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The debate on whether or not Osiris has water in its atmosphere continues

A new analysis again suggests that gas giant HD209458b currently has water in its atmosphere.  The planet -- nicknamed Osiris -- is 150 light years away from Earth, located in the Pegasus constellation.  The planet was first detected in late November 1999, with the help of astronomical spectroscopy.  

The hot, Jupiter-like gaseous planet has been the target of research once scientists believed water could be located somewhere on the planet.  Three teams of scientists previously believed there could be water in the planet's atmosphere, but those ideas were questioned after the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope was unable to provide evidence.

Travis Bartman, an astronomer working at Lowell Observatory, believes he has discovered the missing water after analyzing the light from a star when it passes through HD209458b's atmosphere.

Barman and researchers from Harvard University measured the light coming from Osiris as it reached the furthest part of the 3.5-day orbit it makes around the star.  With the help of the Hubble Space Telescope, it was possible to further study water absorption in the planet's atmosphere.  Each time the planet passes its parent star, it is possible to analyze how the atmosphere absorbs light passing from the star through the atmosphere.    

Scientists will continue to study and conduct research to either confirm or deny Barman's research.

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RE: Will that help?
By JustinChase on 4/12/2007 3:21:18 PM , Rating: 1
So wouldn't it be reasonable to conclude that there are thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of scientists actively researching methods to solve Earthly problems? I would believe so.

Oh, if only that were true.

I agree that studying space is important; but calling someone ignorant because they believe more should be being done to solve our immediate and quite serious water (or lack thereof) problems here on Earth is not only uninformed, but unhelpful, and dare I say; ignorant.

Knowing if other planets have water, or intelligent life, or hot Amazon women will not provide water for the hundreds of millions/billions of people that will soon be without any if we don't start making big changes soon.

"The true extent of the impacts are only beginning to be understood, or even researched. The majority of studies on which this report relies were conducted in North America, Europe or Australia, and there is a paucity of data from the developing world where impacts are likely to be most severe. An additional one degree Celsius of warming—all but certain due to greenhouse gases already emitted—would make water scarce for an additional 1.2 billion people in Asia, according to fellow report lead author Gary Yohe, an economist at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. And, it is also clear that rising CO2 levels contribute to increased acidity in the world's oceans, although those effects have not yet been documented, according to the report."

"Permafrost is melting, imperiling roads from Alaska to Patagonia. Mountain snowpacks thaw earlier in the year, imperiling water supplies in the southwestern U.S., China and India, among other places."

"Those droughts could diminish underground supplies like the Edwards Aquifer in Texas, which supplies 2 million people with water, by up to 40 percent, and cut levels of the Ogallala aquifer which underlies eight U.S. states, the report said."

I submit it is you being ignorant when you state that "hundreds of thousands of scientists [are] actively researching methods to solve Earthly problems"

That is simply not the case, and everyone seems to think that it is; which is really scary to say the least.

So I guess the moral might be more appropriately titled "do a little research before you start insulting those more informed than yourself"

RE: Will that help?
By masher2 on 4/12/2007 3:37:13 PM , Rating: 3
> " calling someone ignorant because they believe more should be being done to solve our immediate and quite serious water problems here on Earth..."

But that's not what he said. He said these particular scientists should be working on the problem. Sorry but-- it's not their field. Or do you think we should start a program of coercing researchers into government-mandated work assignments?

As for your SciAm links, you'll never find a shortage of people willing to cry the sky is falling. But the fact remains that billions of gallons of unused fresh water flow daily into the world's oceans....and even disregarding that, we have long had the capability to desalinate essentially unlimited water directly from the ocean.

Millions of small children die each year from easily-preventable diseases. How many people die from thirst each year? One or two lost in the desert somewhere? If you want to focus on problems, pick a real one.

RE: Will that help?
By giantpandaman2 on 4/12/2007 6:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Speaking solely on the water comment: Potable water is a huge problem.

It's not that people die of thirst, it's that they die of complications/diseases caused by a lack of clean water. Water from glaciers are often the cheapest, cleanest water available to very large tracts of people. It's for that reason why global warming will have a much greater impact on poorer areas and nations. Those that can afford such things as desalination plants won't have that much of a problem with it.

RE: Will that help?
By masher2 on 4/12/2007 9:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
> "it's that they die of complications/diseases caused by a lack of clean water."

Clean water, exactly. Not water itself. Which has been mankind's problem for thousands of years...and also explains why, a scant few hundred years ago, water contamination (primarily from human and animal feces) was the number one killer world-wide. It's a problem wherever people congregate, and wind up fouling their own water...and also explains the early popularity of beer and tea (boiled water is safe).

But its an economic problem at this time-- not something for which we need to pull thousands of scientists of their current research to search for a solution.

RE: Will that help?
By kitchme on 4/12/2007 8:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
By that logic, why should we have artists, musicians, philosophers, writers,...What practical use do we have from them in solving physical problems on Earth?

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