Home » News & Blogs » Powerful Particles and Tugging Tides May Affect Extraterrestrial Life
Bookmark and Share
Astro Watch

Powerful Particles and Tugging Tides May Affect Extraterrestrial Life

20 Apr 2019, 21:03 UTC
Powerful Particles and Tugging Tides May Affect Extraterrestrial Life
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Since its discovery in 2016, planetary scientists have been excited about TRAPPIST-1, a system where seven Earth-sized rocky planets orbit a cool star. Three of the planets are in the habitable zone, the region of space where liquid water can flow on the planets’ surfaces. But two new studies by scientists in the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory may lead astronomers to redefine the habitable zone for TRAPPIST-1.The three planets in the habitable zone are likely facing a formidable opponent to life: high-energy particles spewed from the star. For the first time, Federico Fraschetti and a team of scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have calculated how hard these particles are hitting the planets. Meanwhile, Hamish Hay, a graduate student in the Lunar and Planatary Laboratory, has found that the gravitational tug-of-war the TRAPPIST-1 planets are playing with one another is raising tides on their surfaces, possibly driving volcanic activity or warming ice-insulated oceans on planets that are otherwise too cold to support life.Both Fraschetti’s paper and Hay's study, “Tides between TRAPPIST-1 planets,” are recently published in the Astrophysical Journal.The system’s star, TRAPPIST-1A, is smaller, less massive and 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than our ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod