People have been wondering if we are alone in the Universe for centuries, and now a new discovery may bring some light into that age-old question. Several years ago, scientists couldn’t be absolutely sure about the existence of planets outside our own Solar System, but nowadays we are discovering literally thousands of them, and the number keeps on growing.
But the biggest challenge is to find some life forms in these exoplanets. And although scientists have not been very successful in this area, it’s worth spending your life to seek for proof of aliens.
200 companion stars to planetary host stars
The astrophysicist Dr. Markus Mugrauer from Friedrich Schiller University Jena has discovered many new multiple star systems that contain exoplanets, and that are up to 1,600 light-years away from Earth.
Mugrauer explains to us:
Multiple star systems are very common in our Milky Way,
If such systems include planets, they are of particular interest to Astrophysics, because the planetary systems in them can differ from our solar system in fundamental ways.
Mugrauer has been searching over 1,300 exoplanet host stars with exoplanets orbiting around them. He later accessed the observation data of the Gaia space telescope, which belongs to the European Space Agency (ESA). Mugrauer found out that there are both systems with distances of only 20 astronomical units (au), but also systems with stars that are at more than 9,000 au from each other. For those who don’t know, one au is equal to the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is around 150 million kilometers.
The discovery of the star systems can be a huge step for mankind in the process of multiplying the chances of encountering alien life. Now we have plenty of new places to look at, all we need is the right tools.
The findings have been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.