Tuesday , March 2 2021

Organic lights could reveal hidden life in space



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Biofluorescent Corals. Copyright: Image provided under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Biofluorescent Corals. Copyright: Image provided under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Ithaca (USA) – Planetary scientists have discovered a new way to search for life in space: Strong ultraviolet radiation due to starbursts has so far been considered harmful to the potential life on the surfaces of planets orbiting red dwarf stars. However, a recent study shows that the same so-called flares can also help identify hidden biospheres there.

Like Lisa Kaltenegger and Jack O & # 39; Malley-James of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, currently in the journal "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society" (DOI: 10.1093 / mnras / stz1842) This is a whole new approach to finding life in the universe.

"On Earth we know some corals that use biofluorescence to transform the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays into harmless visible wavelengths, creating a beautiful glow," explains Kaltenegger, adding, "There may be similar life forms on other planets, so we would have a chance to discover these references to life. "

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As a result of the strong sun rays typical of many red dwarfs flooding their planets with ultraviolet radiation, this radiation could be absorbed by similar living beings, converted into so-called "photo-protective biofluorescence" and also released into space. Even with the next generation of terrestrial and space telescopes, such glowing or glowing exoplanets could be detected – if found.

The ultraviolet radiation of light from a red dwarf star causes biofluorescent organisms and thus an entire planet to glow (Illu.). Copyright: Kaltenegger U. & # 39; Malley-James / CarlSaganInstitute.org

The ultraviolet radiation of light from a red dwarf star causes biofluorescent organisms and thus an entire planet to glow (Illu.).
Copyright: Kaltenegger U. & # 39; Malley-James / CarlSaganInstitute.org

Based on the known emission characteristics of terrestrial biofluorescent corals, Kaltenegger and O & # 39; Malley-James created model spectra and colors on the assumed planets orbiting red dwarf stars (i.e., M-class stars) within their more habitable zones. The corresponding signals indicating life.

Already, the closest Earth-like rock plane called "Proxima b" to our own solar system orbiting the 4-star remote star Proxima Centauri within its more habitable zone (… reported GreWi) could be an ideal target for seeking the biofluorescent signatures organisms – and would even be directly available for medium-term research probes.

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