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CraigS
17-02-2011, 11:34 AM
Ok .. so the Drake Equation is here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation#The_equation). The first term in it is 'R*', which is the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy.

So then I find in today's news, this article (http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-herschel-dark-stars.html) which, whilst having a Dark Matter 'spin' to it, is really about our current state of knowledge when it comes to star formation in a galaxy.


.. and this is only because they used a different telescope. Ie: other variables in the model also have uncertainties associated with them.

.. ok .. so the smaller mass 'sweet spot' sets a new lower limit on the star formation rate within a Universe having lots of galaxies of different masses ...


Also, the 'prodigious rate' in this lower mass set of galaxies, can result in more stars (of different masses, etc, etc) ..

Good to see progress on calculating the rate of star formation, for a given mass scale and that the rate has gone up by 3 to 5 times, when compared with the previously accepted figure.

However .. (from the report)



Also good to note is that this information doesn't tell us anything about the statistical significance of this finding on the potential numbers of stars having habitable planets orbiting them.

Cheers

renormalised
17-02-2011, 11:41 AM
This is for young galaxies....if you want to find the rate of star formation in the mature galaxies (and hence a much better determination of the values within the Drake equation), you need to study those areas of star formation within these galaxies. From doing so, astronomers have determined that the Milky Way produces 3-5 solar masses on new stars per year. It turns out to about one star of a solar mass per year...most of the others are smaller stars.

Interestingly, Andromeda produces 1 solar mass of stars per year.