Astronomers have found evidence that life can exist on five multi-star planetary systems – Kepler-34, -35, -38, -64, and -413.
A newly developed mathematical framework has allowed researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi and the University of Washington to show that these systems are permanently in the “habitable zone.” This is a region around stars in which liquid water could exist on the surface of any Earth-type planets that have not yet been discovered. The likelihood of the emergence of life is greatest just in such a habitable zone in the vicinity of a star (circumstellar habitable zone, CHZ), which is at the same time in the habitable zone of a galaxy (galactic habitable zone, GHZ), although research on the latter is still in its infancy.
All the planets recently explored by scientists are located between 2764 and 5933 light-years from Earth in the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus.
Of these systems, Kepler 64 is known to have at least four stars orbiting each other in the center, while others have two. They also all have at least one giant planet the size of Neptune or larger. New research shows that the presence of giant planets in binary systems does not preclude the existence of potentially life-supporting worlds. Scientists note that Kepler-34, -35, -64, -413 and especially Kepler-38 are suitable for worlds with oceans similar to Earth.
12 exoplanets discovered by Kepler revolve around a pair of nearby stars. Binary systems are common and are estimated to account for half to three-quarters of all star systems. So far, only giant exoplanets have been found in binary systems, but it is likely that smaller, terrestrial planets and moons have simply escaped detection. It is believed that gravitational interactions within multi-star systems will make conditions more hostile to the origin and survival of life. Especially if they contain other large bodies such as giant planets. However, new research has shown that permanent habitable zones are maintained in Kepler-34, -35, -38, -64, and -413 systems. The width of these zones is 0.4-1.5 astronomical units (AU). Recall that the distance between the Earth and the Sun is 1 AU. e.
In their work, scientists drew on previous research to predict the existence, location, and extent of the permanent habitable zone in binary systems with giant planets.