Astronomers are setting their sights on a planet located in relatively close proximity to our solar system, and could even have the right conditions to support life, at least as we know it. Experts from the San Francisco State University observed alien worlds in the Wolf 1061 system just 14 light years away.
The Alien world is dubbed Wolf 1061c, and according to astronomers, it sits right within its star system’s habitable zone. Luckily, the planet is located relatively close, which will allow scientists to conduct further studies.
However, as noted by experts, the planet is located on the inner edge of the habitable zone, which could mean that it is subjected to extremely hot temperatures, which may become trapped in the atmosphere, creating a toxic greenhouse effect.
Scientists note that the system is home to at least three known worlds.
In order to better understand the star system and the conditions of the planet dubbed Wolf 1061c, experts measured the star around which it orbits.
‘The Wolf 1061 system is important because it is so close and that gives other opportunities to do follow-up studies to see if it does indeed have life,’ said San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane.
Experts note that even within the habitable zone, the world must be located in the right spot –aka Goldilocks zone— in order to be suitable for life as we know it.
If the world is located too far away from its host star, it may be too cold, and consequently, have freezing weather and frozen water.
The latter situation is what happened on Mars according to Stephen Kane. If the world is located too close, it would simply be too hot.
Also, it is precisely what can trigger a ‘runaway greenhouse effect’ as heat is trapped in the atmosphere, precisely what many experts believe may have occurred on Venus, one of our neighboring planet which is thought to have once sustained oceans that eventually evaporated and trapped heat within water vapor.
‘It’s close enough to the star where it’s looking suspiciously like a runaway greenhouse,’ Kane said.
Furthermore, experts also warn that its orbit changes at a much faster rate, which could be another sign of a chaotic climate.
‘It could cause the frequency of the planet freezing over or heating up to be quite severe,’ Kane said.
However, this still does not rule out the possibility that the planet may host life.
Kane believes that one scenario would be that the short time scales of the orbit changes cool the planet off.