New York, June 17 (): Planets in solar systems that have two suns – like the fictional Tatooine planet from the film Star Wars have more possibility of supporting alien life than planets with single suns, said a new research done by an astronomy student.
Joni Clark, an undergraduate at New Mexico State University, said that Tatooine’s dual suns might actually help prevent damaging solar winds from bombarding planets in their system, allowing for a wider “Goldilocks zone” of habitability.
Joni Clark simulated many types of systems including binary systems with two suns to test if the planets within these systems were more or less capable of being habitable.
He presented his research at the 222nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Indianapolis. In the study, he discovered in binary systems, the gravitational pull of the two suns orbiting around each other decreases the threat to those planets from solar winds, for example, increasing the chance of life surviving and water sources forming.
Clark told, “[The stars] calm each other down. They vent to each other, and they are not focused on anything else. They slow each other down and that causes increased magnetic protection of the planets.”
The stars also have to fully orbit one another within 10 to 30 days to expand the habitable zone. If they drift too far, it could put a noteworthy gravitational strain on the orbiting planets.
Water worlds and rocky planets could form in areas of the system that might not be habitable without the double star interaction.
In these systems, it is also possible that habitable alien planets could occur as close-in to their stars as Venus is to the Sun.
An example of an existing planet in a binary system is the Kepler-35 b – a planet that orbits around a pair of sun-size stars. The discovery of Kepler-35b and another twin sun planet, Kepler-34 b, was announced in January 2012.