-621-1877,
February 2, 2004

"Itıs exciting that we found what we proposed we would find in observing the
planet in the UV with the Hubble Space Telescope," Ballester said.

The astronomers are reporting the new discovery in a forthcoming issue of
Astrophysical Journal Letters, in the article, "Detection of oxygen and
carbon in the upper atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 209458b."

The Hubble Space Telescope is jointly operated by the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration and the European Space Agency.

An article in New Scientist
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994634 says that
Hubble is "the only telescope able to observe the necessary UV
wavelengths", and even then it was very difficult.


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