Chance of finding young Earth-like planets higher than previously thought: Study

By: |
Published: June 6, 2020 4:08 PM

The research, published in The Astrophysical Journal, found that there are more stars like the Sun than expected in these groups, which would increase the chances of finding Earth-like planets in their early stages of formation.

Earth, earth like planets, UK, Milky Way, The Astrophysical Journal, sun, Milky Way galaxy ,ocean planetsThe research included undergraduate students from the varsity, giving them an opportunity to apply the skills learnt during their course to leading published research in their field. (Representational image: Reuters)

Researchers in the UK have found that the chance of finding Earth-like planets in their early stages of formation is much higher than previously thought. The team of researchers from the University of Sheffield studied groups of young stars in the Milky Way to see if they were typical compared to theories and previous observations in other star-forming regions in space, and to study if the populations of stars in these groups affected the likelihood of finding forming Earth-like planets.

The research, published in The Astrophysical Journal, found that there are more stars like the Sun than expected in these groups, which would increase the chances of finding Earth-like planets in their early stages of formation.

In their early stages of formation, these Earth-like planets, called magma ocean planets, are still being made from collisions with rocks and smaller planets, which causes them to heat up so much that their surfaces become molten rock.

“These magma ocean planets are easier to detect near stars like the Sun, which are twice as heavy as the average mass star. These planets emit so much heat that we will be able to observe the glow from them using the next generation of infra-red telescopes, said lead researcher Dr Richard Parker.

The research included undergraduate students from the varsity, giving them an opportunity to apply the skills learnt during their course to leading published research in their field.

“The locations where we would find these planets are so-called ‘young moving groups’ which are groups of young stars that are less than 100 million years old – which is young for a star. However, they typically only contain a few tens of stars each and previously it was difficult to determine whether we had found all of the stars in each group because they blend into the background of the Milky Way galaxy.

“Observations from the Gaia telescope have helped us to find many more stars in these groups, which enabled us to carry out this study,” said Parker.

The findings from the research will help further understanding of whether star formation is universal and will be an important resource for studying how rocky, habitable planets like Earth form. The team now hopes to use computer simulations to explain the origin of these young moving groups of stars.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1COVID-19: Girlfriend of US President Donald Trump’s oldest son contracts virus
2Mumbai Rain Alert: Forecast of heavy showers, Red alert issued; BMC asks people to stay away from sea shore
3India records over 22,000 COVID-19 cases in last 24 hrs, total tally tops 6.48 lakh; recovery rate improves to 60.80%