(ORDO NEWS) — An encouraging discovery by astrophysicists may indicate the presence of a magnetic field and the potential for alien life.
Finding distant planets that could potentially harbor life is certainly no easy task, but this is the latest discovery reported by scientists from the US National Science Foundation (NSF).
It will help us find a world that may not be so different from ours.
Located about 12 light-years away, the planet, named YZ Ceti b, is a rocky Earth world from which astronomers have received an unusually coherent signal.
However, this does not mean that an intelligent alien civilization is trying to send us a message. The signal appears to be generated by the interaction between the planet’s parent star and its magnetic field.
If this is true, then this is a very important finding, because the presence of a magnetic field is considered one of the key factors due to which our planet is habitable, and others (like Mars) are not.
“We’re actually seeing an aurora on a star – that’s what this radio emission means,” said astrophysicist Sebastian Pineda of the University of Colorado.
“The planet should also have an aurora if it has its own atmosphere.”
However, it remains unclear whether this particular planet is habitable.
“Finding potentially habitable worlds in other systems depends in part on being able to determine whether rocky Earth-like exoplanets actually have magnetic fields,” said Joe Pesce of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
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