For starters, a magnetic field, which originates from a planet’s core, protects a potential atmosphere by deflecting the charged particles that make up stellar wind. Magnetic fields, conceived from the cooling of a planet’s inside, could likewise shield life at first glance from destructive radiation, as the Earth’s magnetic field secures us.
One of the reasons life flourishes on Earth is because of our magnetic field. These fields appear when a planet’s core starts cooling.
There are so many favorable conditions that are set up by smaller stars. It has been generally believed that tidally locked planets lack magnetic fields, but the new research suggests tidal locking could actually help drive a magnetic field.
Stars of a low mass are common in the universe, and planets orbiting those stars are easier to detect and study than planets of large stars, since planets in transit of smaller stars block out a larger percentage of the star’s light and are more visible to Earth observers. And a planet so close to its star is subject to the star’s powerful gravitational pull, which could cause it to become tidally locked, with the same side forever facing its host star, as the moon is with the Earth.
Driscoll and his team that planets that orbit small stars in eccentric or elliptical orbits have more circular orbits during times of extreme tidal heating. ‘The question I wanted to ask is, around these small stars, where people are going to look for planets, are these planets going to be roasted by gravitational tides?’ Tidal heating is responsible for driving the most volcanically active body in our solar system, Jupiter’s moon Io. This new research says that assumption could be wrong. The tidal heating does not harm planets.
The recent study showed that simulations of planets orbiting their suns at different sizes and distances could offer insight into the dynamics that govern magnetic fields.
Combining models of orbital interactions and heating by Rory Barnes, assistant professor of astronomy, with those of thermal evolution of planetary interiors done by Driscoll, researchers created simulations for varying star masses – stars the size of our Sun – down to about one-tenth of that size.
This is on the grounds that the more tidal warming a planetary mantle encounters, the better it is at disseminating its warmth, along these lines cooling the center which aides make the magnetic field. By merging their models, they were able, Barnes said, “to produce a more realistic picture of what is happening inside these planets”. Researchers found that tidal heating can actually save a planet in the sense that it allows the cooling of core.
“In the future, exoplanetary magnetic fields could be observable, so we expect there to be a growing interest in this field going forward”, Driscoll added.