Walking on the Sun

Posted: May 22, 2008 in Evolution, News, Technology
Tags: ,

Sometimes I simply like to post science related news stories which are interesting.  This brief story is simply about how, universally speaking, unremarkable the Sun is.  It also has an interesting link to the Theory of Evolution in that the Sun is the major source of the energy for Earth and since the Sun has various properties, those properties influence how life develops.

Our Sun a bit ho-hum: researchers

New research has found the sun is not unique, as scientists once thought, and life may exist in other parts of the galaxy.

The study conducted by the Australian National University shows the Earth’s sun houses the same properties as any other star.

Researcher Jose Robles told ABC Radio’s The World Today the research proves there may be other stars similar to our Sun in other galaxies.

“In our research we find that the sun seems to be a random star, seems to be a normal star, seems to be selected at random out of all of the stars,” he said.

“So life doesn’t seem to need anything special about the sun.

“The sun just seems to be a normal star and therefore life might be a common feature in the galaxy.”

Mr Robles says researchers compared the Sun to other stars on the basis of 11 properties that could influence evolution.

“For example, we need about five billion years for a planet like the Earth to form and to have life, so very young stars would not be able to support life because of that. They wouldn’t have enough time,” he said.

“So we performed this comparison to a number of properties, exactly 11 properties, and once we had this comparison for each property, we performed a statistical analysis to see if, taking all of the properties together, the Sun is very special or very normal and that is what we found.”

He said it strengthens the case that life could be prevalent in the universe.

“Because we didn’t find that the Sun is a very, very special, unique star,” he said.

“If that was the case then we would be worried about life needing such a rare star to be around, but we didn’t find that, so therefore life might be able to evolve around a normal, ‘average Joe’ star.”

But Mr Robles says just because life may have evolved on other planets, that does not make it any easier to find.

“We don’t have the technological capability of finding them,” he said.

“Even if they are common, then we cannot see them because they are really little. They are not big enough or bright enough for our methods to be able to detect them yet.”

He says it could be up to 20 years before astronomers have telescopes strong enough to determine whether or not life exists on other Earth-like planets.


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