Scientists have made a new discovery about where aliens could be hiding.
The idea of finding out we are not the only life form in the galaxy is something to which astronomers are dedicating their life work towards.
Whether it be looking into reported UFO sightings in the sky or unrecognisable movements in the solar system, there is genuine interest in finding out who or what else is in the universe.
Now, scientists have made a fresh new discovery about where aliens could be hiding.
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Research published in The Astrophysical Journal has discovered areas on planets outside of our solar system – called Exoplanets – where astronomers believe aliens could be hiding.
These are known as ‘Terminator Zones’ – which are environments that are not too hot or too cold for extraterrestrial life to reside.
These areas are also ideal as the planets are tidally locked, a term for a planet where one side is always facing the star they orbit and the other side is in permanent darkness.
Dr Ana Lobo, who lead the research, says in a statement: “These planets have a permanent day side and a permanent night side.
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“This is a planet where the dayside can be scorching hot, well beyond habitability, and the night side is going to be freezing, potentially covered in ice.”
The astrophysicist who works at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) believes that there could possibly be huge glaciers on the night side of these planets.
She also explains why it would be perfect for aliens to hide, adding: “You want a planet that’s in the sweet spot of just the right temperature for having liquid water.”
While these types of planets may seem unique, they are actually common around the dim small M dwarf stars – which make up roughly 70% of the stars.
The research that was conducted was to see whether tidally locked planets had sustainable living conditions.
The researchers simulated the climate of a number of exoplanets and analysed the temperatures, wind patterns and radiation exposure.
This highlighted a ‘just right’ zone around the terminator of these planets which could hold liquid water – meaning that life could survive in these zones.
However, this was only the case when there was a lot of land on the planet which could support water and other liquid.
Although, if there was too much water, it would evaporate and cover the surface in a thick cloud of vapour.
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This would then affect the temperature of the terminator zone and make it no longer habitable.
Co-author of the research Dr Aomawa Shields mentions in the statement: “If there’s a lot of land on the planet, the scenario we call ‘terminator habitability’ can exist a lot more easily.
“These new and exotic habitability states our team is uncovering are no longer the stuff of science fiction.”
Dr Lobo concludes the statement by stating that this research ‘increases our chances of finding and properly identifying a habitable planet in the near future’.
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