Another study has found another solar system that may have a large number of planets living in alien life.
Research suggests that other parts of the universe could host numerous habitable planets, unlike our solar system, where only one of the worlds has the right conditions for life to thrive.
Scientists looking for life elsewhere in the universe regularly search for planets in the “habitable zone” far enough away from their star that the water would not evaporate immediately, but close enough that it would not freeze.
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Researchers believe that finding planets at this specific distance from their star, also known as the Goldilocks area, is the best hope for finding alien life elsewhere in the universe.
The new study was commissioned to look at a famous, relatively close planetary system known as Trappist-1
, which has at least three planets in its habitable zone.
“This made me wonder about the maximum number of habitable planets a star can have and why our star has only one,” said astrobiologist Stephen Kane of UC Riverside, who led the published study. a la Astronomical diary this week, he said. “It didn’t seem fair!”
To understand how many habitable planets a solar system can support, the researchers create a model that allows them to simulate planets of different sizes orbiting their stars. He realized how these planets would interact with each other as they orbited their star, extending over a theoretical time of millions of years.
They found that a star like our Sun could support up to six planets, each with liquid water and the conditions to be habitable. Another type of star could support seven complete.
If there is more than that, the planets would move too close, disrupting their orbits.
Research has also helped shed light on why our planet has a habitable and relatively high planet and the conditions that could change. Part of our problem seems to be that the planets in our solar system move in an oval shape; if their trajectory is more regular and circular, it is best to minimize contact so that they can have more stable orbits.
Jupiter could also deserve some of the blame for making our solar system so habitable as well. It is so large (two and a half times the mass of the rest of the planet in the combined solar system) that it opens up space and disturbs everything around it, the study suggests.
“It has a big effect on the habitability of our solar system because it’s massive and disrupts other orbits,” Kane said.
Research could help identify other solar systems worth exploring for potential life. This could inform research from Nasa telescopes, such as Jet Propulsion’s Habitable Exoplanet Observatory Laboratory, which looks at the universe to try to find what worlds might have the right conditions to be a home.