Scientists around the world are searching the universe for exoplanets trying to find life outside the earth. It was once thought that distant stars with frequent solar flares could mean that any planet in orbit has no life. New research has revealed that a powerful stellar flare may not prevent life on exoplanets. A strong torchlight could help us discover life.
A new study published by researchers at Northwestern University has found that star rockets emitted by a star that hosts an orbiting planet do not necessarily prevent the creation of life. Solar flares on the Sun can cause problems on Earth with satellites in orbit and interfere with radio communication. In other parts of the universe, stellar flares could also deplete and destroy atmospheric gases, such as ozone on orbiting planets.
If these exoplanets lack ozone, researchers believe that harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation could penetrate the planet’s atmosphere and reduce the chances of creating life. A new study team has discovered that stellar flares could play an important role in the long-term evolution of the atmosphere and habitability of an orbiting exoplanet. Researchers have compared the atmospheric chemistry of plants that often experience torches to planets that do not have torches.
They found that the long-term atmospheric chemistry of the two types of worlds is very different. Scientist Daniel Horton, a senior author of the article, said the team discovered that star torches may not prevent the existence of life. He says that in some cases, incineration does not erode atmospheric ozone, and life could still have a chance.
Solar flares can also be a good thing, previous work has determined whether space can help detect the signature of important gases that could denote biological processes. Starbursts can increase the number of lives, indicating gases such as nitrogen dioxide, nitrous oxide and nitric acid from imperceptible to observable levels. Scientists continue to study exoplanets orbiting the habitable zones of stars M and K in hopes of discovering extraterrestrial life.