(ORDO NEWS) — We might want to blame Jupiter for the absence of other habitable planets around our own sun.
Scientists love to discuss and explore the possibility of life on exoplanets, planets that are outside our solar system. Perhaps intelligent alien civilizations exist. Perhaps one of those potentially habitable exoplanets that astronomers have discovered will have the potential for life.
The research team, led by astrobiologist Stephen Kane of the University of California, analyzed the data and found that some stars could potentially contain up to seven Earth-like planets if they don’t have Jupiter to screw things up.
Kane, who previously explored the possibility of searching for habitable planets, studied the amazing Trappist-1 system, which contains several terrestrial planets located in a habitat zone where liquid water can exist.
“It got me thinking about the maximum number of habitable planets that a star can have, and why our star has only one,” the scientist said.
Researchers have created a computer model of the solar system and simulated planetary interactions over a vast amount of time. The data showed that a sun-like star can support up to six planets with liquid water, while some other stars can support up to seven.
“More than seven, and the planets are too close to each other and mutually destabilize their orbits,” said Kane.
This week the team published their findings in the Astronomical Journal. The study could help astronomers find planets in the habitable zone.
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