August 28

Which Star is the Best Candidate For Searching For Extraterrestrial Life?

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As UFO news consistently grabs headlines, the burning question remains: “Which Star is the Best Candidate For Searching For Extraterrestrial Life?” Telescopes, notably the Kepler mission, have played a pivotal role in this quest. Astronomers, with their ever-watchful eyes, have unveiled numerous planets nestled around stars at just the right distance, hinting at possible life-friendly conditions. However, while these cosmic treasures tantalize with potential, their immense distances prove a challenge. Robotic planetary explorers have, until now, faced their fair share of hurdles trying to get a closer look.

Gliese 832

Gliese 832 is a red dwarf star with two planets orbiting it: Gliese 832 b, an orbiting Jupiter-like planet discovered in 2009; and Gliese 832c, discovered shortly thereafter with low temperatures that may support life forms.

Gliese 832 lies within the “Goldilocks zone,” where liquid water can most likely exist on planet surfaces. Gliese 832c completes one orbit around its host star every 36 days and receives about the same energy from it as Earth does from our Sun.

As it’s less bright than our Sun and therefore easier to locate, making it an excellent candidate for searching extraterrestrial life; especially as its environment contains numerous potential planets.

However, in 2016, physicist Stephen Hawking cautioned against actively searching for aliens due to our past interactions with lesser intelligent civilizations, which have almost always resulted in disaster for us. Instead he suggested we listen for signs of life around us but not actively seek them out ourselves; scientists are still actively developing tools that may make this hunt more efficient and less risky. Nonetheless, scientists continue their search and are creating tools that make the hunt more effective and less risky.

LHS 1140b

LHS 1140b is an intriguing candidate in the search for extraterrestrial life, orbiting a red dwarf star within its habitable zone and boasting an atmosphere. Furthermore, due to its size and proximity to its host star it may possess water on its surface; further studies with ground-based telescopes have already taken place and future observations by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope expected for launch by 2021 are anticipated.

The team has already identified some atmospheric gases on this planet, but much more awaits discovery. Although its temperature falls within the range for liquid water to exist on it, no confirmation that its atmosphere exists has yet been made. With their new telescopes they hope to find oxygen molecules which would indicate whether there exists an atmosphere and make contact possible between scientists and inhabitants on it.

Proxima Centauri is another promising star for searching for life, boasting an inhabited planet close enough to its star to potentially host it. Unfortunately, its proximity prevents scientists from studying its atmosphere fully; new telescopes such as James Webb Space Telescope and ESA’s Extremely Large Telescope should help researchers study this planet more in-depth.

NGC 6746

NGC 6746, situated within Pavo constellation and with an approximate diameter of 13,000 light years, is a spiral galaxy experiencing active star formation with its 20th magnitude central star being extremely hot (temperature exceeding 100 thousand Kelvins). Surrounding this star is a thick nebula which contains dense organic molecules in high concentration.

Organic molecules are key in our search for life beyond our solar system. Comets may preserve organic molecules that then reach other planets via comet impacts and introduce new chemical reactions on contact – particularly beneficial when planets possess liquid water necessary for life.

Scientists have already discovered over 4,000 exoplanets and are searching for signs of life or advanced technology on these planets, such as Adam Frank of Rochester Astrophysics who is leading a project searching for such evidence.

The SKA (Square Kilometre Aperture Telescope) is part of a new generation of telescopes that will enable scientists to detect organic molecules in exoplanet ices from faraway planets. Other telescopes, such as James Webb Space Telescope and ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array), may also help provide additional details regarding these distant exoplanets’ chemical makeup.

NGC 6748

NGC 6748, also known as Vulpecula’s G, lies close to the celestial equator and visible from both hemispheres. It forms part of N90 in Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a satellite galaxy to our Milky Way galaxy. Due to radiation and shock waves from NGC 602, lighter gas and dust have been cleared away, allowing even younger pre-main sequence stars (or “elephant trunk stars”) to form within N90 in ridges along its walls – creating N90’s larger star formation region known as N90 in Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC).

NGC 6748 stands out as an intricate bipolar planetary nebula due to its large apparent size. It serves as an impressive example of how structures can form within these nebulae, with one of the brightest stars ever known located within it.

Its center star, a white dwarf with an estimated surface temperature of over 250,000 degrees Celsius, ranks amongst one of the hottest stars known to science. Additionally, spectroscopy has shown that much of its contents include carbon and nitrogen atoms. NGC 6748 contains many hot, blue-hued components such as glowing dust clouds and cooler stardust particles. According to researchers at Copenhagen’s University of Copenhagen, NGC 6748 could provide an ideal model for studying how planets of Sun-size stars form. Observations of such systems could provide clues as to whether conditions on other planets are suitable for life formation. Nearly half of Sun-sized stars are binary systems and studying these may offer more of a picture as to which conditions must exist for life to flourish on other worlds.


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