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Scientists Introduce New Method To Measure Pull Of Gravity On Distant Stars

Update Date: Jan 04, 2016 11:24 AM EST
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Determining the pull of gravity at the surface of any distant star in space is an important factor to help scientists understand whether any of the planets around them have the potential for life or not.

Researchers from The University of British Columbia have discovered a new way of measuring the gravitational pull, which will easily make them understand the possibility for thriving life in alien lands.

As current techniques cannot measure the surface gravity of a star, the new method can determine it with an accuracy of approximately four percent for stars that are too remote.

The surface gravity of a star takes the value of your weight if you were standing on it or if those stars had the solid surfaces that permitted it. Your weight changes depending on the mass and radius of the star.

The new autocorrelation function timescale technique enables astronomers to gauge the masses and sizes of stars in distant galaxies more accurately, as well as understand their fundamental properties.

"If you don't know the star, you don't know the planet," Jaymie Matthews, co-author of the study, said in a press release. "The size of an exoplanet is measured relative to the size of its parent star. If you find a planet around a star that you think is sun-like but is actually a giant, you may have fooled yourself into thinking you've found a habitable Earth-sized world. Our technique can tell you how big and bright is the star, and if a planet around it is the right size and temperature to have water oceans, and maybe life."

The new technique will help future space missions to gather accurate data regarding exoplanet stars.

"The timescale technique is a simple but powerful tool that can be applied to the data from these searches to help understand the nature of stars like our sun and to help find other planets like our Earth," said Thomas Kallinger, lead author of the study.

The findings were published in the Jan.1,2016 issue of Science Advances.

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