Future evidence for extraterrestrial life might come from dying starsQuicklink submitted by Kyle McDermott Permalink
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This shows a habitable planet orbiting a white dwarf.
(image by David A. Aguilar (CfA)) DMCA
|Even dying stars could host planets with life - and if such life exists, we might be able to detect it within the next decade. This encouraging result comes from a new theoretical study of Earth-like planets orbiting white dwarf stars. Researchers found that we could detect oxygen in the atmosphere of a white dwarf's planet much more easily than for an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star. "In the quest for extraterrestrial biological signatures, the first stars we study should be white dwarfs." When a star like the Sun dies, it puffs off its outer layers, leaving behind a hot core called a white dwarf. A typical white dwarf is about the size of Earth. It slowly cools and fades over time, but it can retain heat long enough to warm a nearby world for billions of years. A habitable planet would circle the white dwarf once every 10 hours at a distance of about a million miles.|
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