Millions of planets orbiting yellow dwarfs could hold the key to the discovery of extraterrestrial life. A recent study by astronomers from the University of Florida (USA) and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that about a third of the studied planets could be habitable.
Yellow dwarfs, including our sun, are rare in the Milky Way, which is dominated by cooler, smaller stars. However, despite this, millions of planets revolve around yellow dwarfs, some of which are close enough to their stars to support life.
However, life on these planets faces many threats. Being close to their stars exposes planets to deadly radiation and gravitational forces capable of tearing the planet apart.
The researchers measured the orbital eccentricity of more than 150 planets detected by the Kepler telescope and orbiting dwarf stars. They found that planets with more rounded orbits are more likely to retain water on their surfaces, which is an important factor in the possibility of life.
The study’s key finding was that having more than one planet in a system promotes more circular orbits, giving the planets the necessary distance from their stars to conserve water and create conditions for life.
Systems with one planet, in contrast, are more likely to have oval orbits, which reduces the likelihood of these planets being habitable.
Based on these findings, scientists suggest that there could be hundreds of millions of potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way. This opens up limitless prospects for the search and study of extraterrestrial life.
Even if only a small fraction of a percent of these planets turn out to be habitable, we are still confronted with an amazing variety of life forms that can exist in the universe. From primitive microorganisms to complex multicellular organisms.
This discovery highlights the importance of further research and development of technologies that will help us explore these distant worlds.
Space missions and observatories continue to work, opening up new horizons for us and providing unique data on the planets around yellow dwarfs and other stars.
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