Scientists like to argue and study the possibility of life on exoplanets, according tomedia CNET. When it comes to exciting exoplanets, we have a new number to think about: 7. A team of researchers led by Stephen Kane, an astrobiologist at the University of California, Riverside, calculated the data and found that some stars could hold up to seven Earth-like planets.
Kane has previously analyzed the possibility of exoplanets habitable — he has been working on the interesting Trappist-1 system, which has several Earth-like planets, located in the star’s habitable zone, where liquid water may be present. “It makes me wonder about the maximum number of habitable planets a star can have, and why we have only one star,” Kane said in a news release Friday from the University of California, Riverside.
The researchers created a computer model of solar system-like galaxies and simulated the interactions of planets over a large time span. The data show that a sun-like star can support up to six planets with liquid water, while some other stars can conceivably handle as many as seven planets. “With more than seven, the planets become too close and stabilize each other’s orbits.” Kane said.
The team published its findings this week in the Journal of Astronomy. The study could help guide astronomers in their search for habitable exoplanets. Kane is particularly interested in stars with asteroid collections.
Kane pointed the finger at the giant Jupiter, saying it was probably the main culprit for the lack of life-friendly planets in our own solar system. He points out that the size of Jupiter and its impact on the orbits of other planets in the system are why our habitable zones are so “lonely.”