The answer to the question- Are we alone in this universe? Now seems even more possible. Recently astronomers have discovered a new planet in a binary star system which is located 3000 light years from Earth. Astronomers have hinted at the possibility of the planet harboring life.
The discovery has also provided the possibility that planets like Earth with life could be possible in planets in a binary star system where the stars are not very far from one another. The newly discovered planet is twice the mass of Earth and the planet orbits one of the binary stars at exactly the same distance as earth from its Sun.
However the downside is the star around which the planet revolves is much dimmer than our sun and therefore the surface temperature of the planet is icy cold somewhat akin to the Jupiter’s moon Europa.
The controversial pair of planets, Gliese d and g, some 22 light years away, were once believed to be in the Goldilocks zone – not too close and not too far from the star, where the potential exists for water and perhaps life.
They are part of a larger trove of potentially Earth-like planets that have been identified by astronomers so far, and Nasa has said billions may be out there.
Too far to be seen with the naked eye or a telescope, they were spotted with a technique called Doppler radial velocity, orbiting a cool, red star called Gliese 581.
Scott Gaudi, a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University said, “Although this planet itself is too cold to be habitable, the same planet orbiting a sun-like star in such a binary system would be in the so-called ‘habitable zone’ – the region where conditions might be right for life. Half the stars in the galaxy are in binary systems. We had no idea if Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits could even form in these systems”
“Planets don’t form out of thin air, they form out of disks of material, and it hasn’t been known if this disk of material could remain stable enough to form a planet in the presence of another star,” he said. “We didn’t have any evidence one way or another.”
This widens the horizon for potential locations to look for habitable planets in the future. The planet has been christened, OGLE-2013-BLG-0341LBb and first appeared as a dip in the line tracing the brightness data first taken by Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) telescope.
After the analysis of the data, the researchers deduced the planet to have a mass twice that of the Earth and orbits the star at a distance of 90 million miles which is somewhat similar to the distance of the Earth from its star, the Sun.