According to Sean Raymond, an astrophysicist at the Observatory of Bordeaux in France, over 1 million habitable planets can orbit black holes. He thinks that the astronomers who look for exoplanets within the habitable zone of their host stars following the Earth’s model miss one crucial point, namely, that the situation might be entirely different in other solar systems.
As an example, there is the TRAPPIST-1 system where, recently, scientists identified three Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone of this system.
“I think we can learn from the extremes. They are basically the boundaries of the box in which we are searching. This system is one extreme – the most packed imaginable. It’s a fun blend of imagination and science,” said Sean Raymond for Space.com.
Habitable planets can orbit black holes, and there might be millions of them
As Raymond explained, there are only two known types of black holes. Namely, we have regular black holes with masses only a few times larger than our Sun’s mass and supermassive black holes which possess masses that could be even billions of times bigger than our Sun’s mass.
Scientists noticed that regular black holes are forming when a star dies and collapses, while the supermassive black holes reside in the middle of virtually every known massive galaxy, including our own, the Milky Way which has Sagittarius A.
Hypothetically, if the Sun would be replaced with a black hole with the exact same mass, Raymond says, nothing will change regarding planets’ orbits, but life on our planet would undoubtedly change under no-light and no-heat conditions.
On the other hand, if our Sun will magically get a black hole companion, the stronger gravitational pull would only affect the rotation speed of the planets. In this situation, Earth, for example, would fulfill a complete rotation in about 258 days instead of 365 days.
According to Raymond, there is no problem for habitable planets to orbit black holes as long as the life on those exoplanets managed to adapt to the lack of light and heat. It could be microbial life. However, this model is not applicable in the cases of supermassive black holes which possess many times stronger gravitational pull.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.