Frozen Planets May Get Second Chance At Life

red giant

 

Astronomers now believe that currently frozen planets may become habitable once our sun dies.

A team from Cornell University in New York are suggesting that as our sun swells hundreds of times in size, they could warm up frozen planets and provide suitable conditions for life.

According to Lisa Kaltenegger and her team, when our Sun starts to swell up into a red giant, the ‘goldilocks’ zone of our Solar System will shift from around Earth’s orbit to include the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn instead.

Team member Ramses M. Ramirez explained “When a star ages and brightens, the habitable zone moves outward and you’re basically giving a second wind to a planetary system.”

While the planets themselves may not be the new harboring ground for life, experts say their moons could become the perfect environment for such evolution.

The team points out that when astronomers are trying to narrow down potential candidates for  life, they usually look at those nearby middle-aged stars, like our Sun, but this research  suggests is they need to broadened their horizons by looking at systems that contain old, dying  stars too, where the goldilocks zone has shifted.

The team has already identified 23 red giant stars within 100 light-years of Earth, which could be warming up now though this drastic change in tempterature is not expected for another 5  million years.

 

Source: Sciencealert

 

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