World’s Strangest

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Life Under a Binary Star

Many science fiction scenarios have planets with two or even more stars. How would life evolve differently under such a system?

In a new study, researchers have assessed the potential for photosynthetic life in multi-star systems with different combinations of sunlike stars and red dwarfs to figure out what plants might be like. The team has speculated that on an Earth-like planet with two or three suns, the vegetation may appear black or grey.

“If a planet were found in a system with two or more stars, there would potentially be multiple sources of energy available to drive photosynthesis,” said PhD student Jack O’Malley-James from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

“The temperature of a star determines its colour and, hence, the colour of light used for photosynthesis. Depending on the colours of their star-light, plants would evolve very differently.”

If a life form evolved to use two different colors of light for energy, the vegetation would appear black to our eyes. They might even develop the ability to use infrared or ultraviolet light that we can’t see at all to power photosynthesis. Link -via reddit

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April 19th, 2011

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