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  Columnist: Taylor Reints

Image credit: NASA

Sun-like star may harbor alien life

Posted on Saturday, 12 May, 2012 | 0 comments
Columnist: Taylor Reints

Our solar system is rather unique. It is a spinning disk with the sun in the center, of which is surrounded by four terrestrial - or rocky - planets, an asteroid belt, four gas giants and five dwarf planets. Many other star systems have been discovered, but many just don’t fit the bill for likeness to our own. For one, many of these systems have Hot Jupiters, inner planets the size of - and sometimes larger than - the planet Jupiter.

To occasionally break the rule, scientists have discovered a new star called HP 56948. HP 56948 is remarkably similar to our own sun. It has relatively the same mass as our sun and, as well, it is a G2V (yellow dwarf) sharing chemical composition and temperatures with our sun. It also has planets revolving around it.

However, sharing characteristics with our own sun doesn’t say that the HP 56948 system has planets similar to our Earth that can support life. Many Hot Jupiters revolve around a star very similar to our star (like 51 Pegasi b, also called Bellerophon). Here’s where it gets interesting, though: astronomers have not detected a short-period wobble on HP 56948, meaning that no Hot Jupiter would be that close to the star (If otherwise, its gigantic size would influence its sun to create a wobble).

If there were no (or at least not many) Hot Jupiters revolving around HP 56948, then could there be terrestrial planets? Perhaps even some in the “Goldilocks zone“? The chemical composition of the star suggests so. It has an amount of silicon, magnesium, aluminum and calcium similar to our sun, elements of which are usually found in asteroids, rocky planets and interplanetary dust.

Could HP 56948 have inner system planets similar to our own and beloved planet? If so, could there be intelligent life on one of them? Could this star have formed around the same time as our sun? If so, it would give extraterrestrials the same amount of time as us to evolve. Perhaps they even have evolved to be an intelligent civilization.

HP 56948 is just one of many new exoplanets that possibly hosts life out there and it is a beneficial contribution to astrology and possibly the future of astrobiology.

Article Copyright© Taylor Reints - reproduced with permission.

  Other articles by Taylor Reints

An Introduction to 'Cryptobiology'
Columnist: Taylor Reints | Posted on 7-2-2013 | 1 comment
Cryptozoology and cryptobotany are words derived from the Greek root kryptos, which means "hidden". Zoology and botany being the study of animals and plants, cr...

The true end of days
Columnist: Taylor Reints | Posted on 1-11-2013 | 3 comments
Now that December 21, 2012, is done and over with, perhaps it should be explained how we are really all going to die. Don’t fret, though, you may well have to w...

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Columnist: Taylor Reints | Posted on 10-31-2012 | 4 comments
Halloween is an observance that exemplifies the meaning of fear. On this day, millions of children will dress their scariest, hoping to get a taste of candy. Bu...

The exorcism of Anneliese Michel
Columnist: Taylor Reints | Posted on 9-21-2012 | 6 comments
Anneliese Michel is the woman whom inspired the plots of The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Requiem and Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes, and they are all based on a true...

Doppelganger Danger
Columnist: Taylor Reints | Posted on 8-24-2012 | 7 comments
Have you ever wished to have had a twin? If so, wish granted. Some people believe in paranormal doubles called doppelgängers, German for "double walker". These ...

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