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Researchers Believe Alien Life Could Thrive Around Old, Red Stars

May 18, 2016 09:10 AM EDT
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Some people used to think that the idea of alien life is absurd, but today, even professionals agree that the vastness of the galaxies may indeed cater to other life forms aside from our own.

Researchers from Cornell University said that dying red stars are suitable to sustain life that's why they should be searched and identified.

Researchers and scientists are always looking at exoplanets and 'habitable zones' where Earth-like properties are present so that life may thrive. The habitable zone is a region around a star and where there are signs of liquid water on the surface and can be detected by telescopes according to a statement by Cornell University. A planet with a perfect distance from the sun is within the habitable zone, just like the Earth.

 "When a star ages and brightens, the habitable zone moves outward and you're basically giving a second wind to a planetary system," said Ramses M. Ramirez, research associate at Cornell's Carl Sagan Institute and lead author of the study.

But today, most of the objects in our solar system are frozen. Researchers Ramirez and Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy and director of the Sagan Institute, conducted a study called "Habitable Zones of Post-Main Sequence Stars".

"Long after our own plain yellow sun expands to become a red giant star and turns Earth into a sizzling hot wasteland, there are still regions in our solar system - and other solar systems as well - where life might thrive," Kaltenegger said.

In a report by Daily Mail in the UK, they said that our sun will be bigger and brighter and as it engulf planets near itself like Earth and Mercury, but it can also thaw icy moons like Enceladus and Europa, and if it happens, these moons might become a habitable zone.

This process can occur with any other stars in the galaxy. Therefore, researchers believe there could be other habitable zones where a planet is thawed and can sustain water because  of its perfect distance from the  Sun.

To put it simply, when a star or sun gets bigger it will thaw frozen moons and planets. If it happens, they may be able to sustain water and eventually life as well, said Washington Post in an article.

According to the researchers of the study, in order to find habitable planets, they should look at stars of all ages and not just middle-aged ones. Because the older the star, the more likely it can cater to life.

A habitable zone can last up to 9 billion years, the Earth for example has been orbiting the sun for about 4.5 billion years.

"In the far future, such worlds could become habitable around small red suns for billions of years, maybe even starting life, just like Earth. That makes me very optimistic for the chances for life in the long run" added Kaltenegger.

The researchers of this study hopes that because of this paper, scientist will identify red and aging stars and in the future tell habitable zones like Earth's position today. "With our new work, astronomers can compile a list of known red giants and use our model predictions, assuming that the stellar ages are approximately known" Dr. Ramirez said in an interview.

 

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