(ORDO NEWS) — The pale blue dot is Earth. This is exactly how, 30 years ago, Carl Sagan, an astrophysicist, described our planet based on an image taken at a distance of 6 billion kilometers. According to many experts, the blue color of the planet is a sign of life on it.
The high probability of the existence of life on blue planets is due to the fact that the Earth is the only cosmic body on which there is biological diversity. The color of a planet can tell a lot about the conditions on it; it depends on the composition of the atmosphere, the presence of oceans and the type of rocks. Scientists are able to tell if there is life on a planet just by looking at a snapshot of it from space.
Astronomers have long used spectrography when studying stars to determine the color of their radiation. Currently, telescopes do not know how to separate starlight and light that is reflected from planets around this or that star. Another problem is that people have not yet learned to perceive color under the light of stars other than the Sun.
The first difficulty will disappear when humans build a more powerful telescope. The second solution is less obvious. According to Jack Madden of Cornell University, computer simulations can help scientists. The expert has created a reference book of planets similar to Earth, and a guide for the interpretation of different starlight.
The models have different combinations of possible planetary surfaces: sea water, granite, sand, grass, snow, etc. Some planets turned out to be completely deserted, while others were covered with snow. The created planets were then moved into orbit with the star to a point where the energy from the luminary is enough for the water to remain liquid.
In total, 30 planets and 12 stars were created, which helped to find out 360 types of color spectra for the terrestrial planets. The work, according to the expert, will help astronomers find habitable worlds.
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