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Thread: How close would our nearest neighbors be?

  1. #1 How close would our nearest neighbors be? 
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    What with the Hubble Telescope and all, is it possible to say how close the nearest single G-star starsystem with any earthlike planets in the habbitable zone is?

    I mean, if there is intelligent biological life out there on some other planet, how far from us would it be, and how long would it take for them to get here?

    Are we talking light years, tens of light years, or hundreds of light years?

    P.S. If you could travel at the speed of light, and you travelled 12 light years, would you experience the passage of time as 12 years?


    Last edited by WhyGuy; July 22nd, 2014 at 12:19 AM.
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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhyGuy View Post
    What with the Hubble Telescope and all, is it possible to say how close the nearest single G-star starsystem with any earthlike planets in the habbitable zone is?

    I mean, if there is intelligent biological life out there on some other planet, how far from us would it be, and how long would it take for them to get here?

    Are we talking light years, tens of light years, or hundreds of light years?
    It looks like the nearest possible candidate is 12 light years away. Though the tables on this page are hard to read.

    List of nearest terrestrial exoplanet candidates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    P.S. If you could travel at the speed of light, and you travelled 12 light years, would you experience the passage of time as 12 years?
    If you accelerated to the speed of light, you would perceive the distance between any pair of objects in our current frame of reference to be zero in the direction of travel.

    Or the long explanation:

    So, suppose you start on Earth, and magically jump immediately to C, traveling in the direction of the nearest planet 12 light years away.



    Because Earth and that planet are in the same frame of reference as each other (or approximately the same frame of reference), and because you are now moving at C relative to the Earth and planet #2's frame in a direction of travel that coincides with the path between those two objects, the length/distance between Earth and planet #2 appears to be zero. Since the distance appears to be zero, you appear to cover that distance instantly from your own perspective.


    From the perspective of a person watching you through a telescope from Earth, the distance between Earth and planet #2 appears to be 12 light years, and you appear to spend 12 years traveling that far. Although if they can see inside your space ship's windows, it will appear to them that time has stood still inside your space ship.


    Last edited by kojax; July 22nd, 2014 at 06:43 AM.
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  4. #3  
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    What with the Hubble Telescope and all
    From what I know Hubble ST barely can help here. Kepler is used to hunt exoplanets.

    is it possible to say how close the nearest single G-star starsystem with any earthlike planets in the habbitable zone is?
    Here situation is very similar to one of Voyager leaving our solar system. Number of times exoplanets in habitable zone being discovered is approximately equal to the number of times Voyager has left our solar system.

    You should understand that exoplanets are currently discovered using indirect methods:
    1. Small star oscillations because of rotation over center of mass of the system
    2. Detection of star "eclipses" when an exoplanet passes between us and its sun. (Note, only a small amount of exoplanetary systems can be detected using this method!)

    I mean, if there is intelligent biological life out there on some other planet, how far from us would it be, and how long would it take for them to get here?
    Currently there are no means humanity can build an interstellar craft, whether automatic or manned. (But you can read about projects Daedalus, Longshot etc.)

    If you could travel at the speed of light, and you travelled 12 light years, would you experience the passage of time as 12 years?
    Any object with mass cannot travel at the speed of light. But you don't have to travel at the speed of light to experience effects of time dilation. (See Time dilation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    P.S. Recently I've found an interesting article about interstellar colonization seen as percolation problem.
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  5. #4  
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    If you do ever reach the near speed of light you had better watch out because asteroids, comets and other space debris will always be in your way somewhere out there. You can't avoid those things at that rate of speed so your space ship would be destroyed.
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