Astronomers, in general, have a really challenging profession, but when it comes to signs of life beyond our solar system, it is even harder because there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that can be considered. Because the search needs to be narrowed down, they should answer the question: What kinds of stars are most likely to host habitable planets? K stars, also known as “Goldilocks Stars,” might be the answer.
According to a new study, there are some promising targets where scientists should search for signs of life and those are a particular class of stars called K stars which are brighter than the faintest stars but dimmer than the Sun.
One reason why the K stars, or Goldilocks Stars, were chosen is that they can live for a long time, 70 billion years being the maximum while 17 billion being their minimum, compared to the Sun which can live only for 10 billion years. This way, life has plenty of time to evolve. In addition to that, the activity of K stars in their youth is less extreme in comparison to the M stars, for example.
Goldilocks Stars, or K Stars, Are Ideal Candidates For Searching For Habitable Planets
When it comes to searching for habitable planets, M stars do offer some advantages. They make up about 75 percent of all the stars in the Universe as they are the most common star type. Aside from that, they are also frugal with their fuel, and they can be shiny for over a trillion years.
However, potential life can be in danger because of the turbulent youth of M stars. Explosive releases of magnetic energy, also known as stellar flares, are much more energetic and frequent from young Mstars in comparison to stars that are similar to the Sun. Furthermore, when they are young, M stars are also much brighter and the warmth coming from them will make oceans have too big of a temperature for a zone to be habitable.
In conclusion, the scientists noted, K stars are the ideal candidates when it comes to searching for habitable planets outside our solar system. And that because the so-called Goldilocks Stars are less active when young and live longer than other stars so that life has enough time to evolve on exoplanets orbiting that type of stars.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.