Planetary Shields Will Buckle Under Furious Stellar Winds From Their Dying Stars – Nearly Impossible for Life To Survive
Any life identified on planets orbiting white dwarf stars almost certainly evolved after the star’s death, says a new study led by the University of Warwick that reveals the consequences of the intense and furious stellar winds that will batter a planet as its star is dying. The research is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and lead author Dr. Dimitri Veras presented it today (July 21, 2021) at the online National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2021).
The research provides new insight for astronomers searching for signs of life around these dead stars by examining the impact that their winds will have on orbiting planets during the star’s transition to the white dwarf stage. The study concludes that it is nearly impossible for life to survive cataclysmic stellar evolution unless the planet has an intensely strong magnetic field — or magnetosphere — that can shield it from the worst effects.
In the case of Earth, solar wind particles can erode the protective layers of the atmosphere that shield humans from harmful ultraviolet radiation. The terrestrial magnetosphere acts like …
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