New Detail On Exoplanets Is Discovered, A Recent Study Reports

James Marshall
October 20, 2019

She says that material accreted onto the white dwarf by bodies that were orbiting them.

Earth-like exoplanets may be quite common in the universe, a new UCLA study suggests. The study was published in the journalScienceon Oct. 18.

Doyle said that these are very similar - referring to the rocks they analyzed when compared to rocks from Earth and Mars.

Given that Earth harbours an abundance of life, the findings offer the latest tantalising evidence that planets similarly capable of hosting life exist in large numbers beyond our solar system.

UCLA professor Edward Young says that the team has raised the probability that many rocky planets are like Earth.

"The fact that we have oceans and all the ingredients necessary for life can be traced back to the planet being oxidized as it is".

Earth-like exoplanets might be very normal known to mankind, another UCLA study recommends. We measured the amount of iron that got oxidized in these rocks that hit the white dwarf. In its death throes, the star blows off its outer layer and the rest collapses, forming an extremely dense and relatively small entity that represents one of the universe's densest forms of matter, exceeded only by neutron stars and black holes. However, determining these properties in exoplanets is both hard and often unreliable, so it has been uncertain whether the same processes which oxidized planet-forming material in our Solar System occurred elsewhere, in solar systems around other stars.

"This is the most precise way of measuring the geochemistry of these rocky bodies that we have right now", study lead author Alexandra Doyle, an astrochemist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Space.com.

"This is where that "autopsy" idea comes from", Doyle added, noting that by observing the elements from the massacred planets and other objects inside the white dwarf scientists can understand their composition.

Rocks from Earth, Mars and other celestial bodies in our solar system contain a high level of oxidized iron and are similar in their composition. Researchers can use the distribution of wavelengths present in such light to calculate what elements are present; so in the case of these polluted white dwarfs, the team could measure how abundant oxidized iron was in rock that had fallen into the dead stars. "We are seeing that rocks are rocks, even when they form around other stars". The farthest is about 665 light-years away.

"If extraterrestrial rocks have an identical amount of oxidation because the Earth has, then you may conclude the planet has related plate tectonics and comparable potential for magnetic fields because the Earth, that is extensively believed to be key substances for all times", stated co-writer Hilke Schlichting, UCLA affiliate professor of astrophysics and planetary science.

'It's always been a mystery why the rocks in our solar system are so oxidized. The study shows that the oxidation of rocks is true around other stars, and that bodes well for looking for Earth-like planets in the universe. 'This study is a leap forward in being able to make these inferences for bodies outside our own solar system and indicates it's very likely there are truly Earth analogs, ' she says.

Young said his department has both astrophysicists and geochemists working together.

His NASA funded team looked at asteroids circling ancient stars, or "white dwarfs", in more detail than ever before.

"The result", he said, "is we are doing real geochemistry on rocks from outside our solar system".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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