Hid­den Stars May Im­pact Search for Earth-like Plan­ets

The Day After - - COFFEE HOUSE -

Re­searchers have found that hid­den stars may make plan­ets ap­pear smaller than they ac­tu­ally are, com­pli­cat­ing the search for Earth-like plan­ets. In the search for plan­ets sim­i­lar to our own, an im­por­tant point of com­par­i­son is the planet’s den­sity. A low den­sity tells sci­en­tists a planet is more likely to be gaseous like Jupiter, and a high den­sity is associ­ated with rocky plan­ets like Earth. But the new study, to be pub­lished in a forth­com­ing is­sue of the As­tro­nom­i­cal Jour­nal, sug­gests that some plan­ets are less dense than pre­vi­ously thought be­cause of a sec­ond, hid­den star in their sys­tems. As tele­scopes stare at par­tic­u­lar patches of sky, they can­not al­ways dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween one star and two.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.