Podcaster: Pamela Quevillon
Title: Goldilocks and the Three Planets
Organization: Speak Easy Narration
Featured image credited to : Richard B. Drumm
Description: Space scoop, news for children. ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ is the tale of a picky little girl. A tale that sync with today’s phenomenon. Looking for another earth which is just right, in term of in the right place, not to hot or not too cold.
Bio: Pamela Quevillon is a voice actress who most often lends her voice to science and science fiction content. You can find her work on the “Escape Pod” and “365 Days of Astronomy”, as well as on her site
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Hello and welcome to 365 Days f astronomy. This episode is part of our on going Space Scoop series, created in collaboration with the Universe Awareness program, which seeks t inspire every child with our wonderful cosmos. Learn more at unawe.org
This episode is a story of
Goldilocks and the Three Planets
25 June 2013
‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ is the tale of a picky little girl. Goldilocks doesn’t like her porridge too sweet, like baby bear, or too salty, like daddy bear. She doesn’t like her beds too soft or too hard. She likes things in the middle, like mummy bear: just right.
For this reason, we call the area around a star where the temperature is ‘just right’ for water to exist, the ‘Goldilocks Zone’. These zones are not too cold, so that the water freezes, and not too hot, so that it boils away. These are just the right conditions for life to exist! If you look at the image used for this podcasts album art, or look on our website, you’ll see blue stripe marking where the Goldilocks Zone lies in our Solar System. For hotter stars, the habitable zone lies further from the star, and for cooler stars, it is closer.
Now, astronomers have discovered a record-breaking planet system in the neighbourhood of our Sun. A nearby star called ‘Gliese 667C’ has at least six planets orbiting around it. Of these, three are sitting snugly in the Goldilocks Zone! Never before have there been this many planets where liquid water can exist orbiting the same star. If we can find this many ‘Goldilocks’ planets around every star, then the number of possibly life-bearing planets in our galaxy is much larger than we thought. And so is the possibility of finding alien life!
Cool Fact : Three really is the magic number for Gliese 667C. Not only does it have three ‘Goldilocks’ planets orbiting it, but it is also part of a three-star system! If there is any life on one of its planets, the other two stars would appear in its sky similar to the full moon in ours – you can see them illustrated in this picture!
When we’re looking for habitable worlds far far away, we can only guess at their habitability based on their size and distance from the suns they orbit. In reality, many more worlds, heated through other mechanisms may also support life. In our own solar system, the moon Europa is constantly squished and released by the gravity of Jupiter. This repeated contraction and expansion heats its insides, allowing it to have a liquid ocean hiding beneath a glacial surface. Saturn’s Moon Titan, presents an alternative environment for life: one domitted by Methane. From Methane to methane rivers and seas, this different environment could support life that is supported by methane instead of by water.
As we learn more and more about how moons interact with the planets they orbit, and as we discover new and interest combinations orbiting alien stars, our understanding of how much life may exist in our solar system may expand even further.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by the New Media Working Group of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. Audio post-production by Preston Gibson. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. Web design by Clockwork Active Media Systems. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. In the new year the 365 Days of Astronomy project will be something different than before….Until then…goodbye.