An international team at the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area Survey (CALIFA), in Spain, has been studying for eight years the behavior of the orbits of the stars of more than 300 galaxies in the near universe, in order to clarify whether these stars could promote the existence of exoplanets like Earth.
The astronomer leading the investigation told in an interview that the team has inspected the structure of the stars in the greatest details, in order to estimate, according to their orbits, “the probability that there are planets like ours, not in our galaxy but in the entire universe.”
They had to discern between an ideal orbit and a chaotic orbit
The ideal is almost a perfect circle, which means that the star is at all times at the same distance from the center of the galaxy and the planets inhabiting these solar systems will not be disturbed in their evolution.
In a chaotic orbit, the stars will pass close to each other and to the center of the galaxy, so that the planets can be torn out of their orbits, torn apart by tidal effects or through hot ionized gas zones and, in definitively, the conditions for life would not exist in such solar systems.
After eight years of study, the researcher from the Institute of Astronomy of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) admitted that they are still far from quantifying numerically what are the real chances of finding exoplanets like Earth.
We don’t have a special place in the Univers, astronomers say
The team of Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area Survey (CALIFA) made the observations using a technique that combines two other distinct techniques, namely, taking and analyzing images and analyzing the spectra of the far-distant stars. This hybrid technique is known as spectroscopic imaging.
This study allows affirming that the Sun turns out to be a normal star, “quite mediocre”, given its characteristics of mass, among others.
The same goes for the whole Milky Way, which turns out to be an average galaxy, without any relevant property compared to other galaxies whose evolution was reconstructed in the study.
Among other things, they found elliptical galaxies or galaxies populated by massive black holes where all the processes of star formation and everything else related have already been completed.
Understanding the properties of galaxies makes us understand that ours is one more and there is nothing practically that stands out in it, according to the specialists from the Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area Survey (CALIFA), who are still searching for exoplanets like Earth.