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Frozen World Opens up the Door for Earth-like Planets

RATE THIS! +35
Posted in Science on 4th Jul, 2014 09:41 PM by AlexMuller

Astronomers have discovered a new frozen world in a binary star system located 3,000 light-years away. The discovery is expected to help astronomers better understand how Earth-like, or even potentially habitable, planets can form and how to find them. The new planet has twice the mass of Earth and orbits its host star at almost the same distance from which Earth orbits the Sun.

 

But, its host star is much dimmer than the Sun, so the planet is much colder than Earth. Although this planet itself is too cold- colder than Jupiter's icy moon Europa - to be habitable, the same planet orbiting a sun-like star in such a binary system would be in the so-called "habitable zone" - the region where conditions might be suitable for life.

 
"This greatly expands the potential locations to discover habitable planets in the future," Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at Ohio State, said in a statement. "Half the stars in the galaxy are in binary systems. We had no idea if Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits could even form in these systems."
 
To find this Earth-like planet, astronomers used a technique called "gravitational microlensing," in which the gravity of a star focuses the light from a more distant star and magnifies it like a lens. To find planets using this method, astronomers look for a small dip within that magnified light signal.
 
According to the study, published in the journal Science, the new planet briefly disrupted one of the images formed by its host star as the system crossed in front of a more distant star 20,000 light-years away.

Tags: planeticespacefrozenexoplanethabitablelife

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-05
+2
Space explorations aiming to find planets that could be habitable for humans or that could already support some form of life are giving very interesting insights. Methods are also getting better and I believe their will be a big list of new potential, habitable planets to explore further
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-05
+3
Recently a very interesting new method to spot alien life was reported. This assumes that life requires water and that heavy atmosphere, like one around the Earth, it’s what keeps water from flying off into space. This can be assessed by detecting dimers of oxygen molecules. If scientists find oxygen dimers on a planet, they may have not only found a world with water we can drink and air we can breathe, but also a living world. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-05
+1
This could be a helpful test for water and possibly also life on another planets - combined with other tests could make the search go faster Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-05
+2
Water is of great importance as a possible source of fuel. If we can make fuel in space that would mean a leap forward for all further explorations Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-07-05
+3
I think that the question "how common is life in the universe" remains open for debates. Some evidence is suggesting that the number of planets that could support life in this universe may be far smaller than what experts once thought. According to a new study, planets that orbit red-dwarf stars face extreme space weather, making it less likely that life could survive. Reply


 

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