Earth-like planets may be shared in the universe, a new UCLA study implies. The team of astrophysicists and geochemists presents further proof that the Earth is not unique.
“We now have simply raised the likelihood that many rocky planets are just like the Earth, and there’s a giant variety of rocky planets within the universe,” mentioned co-writer Edward Younger, the UCLA professor of geochemistry.
The scientist’s group, led by Alexandra Doyle, a UCLA scholar of geochemistry and astrochemistry, developed a brand new study to research the geochemistry of planets intimately outdoors of our solar system. Doyle did by analyzing the weather in rocks from asteroids or rocky planet fragments that orbited six white dwarf stars.
“We’re learning geochemistry in rocks from different stars, which is nearly extraordinary,” Younger stated.
“Studying the composition of planets exterior our photovoltaic system may be very troublesome,” mentioned co-writer Hilke Schlichting, UCLA affiliate professor of astrophysics and also the planetary science. “We used the one technique doable — a way we pioneered — to find out the geochemistry of rocks outdoors of the solar system.”
White dwarf stars are dense, burned-out remnants of regular stars. Their robust gravitational pull causes heavy parts like carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen to sink quickly into their interiors, the place telescopes can’t detect the heavy components. The closest white dwarf star Doyle studied is about 200 light-years from Earth, and the farthest is 665 light-years away.
“By observing these white dwarfs and the weather current of their ambiance, we’re observing the weather which can be within the body that orbited the white dwarf,” Doyle mentioned. “Observing a white dwarf is like doing a post-mortem on the contents of what it has wolfed in its solar system.”