Astronomers speak of a stroke of luck: a “Super Earth” was discovered nearby

  • Astronomers discovered Exoplanet Gliese 486b At a distance of 26 light years
  • Planet combines features of Earth and Venus
  • It is said that the short distance is dense for the first time Observe a strange atmosphere Allow
  • Researchers talk about “A stroke of luck

Over the past two and a half decades, astronomers have tracked many exoplanets made of gas, ice, and rocks. With the advent of effective exoplanet hunting facilities, the number of newly discovered worlds outside of the solar system rapidly rose to the thousands. Researchers have occasionally talked about finding 24 Earth-like planets, whose living conditions are sometimes better than those on our own. Once again the student discovered 17 new planets. But only a few of the planets really resemble Earth. And what we really know about them often relies on indirect observations and interpretations. Wonderful representations of mountain planetary landscapes under two suns, NASA also shows itComes from the artist’s imagination rather than hard scientific facts.

A look at a strange atmosphere

Researchers are now re-reporting Trivon Trivonov from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy About the discovery of a supernatural planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 486, “only” 26 light-years away. The short distance should allow astronomers to make better observations in the future and tell us what they really look like on this planet. However, observations at a distance of 26 light-years remain difficult. When translated to Earth, it’s almost as if you wanted to observe an Antarctic Pin from the North Pole.

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What makes the planet known as Gliese 486b so special is that despite its short distance from the parent sun, it may have been part of the original planet Earth. the weather And kept. It is therefore particularly well suited to examine its gas envelope and interior with next-generation space and ground telescopes.

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By combining different observation techniques, astronomers have determined the masses, sizes, and even mass densities of the planets that allow them to estimate their internal composition. But these data only allow drawing indirect conclusions about the properties of the planets. The next goal of fully characterizing these Earth-like exoplanets by studying their atmospheres is a much bigger challenge.. Especially in rocky planets like Earth, such an atmosphere only consists of a thin layer, if it is present at all. For this reason, many current atmospheric models of rocky planets remain unchecked.

Gliese 486b: A mixture of Earth and Venus

Planetary atmospheres must meet certain requirements to be observed with next-generation observatories. Just 26 light-years away, scientists from the CARMENES Consortium (Calar Alto’s high-resolution search for M dwarfs with Exoearths with near-infrared and Echelle Spectrographs) have now found a planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 486 and meeting the requirements of the rocky planets fully fulfilled. The newly discovered planet is named after Gliese 486b is a land superhero With Mass, The 2.8 times larger It resembles a planet Earth. him too 30% larger than Earth.

“The proximity of this exoplanet is exciting because we can examine it more closely using powerful telescopes like the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope and future very large telescopes,” explains Trifon Trifunov. He is a planetary researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) and Lead author of the article making this discovery.

If one calculates the average density of the planet from the given masses and radii, it turns out that it has a similar composition to Venus and Earth, including the mineral core. Anyone who likes the Gliese 486b will gravity Feel that 70% stronger It is what we experience in our home world.

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Gliese 486b orbits its parent star on one Circular path Within 1.5 days And in one A distance of 2.5 million kilometers. It takes so long to turn around its axis that one side is always facing the star. Although Gliese 486 is much lighter and colder than the Sun, the radiation is so intense that at least the surface of the planet is 700 Kelvin (Around 430 ° C). In this sense, the surface of Gliese 486b is likely more like Venus than Earth, where hot and arid landscapes intersect with glowing streams of lava. Life as we know it from Earth is unlikely under these circumstances.

Discovering Gliese 486b was a stroke of luck

Unlike Venus, Gliese 486b may only have a thin atmosphere, if at all. The model’s calculations could agree with both scenarios, because the radiation from the stars could cause the atmosphere to evaporate. At the same time, the planet’s gravity helps preserve it. It is difficult to determine the balance between these two contributions.

Stan Shaw

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