Astronomers have modeled an Earth-like planet near Alpha Centauri

(ORDO NEWS) — The hypothetical planet α-Cen-Earth could be similar to ours, only with a much smaller iron core and no plate tectonics.

Several planets revolve around the star closest to us – Proxima Centauri. One of them is even similar to Earth in size and yet is within the “habitable zone”, at such a distance from its star that the temperature on the surface remains quite moderate.

Theoretically, there could be liquid water and even life . But the neighboring double star – Alpha Centauri – planets have not yet been found. Only a candidate is known, which has been identified so far tentatively and needs further observations for confirmation.

Most likely, Alpha Centauri Ab is not at all like the Earth and is closer to the ice giant Neptune. But it is possible that next to it there is a world that is more similar to ours: with a solid surface and in the “habitable zone”.

The authors of a new article published in The Astrophysical Journal have modeled a hypothetical Earth-like planet in the Alpha Centauri A system, code-named α-Cen-Earth.

To do this, scientists compared the content of light (hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and so on) and heavy (silicon, iron, and others) elements in the composition of the Sun and the Earth.

Next, they took spectroscopic data on the composition of both main stars of the Alpha Centauri system and, using the dependencies determined for the Earth and the Sun, calculated the composition of the hypothetical planet α-Cen-Earth.

Judging by the calculations, from the point of view of geochemistry, this world is somewhat reminiscent of our own. It can also accumulate impressive volumes of water, and most of the planet’s volume is filled with a silicate mantle.

However, it contains more carbon in the form of both graphite and diamonds. In addition, simulations show that the iron core of α-Cen-Earth must be much smaller than Earth’s, making the magnetic field much weaker. Yes, and geological activity on the planet is noticeably lower, and there are no tectonic movements of the crust.

However, these calculations remain as conditional as the very existence of the hypothetical α-Cen-Earth. The composition of the planets is influenced by very different factors, including more or less random ones, such as massive bombardment by asteroids and meteorites in the early stages of development, when the surrounding space of the system has not yet been cleared. And then α-Cen-Earth (if it is still in our neighborhood) may look completely different.


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