6% of the Red dwarfs might have an “Earth”
540 years after his birth, Copernicus would be proud of our astronomy advancements. The search for Earth-like planets is in full swing. Recent data from NASA’s Kepler space observatory shows some interesting data, regarding such planets. According to scientists “another Earth is probably in our own backyard”.
Roughly 17% of the stars in the Milky way harbour an Earth-sized planet, but for most of them orbits are similar to that of Mercury’s. Our galaxy has about 17 billion “Earths” out of 100 billion stars. Analysing further data, NASA’s astronomers found out that 6% of the red dwarf types of stars have worlds similar to ours, that might be habitable.
This means that the closest Earth twin might be about 13 light years away. Although those red dwarfs are smaller and much dimmer, compared to our Sun, they are good candidates for planets like ours. And they are very common. At least 75% of the stars are red dwarfs. The transit method used for those planets detection gives even better results, when used with this types of stars. Their habitable zone is much closer than the Sun’s, so this solves the orbit problem.
The Harvard astronomer and lead author Courtney Dressing keeps observing and analysing the data. She has identified about 95 Earth-like candidates. Locating those nearby Candidates would require a space telescope or a large ground-based network array. But knowing where exactly to look could be a huge advantage now. The fact that red dwarfs live much longer, means we might find a similar to our world, that is the same age or even older. Thereby, such planets might support life, which is older and have evolved longer.