June 4th, 2015 15:31 EST
Space Weather on Distant Stars May Increase Chances of Alien Life
Wild weather or as we know it on Earth as if you live or have lived in New England then you know with the next tick of the clock the weather can change in an instant so too is there wild weather in that mysterious ball of black yonder known as space.
Not that there are hurricanes or tornadoes spinning out of control up there not that kind of weather but I guess we can sort of call it solar weather. Did you know that our planet Earth endures violent ejections of material from the sun? The sun is a star and various different events that happen periodically on the sun affects our planet Earth in many ways.
Scientists are studying if the same events in other solar systems and the stars that are part of distant other planets could have a potential also for the possibility of alien life living on those planets. In other words, since there is of course life on Earth and our sun is a giant hot star and it has various events like violent ejections of material being sort of spit at us could other stars that do the same to their distant planets have life on them?
NASA has positioned two large telescopes in the Mojave Desert are constantly searching for the same kind of activity as our sun in other stars which according to scientists could affect the development of distant planets and their potential for life. When material streams off of a star on a daily basis, it produces what scientists call "space weather." But the sun`s weather may be mild compared to that of the most plentiful stars in the galaxy, M-dwarfs. " (Taylor, N)
So, the M-Dwarf stars are like the heavy hitters of the twinkling world. Our sun is powerful as you know if you live in the Southwest in July but those M-Dwarfs if they were our sun would probably be like living in the Southwest no matter where you lived on Earth and at any time of the year it would be as hot.
Jackie Villadsen who is a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) Department of Astronomy, commented on this, "As we`re finding planets around M-dwarfs, they`re going to be exposed to much more active space weather" (Villadsen, J.)
So, this could mean and I`m not a scientists but it would probably be safe to say that any distant planet that has an M-Dwarf star as its sun or neighbor would be the planet(s) that would more than likely have the potential for alien life. Wouldn`t you agree?
Everyday our sun shoots charged particles that bombard Earth that are carried by our solar wind. The space or solar weather can become more intensive as our sun takes it up a notch and shoots what is known as bursts of plasma which in science terms is known as (CME`s) or Coronal Mass Ejections. These ejections are so powerful they have the potential to knock out power grids and satellites on Earth as some of you have probably experienced over the various years.
There is also a magnetic field that comes from our sun and in our solar system and without the protection of this magnetic field our planet would experience greater affects form CME`s other than just power grids and satellites being knocked out temporarily form them. If there were no magnetic field protecting us, sort of the same concept as the USS Enterprise from Star Trek putting its protective invisible shield up to protect it from anything harmful, the CME`s could go as far as to strip our o-one layer away for years at a time; which is a very scary thought if you think about it. If that happened that would allow deadly and harmful radiation to reach the Earth`s surface and fry anything in its path. You might as-well stand in an open field and set off an Atomic Bomb or Nuclear War Head in front of you because that is probably the amount of radiation that would make its way to Earth probably in a measurement of per square feet.
Scientists are looking at the possibility that since our sun again is considered a typical star that the chance of other planets around other typical stars must also endure CME`s and space or solar weather. And scientists are looking more closely at planets in and around M-Dwarf stars.
M-Dwarf stars are smaller than our sun but are far more long lived stars. Another name scientist know these stars as is Red Dwarfs and you may have also heard them called that before. M-Dwarf stars make-up about seventy-percent of all the stars in the Milky Way galaxy and data also suggests that there may also be as many as one planet for every red dwarf star out there.
M-Dwarf have long lives before shredding up and burning out and may provide with those longer lives spans for life on their distant planets to evolve in their systems but their extreme space weather can and may threaten those chances. With their sudden flashes of brightness from their surface known as space flares, those space flares often precede CME`s. The space flares off an M-Dwarf or Red Dwarf star is up to a thousand times more potent and more energetic than those form our sun.
In order to grasp a better understanding of space weather outside of the solar system, on M-Dwarf stars and other various types of stellar systems, scientists are studying fifteen stars over a two and a half year period with radio antennas at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory in California and of those fifteen stars being studied there are also eight Red Dwarf stars in the mix.
With scientist being as watchful as a perimeter gate guard on guard duty in Iraq on these fifteen stars being studied and being watched continually each evening, they will be able to watch and see serendipitous explosions that will answer a lot of questions about space weather around other stars.
Jackie Villadsen went on to comment by saying, "To find these things, we really need to point at another star and wait," (Villadsen, J.) So, watching these stars is almost like the old saying in the military goes, hurry up and wait " I guess to get quality data and information to be as accurate as possible scientists need to be patient.
So, does alien life exists on planets in and around M-Dwarf stars? The possibility is very real but I guess unless we see a flying saucer that lands in the middle of New York City during rush hour we can only speculate.
Taylor, N., Redd, SPACE.com Contributor, Wild Weather of Distant Stars May Affect Chances for Alien Life, (http://www.space.com/29440-star-space-weather-alien-life.html)Retrieved May 2015.
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