In the system of alpha Centauri may be two or more earth-like exoplanets, which, in all probability, located in the habitable zone of their stars. With such a forecast, based on the results of a computer simulation made by the American experts from the University of Pennsylvania.
Alpha Centauri is located at a distance of 4.36 light-years from Earth, the system including a double star (α Centauri A and α Centauri B), and red dwarf Proxima Centauri. These three luminaries are the closest stars to Earth after the Sun and represent one of the bright dots in the night sky. Although this system is often featured in works of science fiction writers, it is still unknown whether there are in her planet, which at least theoretically could dwell our brothers in mind. In the new study, experts say that the probability of the existence of such planets is very high.
To such conclusions researchers came after used the method of computer simulation in the framework of the problem of N bodies, allowing to imagine the location in space of certain celestial bodies because of their gravitational interaction. As shown by the model in the most likely scenarios around α Centauri A or α Centauri B were formed two or more earth-like planets, and in orbit of Proxima Centauri — one. Thus with high probability to placed these planets in the habitable zone of their stars.
The habitable zone — the distance around the star where water can remain in liquid state, not freezing and not evaporating. According to most experts, this is the key condition for the emergence of life on some planet. Because the Earth remains the only currently known planet, this assumption remains largely just a guess, but experts believe that earth-like planets located in the habitable zone own stars, life can emerge with the highest probability.