Astronomers with the University of Washington’s (UW) Virtual Planetary Laboratory are planning to make the search for life i.e. life on exoplanets an easy process. They are aiming to create a way to compare and rank exoplanets. This new developed way will help them prioritize from where to start the research.
The new system or the metric is called “habitability index for transiting planets”. Researchers said that by using all the available observational data they have come out with a way and then they have developed the prioritization scheme. This will help the scientist to choose their target from hundreds of targets available.
There are many telescopes available and many more will come that will enable scientist to study the planet closely to hunt for life. But researchers say that access to such telescopes is expensive and work is methodically time consuming.
To help out in this whole time consuming scenario, the index is a savior. Researchers have factored in estimated of the planet’s rockiness, rocky planets being the more earth-like. They have also accounted for a phenomena called ‘eccentricity-albedo degeneracy’. All these factors are considered to come up with such an index.
It would not be wrong if it is said that the index world by astronomers putting in continuum of values in order to reach at the single-number habitability index.
According to researchers, the best candidates for habitability and life are those planets that get around 60 percent to 90 percent of solar radiation.
“Basically, we’ve devised a way to take all the observational data that are available and develop a prioritization scheme. So that as we move into a time when there are hundreds of [planets to consider] available, we might be able to say, ‘OK, that’s the one we want to start with.’ “