Orange stars may have planets having life

By | May 8, 2009

Orange stars may have planets having life

A new analysis has suggested that the best bet that scientists have in finding life in the Universe may be around stars a little less massive than the sun, called ”orange dwarfs”.

According to a report in New Scientist, these stars live much longer than sun-like stars, and have safer habitable zones – where liquid water can exist – than those of lighter red dwarf stars.

Stars similar in mass to the sun, categorised as a yellow dwarf, have received the most attention from planet hunters.

Edward Guinan of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, US, leads a team that has been studying how the properties of stars vary with mass.

But, recent research suggests orange dwarfs may provide an even better hunting ground for life-bearing planets.

The team is using observations from a variety of sources, such as archival measurements from the ROSAT X-ray satellite, and more recent measurements from ground-based telescopes.

The results confirm that red dwarf stars, which weigh between 10 and 50 percent as much as the sun, are far more prone to unleashing powerful flares that can deliver deadly radiation to nearby planets.

This activity declines as the red dwarfs age, and scientists have not ruled out red dwarf planets as potential abodes for life, but any such life would certainly face some big challenges. …

The odds of intelligent life arising may be better on planets around orange dwarfs than sun-like stars, given the extra time available for it to evolve.

That makes orange dwarfs not only good targets for habitable planet searches, but for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) as well, according to Guinan

via Refreshing News: Orange stars may have planets having life.

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