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More than half of Kepler’s planets are false positives?

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So reports Ethan Siegel at Forbes:

Yesterday, results were released from an international team led by Alexandre Santerne from Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço, where they measured 129 objects-of-interest identified by Kepler for a period of five years. They did spectroscopic analysis, which means they studied the individual wavelengths of light coming from the star, and expected a false positive rate of about 10-to-20%, which is what most scientists estimated.

But they found, instead, that over half (52%) of the planetary candidates were, in fact, eclipsing binaries, with another three candidates turning out to be brown dwarfs.

But perhaps the biggest surprise is that the majority of these thought-to-be planets aren’t planets at all, but are massive stars (or almost stars) in their own right. Perhaps, with only one main star in our Solar System, we’re the ones who are the oddities, after all. More.

See also: “Behold, countless Earths sail the galaxies … that is, if you would only believe …

Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!

and

Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

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4 Replies to “More than half of Kepler’s planets are false positives?

  1. 1
    bornagain says:

    Man and the earth beneath his feet are not nearly as insignificant as atheists have been saying for decades (i.e. Sagan, Dawkins, etc.. etc..).
    For instance, we can actually, ‘roughly’, see the centrality for the earth in the universe.
    Please note the ‘centrality’ of the Earth in the universe at the 3:36 minute mark of the following video.

    The Known Universe by AMNH – video – (please note the ‘centrality’ of the Earth in the universe at the 3:36 minute mark in the video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    Here is a still shot of the image at the 3:36 minute mark of the preceding video:

    Picture of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR)
    http://new-universe.org/zenpho.....rams47.jpg

    The mapping of the CMBR by the Planck Satellite is also very good for getting this centrality in the universe point across.

    Planck Cruise to L2 (mapping CMBR) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piYn0nbbJcs

    The reason why we observe centrality for ourselves in the universe is because of 4-Dimensional space time.
    In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery, Einstein’s General Relativity has shown that 4-dimensional (4D) space-time, along with all energy and matter, was created in the ‘Big Bang’ and, via the finely tuned 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant, continues to ‘expand equally in all places’:

    “There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.”
    Philip Gibbs

    Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as ‘center of the universe’ as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered ‘center of the universe’. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere (4-D space-time), analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point is central, no matter where you live in the universe. And as such, it may now be possible for the Earth to be, once again, considered ‘central in the universe’.

    “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations… For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds… What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”
    – George Ellis

    In The Beginning – Ross Andersen – 12 May 2015
    Excerpt: As I walked out of Steinhardt’s office for the last time, it occurred to me that our cosmos is once again a sphere. Our Earth has been demoted in recent centuries. It no longer enjoys its former status as the still centre of all that is. But it does sit in the middle of our observable cosmos, the sphere of light that we can detect with our telescopes. Gaze into this sphere’s reaches from any point on Earth’s surface, and you can see light coming toward you in layers, from stars and the planets that circle them, from the billions of galaxies beyond, and the final layer of light, the afterglow of the Big Bang.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/scienc.....ve-crisis/

    In fact, there is nothing within our best description of Gravity, i.e. General Relativity, that resolutely prevents a person, if he so desires, from, as far as gravity is concerned, choosing the Earth to be the ‘still centre of all that is’. (In fact, the ‘observer’ is given a privileged frame of reference, in which to make measurements from, in both General and Special Relativity).

    Introduction to special relativity
    Excerpt: Einstein’s approach was based on thought experiments, calculations, and the principle of relativity, which is the notion that all physical laws should appear the same (that is, take the same basic form) to all inertial observers.,,,
    Each observer has a distinct “frame of reference” in which velocities are measured,,,,
    wikipedia – Introduction_to_special_relativity

    “Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS.”
    Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);

    “We know that the difference between a heliocentric theory and a geocentric theory is one of relative motion only, and that such a difference has no physical significance.”
    Sir Fred Hoyle, Astronomy and Cosmology – A Modern Course, (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Co.), p. 416,1975.

    Moreover, ‘anomalous’ data in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), very unexpectedly, and with no naturalistic explanation, lines up with the solar system and the earth.

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf
    Here is the actual graph of the alignment from the Huterer 2007 paper (worth a thousand words):
    http://i44.servimg.com/u/f44/1.....is_o10.jpg

    The preceding article was written before the Planck data, (with WMPA & COBE data), but the multipoles were actually verified by Planck.
    At the 13:55 minute mark of the following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMBR data does indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0eVUSDy_rO0#t=832

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.
    http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/evil-axis-evil/

    Moreover besides the earth lining up with the anomalies in the Cosmic Background Radiation, Radio Astronomy now reveals a surprising rotational coincidence for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic\cite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies\cite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources\cite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.4134.pdf

  2. 2
    bornagain says:

    Moreover, the light coming from the CMBR is also, unexpectedly, found to be fine tuned for intelligent life like human life to discover it:

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    …the intensity of CMB depends on the photon to baryon ratio, (??b), which is the ratio of the average number of photons per unit volume of space to the average number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) per unit volume. At present this ratio is approximately a billion to one (10^9) , but it could be anywhere from one to infinity; it traces back to the degree of asymmetry in matter and anti – matter right after the beginning of the universe – for approximately every billion particles of antimatter, there was a billion and one particles of matter.,,,
    The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    It is easy to see that this prediction could have been disconfirmed. In fact, when I first made the calculations in the fall of 2011, I made a mistake and thought I had refuted this thesis since those calculations showed the intensity of the CMB maximizes at a value different than the photon – baryon ratio in our universe. So, not only does the DLO lead us to expect this ratio, but it provides an ultimate explanation for why it has this value,,, This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,
    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll.....osting.pdf

    As well, we live at the right time in cosmic history to see the CMBR

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History (to see the Cosmic Background Radiation) – Hugh Ross – video (7:12 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/MxOGeqVOsvc?t=431

    Moreover, two popular books have been written, ‘The Privileged Planet’ by Guillermo Gonzalez and ‘Rare Earth’ by Donald Brownlee, indicating the earth is extremely unique in its ability to host advanced life in this universe.
    Privileged Planet, which holds that any life supporting planet in the universe will also be ‘privileged’ for observation of the universe, has now been made into a excellent video.

    The Privileged Planet – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ohuG3Vj_48&list=PLbzQ4aXdqWD-9kjFsSm-cxNlzgrkJuko7

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards

    The following site is also very interesting;

    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph
    http://htwins.net/scale2/scale.....olor=white

    The preceding interactive graph and video points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality. As far as the exponential graph itself is concerned, 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle;

    Then there is also the ‘anthropic inequality’ which also undermines the atheistic contention that we humans are merely unforeseen accidents with no grander purpose for our lives that are endowed by God.

    Why The Universe Is The Way It Is – Hugh Ross – Part 1 – video (23:00 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-ts=1422327029&x-yt-cl=84838260&v=IGbq0fN_9Y0&feature=player_detailpage#t=1393

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

    Lucky Us: Turning the Copernican Principle on Its Head – Daniel Bakken – January 26, 2015
    Excerpt: What if intelligence and technology hadn’t arisen in Earth’s habitability time window? Waltham in Lucky Planet asks “So, how do we explain the remarkable coincidence that the timescale for the emergence of intelligence is almost the same as the timescale for habitability?” Researchers Carter and Watson have dubbed this idea the anthropic inequality and it seems surprising, if it is not for some purpose.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....93011.html

    As well, the ‘chemistry of the universe’ is also found, unexpectedly, to be of maximum benefit for life like human life.

    Privileged Species – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoI2ms5UHWg

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

  3. 3
    bornagain says:

    Moreover, there are many independent characteristics required to be fulfilled for any planet to host advanced carbon-based life, (or to host any life for that matter).

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    Excerpt:
    Requirements to sustain bacteria for 90 days or less:
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10-614
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10^-333
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^311 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Requirements to sustain unicellar life for three billion year:
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-859
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-578
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^556 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle

    Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347236

    As well, in further defense of the notion that man is made in ‘the image of God’, it is found that both life and the universe are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis:

    John Lennox at Rice University: Christianity Gave Us Science – Sept. 28, 2015
    53:00 minute mark – mass-energy is derivative from information (i.e. It from bit) and life is based on information.
    https://youtu.be/PSq4KLjMSlI?t=3182

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are  information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum mechanics:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Information Enigma (Where did the information come from?) – (Stephen Meyer, Doug Axe) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    And it is also found that we, of all creatures on earth, possess a unique ability to understand and create information:

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://www.annualreviews.org/d.....208.100202

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’ than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information.

    Moreover, ‘Life’, with a capital L, is also found to be central to the universe in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides a very credible, empirically backed, reconciliation to the most profound enigma in modern science. Namely the unification of General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (Quantum Electrodynamics) into a ‘Theory of Everything’:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus Christ) – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=9FCEMJNU

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

  4. 4
    bornagain says:

    as to this quote from the article:

    “After 20 years of exploring planets as big as Jupiter around other suns, we still have a lot of questions left open. For instance, we don’t understand what is the physical mechanism that forms Jupiter-like planets with orbital periods as little as a few days. It is like if our annual rotation around the Sun would last only a few days – imagine your age!”

    Here are a few related notes:

    How weird is our Solar System? Is it odd like your quirky uncle, or odd like a leprechaun riding a unicorn? – May 2015
    Excerpt: “It’s increasingly seeming that the solar system is something of an oddball,” says Gregory Laughlin, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the US.,,,
    Once you get over the fact that planets are as common as stars, you’re faced with their startling diversity. “We kind of always vaguely hoped and expected planets to be common,” Laughlin says. “And that’s absolutely right – they are common. But they are weirder than our own solar system would lead us to expect.”,,,
    “Having nothing interior to Mercury’s orbit and having Jupiter itself – a massive planet on a Jupiter-like orbit – combine to make us unusual,” Laughlin says.,,,
    “Every indication right now looks like we might be rare,” Walsh says.,,,
    “There’s zero evidence that Earth-like environments are common,” Laughlin says. “There’s zero evidence that life is common.”
    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story.....lar-system

    Thank God for Jupiter – July 2010
    Excerpt: The July 16, 1994 and July 19, 2009 collision events on Jupiter demonstrate just how crucial a role the planet plays in protecting life on Earth. Without Jupiter’s gravitational shield our planet would be pummeled by frequent life-exterminating events. Yet Jupiter by itself is not an adequate shield. The best protection is achieved via a specific arrangement of several gas giant planets. The most massive gas giant must be nearest to the life support planet and the second most massive gas giant the next nearest, followed by smaller, more distant gas giants. Together Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune provide Earth with this ideal shield.
    http://www.reasons.org/thank-god-jupiter

    Of Gaps, Fine-Tuning and Newton’s Solar System – Cornelius Hunter – July 2011
    Excerpt: The new results indicate that the solar system could become unstable if diminutive Mercury, the inner most planet, enters into a dance with Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest of all. The resulting upheaval could leave several planets in rubble, including our own. Using Newton’s model of gravity, the chances of such a catastrophe were estimated to be greater than 50/50 over the next 5 billion years. But interestingly, accounting for Albert Einstein’s minor adjustments (according to his theory of relativity), reduces the chances to just 1%.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....solar.html

    Is the Solar System Stable? By Scott Tremaine – 2011
    Excerpt: So what are the results? Most of the calculations agree that eight billion years from now, just before the Sun swallows the inner planets and incinerates the outer ones, all of the planets will still be in orbits very similar to their present ones. In this limited sense, the solar system is stable. However, a closer look at the orbit histories reveals that the story is more nuanced. After a few tens of millions of years, calculations using slightly different parameters (e.g., different planetary masses or initial positions within the small ranges allowed by current observations) or different numerical algorithms begin to diverge at an alarming rate. More precisely, the growth of small differences changes from linear to exponential:,,,
    As an example, shifting your pencil from one side of your desk to the other today could change the gravitational forces on Jupiter enough to shift its position from one side of the Sun to the other a billion years from now. The unpredictability of the solar system over very long times is of course ironic since this was the prototypical system that inspired Laplacian determinism.
    Fortunately, most of this unpredictability is in the orbital phases of the planets, not the shapes and sizes of their orbits, so the chaotic nature of the solar system does not normally lead to collisions between planets. However, the presence of chaos implies that we can only study the long-term fate of the solar system in a statistical sense, by launching in our computers an armada of solar systems with slightly different parameters at the present time—typically, each planet is shifted by a random amount of about a millimeter—and following their evolution. When this is done, it turns out that in about 1 percent of these systems, Mercury’s orbit becomes sufficiently eccentric so that it collides with Venus before the death of the Sun. Thus, the answer to the question of the stability of the solar system—more precisely, will all the planets survive until the death of the Sun—is neither “yes” nor “no” but “yes, with 99 percent probability.”
    https://www.ias.edu/about/publications/ias-letter/articles/2011-summer/solar-system-tremaine

    Milankovitch Cycle Design – Hugh Ross – August 2011
    Excerpt: In all three cases, Waltham proved that the actual Earth/Moon/solar system manifests unusually low Milankovitch levels and frequencies compared to similar alternative systems. ,,, Waltham concluded, “It therefore appears that there has been anthropic selection for slow Milankovitch cycles.” That is, it appears Earth was purposely designed with slow, low-level Milankovitch cycles so as to allow humans to exist and thrive.
    http://www.reasons.org/milankovitch-cycle-design

    Evidence from self-consistent solar system n-body simulations is presented to argue that the Earth- Moon system (EM) plays an important dynamical role in the inner solar system, stabilizing the orbits of Venus and Mercury by suppressing a strong secular resonance of period 8.1 Myr near Venus’s heliocentric distance. The EM thus appears to play a kind of “gravitational keystone” role in the terrestrial precinct, for without it, the orbits of Venus and Mercury become immediately destabilized. … First, we find that EM is performing an essential dynamical role by suppressing or “damping out” a secular resonance driven by the giant planets near the Venusian heliocentric distance. The source of the resonance is a libration of the Jovian longitude of perihelion with the Venusian perihelion longitude.
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1538.....4_2055.pdf

    Be Skeptical of the Hype in the Search for “Earth-like” Planets
    When it comes to exoplanets, “Earth-size” does not mean “Earth-like” – By Guillermo Gonzalez – January 29, 2015
    Excerpt: Research is making it increasingly obvious that habitability depends on far more than a few planetary “ingredients” — the few we usually hear about in the breathless news stories about “Earth-like” planets.
    To grasp the full picture, we have to take account of the myriad details of a planet’s origin, the way it changes over time and its present status.
    What’s more, all the factors interact in complex ways that we are only beginning to understand. A small change in one of these may affect the others, resulting in a dead world.
    https://stream.org/skeptical-hype-search-earth-like-planets/

    Our Very Normal Solar System Isn’t Normal Anymore by Robert Krulwich – May 07, 2013
    Excerpt: As of this month, we’ve discovered 884 planets, 692 planetary systems, 132 of them with more than one planet and, strange to tell, almost none of them look like us.,,,
    “Before we ever discovered any [planets outside the solar system] we thought we understood the formation of planetary systems pretty deeply.” We had our frost line. We knew how solar systems formed. “It was a really beautiful theory,” he says. “And, clearly, thoroughly wrong.”,,,
    “It really is something that I find deeply weird,” he (an astronomer) writes. “What does it all mean? I don’t know. I am certain that this single-minded emphasis on planets-in-habitable-zones is making people forget that there is still a lot of weird stuff happening out there and that we still don’t even understand the basics of how we ourselves got here.”
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulw.....al-anymore

    Planet-Making Theories Don’t Fit Extrasolar Planets;
    Excerpt: “The more new planets we find, the less we seem to know about how planetary systems are born, according to a leading planet hunter.” We cannot apply theories that fit our solar system to other systems:
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20110223b

    Medium size worlds upset “Earth is not unique” planet modelling – January 2012
    Excerpt: But what has puzzled observers and theorists so far is the high proportion of planets — roughly one-third to one-half — that are bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. These ‘super-Earths’ are emerging as a new category of planet — and they could be the most numerous of all (see ‘Super-Earths rising’). Their very existence upsets conventional models of planetary formation and, furthermore, most of them are in tight orbits around their host star, precisely where the modellers say they shouldn’t be.
    – per uncommondescent

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