When we think of space, it may be questioned if there is life beyond our world and how life can be sustained or even exist? With the help of stellar flares, that is a question that a new study conducted at the University of Colorado is trying to answer. A stellar flare is a sudden interruption of magnetic energy on or near the sun’s surface, sometimes associated with sunspot and electromagnetic radiation bursts. The idea of using flares to take life is because scientists believe that flares can increase the life-sustaining gases such as nitrogen oxide, nitric acid, and nitrogen dioxide to readable levels when they were previously non-detectable. The flares matter because they can take several hours or several days to form. This gives scientists an idea of the range of their effects on the exoplanet’s environment. The impressive study will explore the planet with inhabitable loans of M class and K class stars. An M class star is a spectral class having stars with weak hydrogen absorption and red color. A K class star is a main-sequence hydrogen-burning star that lived for between 17 to 70 billion years.
Study findings asserted that both the weather in space itself and these exoplanets may help or hinder the chances of harbor life. The distance between the planet and the stars also affects the planet’s ability to sustain life. However, in some cases, on other planets, solar flares can diminish any chance of life by destroying the planet’s ozone layer, wiping out life-sustaining gases.
Using 3-D models and data from 2018 by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Survey, the team determined atmosphere properties such as gases, water vapor, oxygen levels, and more. Our planet Earth has a strong magnetic field that prevents dangerous solar winds and other hazards from entering our atmosphere and ultimately breaking down I ozone layer. For exoplanets farther away from stars, this is not the case, as there is no protective magnetic barrier to stop anything harmful from coming into the atmosphere and wiping out chances of life.
If you would like to read more, click here for an article from ScienceDaily or here for a report from Phys.org