More Candidates For Supporting Life

planet in the habitable zone

A student from the Florida Institute of Technology has come up with an idea to reveal what lies inside the Kepler-80 system.

A student from the Florida Institute of Technology has come up with an idea to reveal what lies inside the Kepler-80 system. It has been recently discovered that there are more planet candidates for supporting life orbit in that system.

The undergraduate student who was observing Kepler planets came up with something amazing: a system of planets with a unique configuration of the orbits.

Mariah MacDonald has led a study about the Kepler-80 planets. What her team found was that all five planets orbit within a distance of 0.1 astronomical units away from the star. This is approximately the same distance as the one that separates the Earth from the Sun.

The planets align every 27 days, in that solar system. There is a theory about distant solar systems with planets. It says that 10 to 50 percent of these solar systems have planets that orbit close to the star. Kepler-80 is such a system, and there are other similarities to be taken into account.

Kepler-80 is found 1,100 light-years away from Earth. All its planets have surprisingly short orbits. Imagine that one year lasts just for a few Earth days. By analyzing data from the Kepler Telescope, MacDonald and her team have found that the planets are from four to six times larger than Earth.

These planets seem to possess synchronized orbits, which occurs very rare. However short and synchronized the may be, these orbits are stable too.

In our solar system, there is such a situation with synchronized, stable orbits, involving the three Moons Io, Europa, and Ganymede.

Out of the 800 systems which have been discovered with host planets, only a few have three planets with stable, synchronized, small orbits, and Keppler 80 is the only one which includes four such planets.

We don’t yet know what the planets’ atmosphere is like, so further research is needed on planet candidates for supporting life.  This is one of the most difficult things to do, with current equipment: telling whether a planet has water vapors in the atmosphere. We can only guess whether this is true, but sometimes planets which fulfill other conditions, such as being rocky and orbiting with stability and close to the parent star are presumed to have water atmospheres.We won’t know for sure until we travel to them.

Image Source – Wikipedia