The discovery of the terrestrial exoplanets, the planets that orbit stars outside the solar system have been probably the most important developments in modern astronomy. A number of exoplanets lie within the “habitable zones” of stars, where planets are thought to has the ability to keep liquid water on their surface and have the potential to host life. However, an exoplanet that’s too near its host star is extremely sensitive to radiation bursts from the star, also referred to as flares.
In this new research, NYUAD Center for Space Science Research Scientist Dimitra Atri discovered that not all exoplanets in habitable zones would be capable of maintaining hospitable conditions for life. Exoplanets in very close proximity to stars are subject to radiation bursts, which might disrupt habitable conditions until the exoplanet has important atmospheric or magnetic shielding.
In the study, revealed within the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Atri explores how flares from stars have an effect on a planet’s surface radiation dose, and if that may disrupt the planet’s capability to host life.
The role of the magnetic field strength of a planet and its atmosphere in providing shielding from these bursts was additionally tested. The factors measured also include flare strength and spectrum, in addition to the planetary atmospheric density and magnetic field strength.
From this research, it was concluded that flares could abruptly improve the radiation level on the planetary surfaces and have the ability to disrupt potentially habitable conditions on planets. It was additionally discovered that the atmospheric depth (column density) and planetary magnetic field are the main factors in protecting planets from flares and maintaining a substantial planetary atmosphere.