Our Sun is a Weirdly Quiet Star. Lucky? Probably Not.



Today, Space.com published an article about an amazing scientific discovery - our star is not nearly as active as similar stars that scientists have observed. The article is entitled, Our sun is a weirdly 'quiet' star — and that's lucky for all of us, and represents the results of a study of the brightness of stars as viewed by the Kepler Space Telescope and the Gaia Star-Mapping Mission. The article notes:
"We were very surprised that most of the sun-like stars are so much more active than the sun," Alexander Shapiro, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany and a co-author on the new research, said in a statement.

* * *

The astronomers narrowed down a collection of tens of thousands of stars by focusing on those with about the same surface temperature, surface gravity, age and metallicity as our sun. Then, they split these stars into two batches: one containing 369 stars that rotate every 20 to 30 days and one with 2,529 stars that scientists haven't been able to calculate a rotation period for. (The sun rotates every 24.5 days, but that spin likely wouldn't be detectable to alien astrophysicists using the same techniques humans have, so both of these groups of stars are important.)

The researchers then analyzed both these groups of stars to understand their activity levels and how they compare with the sun. Stars with known rotation rates were on average much more active than our sun has been over the past 9,000 years — about five times more active. The stars without tracked rotations were less active, much more in line with the sun.

That split poses a puzzle for scientists: Either there's something fundamentally different between clockable stars and unclockable ones, or something has been making the sun much quieter than stars like it for at least the past 9,000 years.
So, what might be the consequence if the sun were more active like the other similar stars? Well, there may be some minor inconveniences, but it could also result in deadly consequences.
But it's definitely not a bad thing that our sun is relatively calm: Its outbursts can endanger our technology in orbit and on Earth's surface, and if it were very, very active, the sun's temper could threaten life itself.
I expect readers to this page do not have to be told about the Anthropic Principle, but in the event I am wrong, I would like to refer to a similar point I made in an article published in April 2015 entitled Did Jupiter Have a Greater Hand in the Shape of our Solar System than God?:
Yes, science notes and confirms that the solar system appears much different than the other planetary systems we have observed. In fact, it is “unusual” or “oddball.” I prefer “unique” although I am not certain that the authors would necessarily go that far. This unusual, oddball and unique nature of the solar system is quite in line with the theorists who believe that the earth has been especially suited to the creation of life – especially human life. In other words, whether Drs. Batygin and Laughlin recognized it or not, their study/simulation was motivated by the Anthropic Principle. For those unfamiliar with the Anthropic Principle, the principle is defined on the Reasons to Believe website in an article entitled “Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity” as follows:
The anthropic principle says that the universe appears "designed" for the sake of human life. More than a century of astronomy and physics research yields this unexpected observation: the emergence of humans and human civilization requires physical constants, laws, and properties that fall within certain narrow ranges—and this truth applies not only to the cosmos as a whole but also to the galaxy, planetary system, and planet humans occupy. To state the principle more dramatically, a preponderance of physical evidence points to humanity as the central theme of the cosmos.
As the abstract point out, in looking around our cosmic neighborhood the evidence points to the fact that our solar system is, once again, different, oddball, unusual…unique. This can be understood by Jupiter running loose kicking planets out of their orbits (certainly a possibility), but also by a God who created the universe and the solar system to host human life (a more likely scenario, in my opinion).
In this case, the scientists here haven't developed a pretty wild theory about Jupiter playing Pacman chasing around the solar system, but this article represents a much more straightforward recognition that we are "lucky" that the sun just happens to not be so active as to kill us all.

Yeah, I suppose you can attribute it to luck, but it sure seems like the Earth has been consistently and extremely lucky to be in exactly the right place with the right type of sun to be able to support life. Maybe, just maybe, it isn't so much luck as it is planning.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Nothin normal about theworship of an ancient jewish zombie
great to wee you posting again Bill. Thank you I think your argument needs more fleshing out. The answer to it is that it is in such spaces that life could form. So your it's no sign of planning.

Skeptics might draw analogy by saying "this argumet is like saying 'look at how all of these rivers just happen to conform to the state boundaries, that;s proof God designed these rivers to be state lines.'"

The answer to that is the argument for misanthropic principle is not derived from just one solar system but the odds of conditions for life given the universe as we see the whole.
Nothin normal about theworship of an ancient jewish zombie

sure,next time I see some Baal worshipers I'll pass it on.
Jesse said…
https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-anthropic-principle-and-intelligent.html

https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/08/the-grand-design-is-god-unnecessary.html
the other guys say if you have enough space and time you will find a planet suitable for life,so that is not proof the universe is designed,
BK said…
Ancient Jewish zombie? I wonder what "intellectual" atheist site that came from....
BK said…
Joe, you said, "The answer to that is the argument for misanthropic principle is not derived from just one solar system but the odds of conditions for life given the universe as we see the whole."

The article says, "More than a century of astronomy and physics research yields this unexpected observation: the emergence of humans and human civilization requires physical constants, laws, and properties that fall within certain narrow ranges—and this truth applies not only to the cosmos as a whole but also to the galaxy, planetary system, and planet humans occupy." Thus, I think I covered that.

The alternate analogy that you draw is fascinating. Consider, "Look at how these rivers just happen to conform to the state boundaries, that's proof God designed these rivers to be state lines." First, "proof" is not the word I would use. "Evidence" is the more correct concept here. But second, it may not be proof that the rivers were designed to match the state lines, but it appears pretty convincing that the state lines were planned.

Finally, on the "given enough time and space" argument, of course that's true if you have an infinite amount of space and an infinite amount of time. But while the universe is very large, it is not infinite. And while the universal time span has been estimated to be very large (14 billion years), that too is not infinite. The conclusion that we MUST find another planet suitable for life, while not completely unreasonable, is far from a given. And besides, it isn't finding a planet suitable for life, but finding a planet with actual intelligent life that would be key here.
The alternate analogy that you draw is fascinating. Consider, "Look at how these rivers just happen to conform to the state boundaries, that's proof God designed these rivers to be state lines." First, "proof" is not the word I would use. "Evidence" is the more correct concept here. But second, it may not be proof that the rivers were designed to match the state lines, but it appears pretty convincing that the state lines were planned.

Don't yo recognize the argument? it's an old one from CARM way back,. Remember "Dan?" the atheist?

Finally, on the "given enough time and space" argument, of course that's true if you have an infinite amount of space and an infinite amount of time. But while the universe is very large, it is not infinite. And while the universal time span has been estimated to be very large (14 billion years), that too is not infinite. The conclusion that we MUST find another planet suitable for life, while not completely unreasonable, is far from a given. And besides, it isn't finding a planet suitable for life, but finding a planet with actual intelligent life that would be key here.

that's the basis for a good answer
BK said…
I remember Dan the Atheist, but I don't remember that argument.
there was one guy in particular he hung out with Dan,I can;t tell you who he was because I ember hon as he guy who made that argument so...

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