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Primitive life on Barnard’s Star? | Space



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  Great orange border of the sun with inner planets shown, smaller orange than Barnard's star with its 1 planet shown.

Concept of the artist of our internal solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars – in contrast to the star of Barnard and his planet, Barnard b. The planet is close to its star, but the star is weak and does not provide much heat. A new study probes the possibility of living on Barnard b. Image via University of Villanova.

Here is a more exciting work regarding the ex-extraterrestrial planet just discovered in orbit around the legendary star of Barnard. This star is the nearest single star (and now the second closest star system) to our sun only six light years away. Astronomers announced his newly discovered planet ̵

1; labeled Barnard b (or GJ 699 b) – just in November 2018. Last week (10 January 2019) – at the 233th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Seattle , Washington – the astronomers of the University of Villanova have explained their new work by demonstrating that – although this world is probably cold (-170 degrees Celsius) – it may still have the potential to accommodate primitive life.

Here is the story of Barnard's Star b, whose mass is just over three times that of the Earth. Orbit around Barnard's star – a dim red dwarf – every 233 days, at about the same distance as Mercury orbits around our sun. In the Barnard & # 39; s Star system, however, this distance is close to the star's snowline, ie to the point where the heat of the Barnard star needed to keep the water molecules at the end of the vapor. Beyond the snowline, water can become ice.

In order for Barnard b to have some form of life, these astronomers said, the planet needs another source of heat. They suggested a large hot iron / nickel core – just like the Earth – and increased geothermal activity.

Edward Guinan and Scott Engle of Villanova made the announcement; you can see their article as a poster of the AAS meeting. Guinan said:

Geothermal heating could support "vital areas" beneath its surface, similar to the subterranean lakes found in Antarctica. We note that the surface temperature on the frozen moon of Jupiter Europe is similar to that of Barnard b but, due to the warming of the tides, Europe probably has liquid oceans beneath the frozen surface.

A concept of the artist on the surface of the newly discovered planet, called Barnard Stella b. Its sun is dark and red. Could life exist beneath the surface of this cold world, warmed up from below? Image via ESO / M. Kornmesser.

Guinan and Engle studied the Star of Barnard for a long time and were part of the discovery team that found the new planet. They have obtained a high-precision photometry, or light measurements, of Barnard's star (as well as dozens of other stars) over the past 15 years.

Terrestrial telescopes can see Barnard's star, but not his planet … yet. Although very weak, according to Guinan it might be possible to imagine Barnard b from very large future telescopes. He commented:

These observations will clarify the nature of the atmosphere, the surface and the potential habitability of the planet.

Engle noted:

The most significant aspect of the discovery of the star b of Barnard is that the two closest star systems in the sun are now known to house the planets. This supports previous studies based on Kepler's mission data, deducing that planets can be very common across the galaxy, even tens of billions.

In addition, the star of Barnard is about twice the sun – about 9 billion years compared to 4.6 billion years for the sun. The universe has produced earth-sized planets much longer than we, or even the sun itself,

The best New Year's gift ever! EarthSky lunar calendar for 2019

The neighbors closest to our sun among the stars, including the star of Barnard. Image via NASA PhotoJournal.

Conclusion: A new study shows that the next extrasolar planet Barnard b (or GJ 699 b) could harbor primitive life if it has a heat source other than its dim sun, such as a large hot iron / nickel core – precisely like the Earth – and enhanced geothermal activity.

Source: X-rays, ultraviolet rays, optical irradiations and the age of the new planet Super Star of the star of Barnard – "Can life find its way" on such a cold planet?
University Via Villanova

  Deborah Byrd


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