Astronomers have shown that the planets of binary stars can be habitable

(ORDO NEWS) — Computer simulations of binary systems have shown that their planets are capable of maintaining stable orbits for a billion years or more.

This increases the chances of life developing in worlds reminiscent of the fantastic Tatooine.

Many stars are part of binary systems. Around them, planets are also found that evoke the image of Tatooine – the homeland of Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars space epic.

Perhaps there are even more such planets than worlds that revolve around single stars like our Sun. No wonder the first exoplanet seen outside the Milky Way is located in a binary system.

But how stable the position of the planets in such stars is not completely clear. It is likely that their orbits are not able to remain stable long enough for any life to appear and develop there.

A computer simulation conducted by astrophysicists at the College of New Jersey helped answer this question.

Professor Mariah MacDonald and her colleagues have run simulations of 4,000 binary systems with single terrestrial planets.

In various versions, scientists considered stars of different sizes and shapes and planetary orbits of different sizes.

The computer made it possible to simulate their movement over billions of years – a period considered necessary for the development of life.

The work showed that if the planet’s orbit passes at a sufficient distance, then only in rare cases is it thrown out of the system.

About 70 percent of such planets have remained in place for a billion or more simulated years.

If we are talking about the habitable zone – a distance that provides a sufficiently comfortable surface temperature and allows liquid water to persist – then the orbits of about 10 percent of the planets remained stable.

Most of these worlds have not always been kept at an optimal distance from their parent stars, leaving the habitable zone from time to time.

However, scientists note that the presence of vast oceans and a sufficiently dense atmosphere is quite capable of mitigating extreme, but short-lived temperature drops.


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