Can life exist on the recently discovered extrasolar planets?
Do you think that the new planets that have been recently found can maintain life?
The new planets we are finding around other stars are detected only by way of their gravitational influence on their parent stars. We have no information on what they might actually be like, except that they are there. Because we detect them via their gravity alone, we are only able to find Jupiter-sized or larger planets. Such planets are probably entirely gaseous, like Jupiter, and therefore probably unsuitable for life. Their moons, however, might be a very different story.
UPDATE by Ryan Yamada, October 18, 2005 The majority of new planet discoveries are in close orbits to their parent star (usually under 10 days or so). Consequently, most of these planets are well within Mercury's orbit and are very hot. Current searches favor detecting short-period planets around sun-like stars. It will probably take observations around low-mass, dim stars to detect a planet at Earth-like temperatures.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- Why doesn't SETI concentrate its observations to the nearby stars and the solar systems that we are discovering?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 27306 times since May 9, 2002.
Last modified: October 18, 2005 7:58:10 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)