Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Science says binary planets are more likely to harbor life than we think


A research team from the British University of Exeter announced that binary planetary systems are easy to create from a physical point of view and could be one of the most important targets for the search for life on other planets due to their unique nature.

To reach these results, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers ran multiple simulations of 100 planetary systems expected to exist in our galaxy or in other galaxies. Systems with 2 to 5 primary planets.

A binary planet is a term used to describe two bodies orbiting each other, both of which have planetary masses. Both planets usually orbit a common center of mass located between the two bodies. The Solar System has a close model like Pluto and Charon, but they are considered binary dwarf planets, not binary planets.

This type of planetary system is generally believed to arise from cataclysmic collisions in ancient times, where two planets collided and broke apart, and then the fragments rejoined to form two planets, which is also a mechanism. Formation of the Earth-Moon system and the Pluto and Charon systems.

The following video from the study’s authors explains how binary planets form:

Warm worlds

According to the study, the researchers found that binary planets are more likely to form than previously thought.Also, the two planets are gravitationally bound together, causing temperatures inside each. They rise, resulting in a rise in the temperature of their surfaces, meaning that a planet may exist in a region far away from the star it orbits, but still have a moderate atmosphere due to the gravitational interaction of the planet it orbits. with.

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One of the most famous examples of this situation is Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, where Jupiter’s gravity influences it to heat up. So, despite being located five times the distance from the Sun to the Earth, scientists believe there is a warm water ocean beneath its icy surface.

An example where scientists are currently interested in this range is Kepler 1708b, a Jupiter-sized planet discovered in 2011 orbiting a Sun-like star located 5,600 light-years from Earth.

In 2021, a study was published in the journal Nature, after analyzing data provided by NASA’s Kepler space observatory, that Kepler 1708b is a binary planet with another planet orbiting Neptune.

Last July, a team led by scientists from the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid, Spain, confirmed that PDS 70, an emerging star system 400 light-years from Earth, has two Jupiter-sized protoplanets in the same orbit. In the same orbit, they may come around each other at some point.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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