About the episode
Astronomers at the University of Florida believe – based on the latest data from two space telescopes – that a third of the most common planets in our Milky Way galaxy may contain life.
Our own sun is quite unique in the Milky Way galaxy. The most common stars are much smaller – no more than half the mass of our sun – and cooler. Billions of planets orbit in our universe around these smaller, cooler stars – called red dwarf stars.
Well, to host life, the planets must not be too far from these stars. Then not enough heat is collected. But if they are too close, they can again suffer from extreme tidal forces. The shape of the track plays a role in this. If it is not round but rather oval, then the planet is deformed so much during this irregular orbit with variable gravity that it becomes very hot.
Researchers say a new analysis of data from Kepler and Gaia space telescopes now shows that two-thirds of the planets in our Milky Way that orbit these dwarf stars are so close they’re toast and life must not be. possible. But a third of the planets would have to be in the right orbit and at the right distance from the star to support liquid water, and possibly life. How many planets is that then? Maybe hundreds of millions.
Read more about research here: A Third of the Galaxy’s Most Common Planets Could Be in a Habitable Zone.
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