A team of Astronomers has developed a new tool for finding habitable planets in the solar systems through measurement of the surface gravity of the stars which are too far away. The distance is an important factor to consider since distant stars cannot be studied by conventional means.
Knowing the surface gravity of a star is essentially knowing how much you would weigh on that star. If stars had solid surfaces on which you could stand, then your weight would change from star to star, researchers said. The method developed by researchers from University of British Columbia in Canada and University of Vienna in Austria allows scientists to measure surface gravity with an accuracy of about 4%, for stars too distant and too faint to apply current techniques.
But considering that there are more than a dozen billion stars and planets surrounding us which we haven’t even explored it’s obvious that there is a high probability that we will find quite a few habitable planets and who knows, maybe even alien life which exists on that planet.
“Our technique can tell you how big and bright is the star, and if a planet around it is the right size and temperature to have water oceans, and maybe life,” said Prof Jaymie Matthews, who is the lead author of the study.
Through the data collected from the Kepler Space Telescope, the team found out that through observations of the variations in brightness in the stars, measurements of surface gravity can be fine-tuned to a degree of accuracy like never before. They explain that since the measurements of the planet are carried out about the surface gravity and the size of the star, they can find the weight of the matter of almost anything on the planet, meaning that calculation of the gravity on the planet is also possible.
It must be clear by now that depending on the gravity of a place our weight differs since it depends on and variates as gravity changes. Thus, even though your mass is constant, you could weigh 50 kilograms on Earth and almost 1000 kilograms on the surface of the sun since the gravity of the sun is higher than that on earth.
Thus, scientists hope to find planets that have the right properties so that living on other planets and travel across planets can be a reality someday.