Washington – In a new study, scientists from the University of Washington (UW) have devised a new habitability index to classify planets, which will let experts give exoplanets their correct form for telescopic analysis. The list was named “Habitability Index for Transiting Planets.”

Researchers expect that ranking index systematize the study of hundreds of “earth-like” planets. The study will be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The image compares the smallest known exoplanets, or planets orbiting outside the solar system, to our own planets Mars and Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Basically, we’ve devised a way to take all the observational data that are available and develop a prioritisation scheme, so that as we move into a time when there are hundreds of targets available, we might be able to say “okay, that’s the one we want to start with,’” said Rory Barnes, astronomy professor at the University of Washington Virtual Planetary Laboratory, as Left Out reported.

Moreover, the Kepler telescope is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover the so-called “Earth-like” planets orbiting the stars. The spacecraft was launched on March 2009, and has discovered over 1,000 exoplanets, with an additional 3,200 further candidates. This is why a ranking index is immediately needed.

How does it work?

From now, astronomers will be able to study and learn about the past beyond the standard parameters and consider a deeper analysis of other habitability factors, in order to get a better comprehension of them.

“The new index projects the extent of ‘rockiness’ that a planet has and takes into consideration its ‘eccentricity-albedo degeneracy,’ which balances the amount of energy that a planet emulates from its surface versus the circularity of its orbit. The latter affects the energy level that the planet receives from the star it rotates,” Tech Times reported.

The astronomy professors stated that both eccentricity and albedo oppose one another, but having the right balance between them, can actually create a life-supporting energy stability that can make a planet fit for habitation. It is said that the most habitable planets are those that receive about 60 to 90 percent of the solar radiation that Earth gets from the sun, according to Tech Times.

This new habitability index will let scientists have a quick basis for further studies. Barnes stated that he and his colleagues have conceived a method to validate all the available observational information and form a prioritization design.

“The power of the habitability index will grow as we learn more about exoplanets from both observations and theory,” Barnes concluded, as Tech Times reported.

Source: Tech Times