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HomeNewsSuper-Earth that is extremely hot may have lost its atmosphere

Super-Earth that is extremely hot may have lost its atmosphere

Astronomers have discovered a rocky world the size of Earth, or “super-Earths,” hot enough to melt gold and, therefore, possibly without an atmosphere.

By comparing these super-Earths with our own, scientists can determine which of these extraterrestrial planets might have life.

“We are just beginning to know that rocky planets can hold back,” said Laura Kreidberg, exoplanet scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany and co-author of the new paper describing the discovery. their atmospheres regularly and under what circumstances, said in a statement. “This measurement is an indication that for the hottest planets, thick atmospheres are often unlikely to exist.”

The exoplanet, known as GJ 1252 b, lies 65 light-years away. It is much closer to its star than Earth is to the sun, and on one side – its “sun” – is constantly facing its star, increasing the temperature on the outer planet. When astronomers used the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope to measure infrared radiation from GJ 1252 b as the planet passed behind its star – an arrangement known as “heliosphere”. secondary eclipse” – they found that the planet’s daytime temperatures reached 2,242 degrees Fahrenheit (1,228 degrees Celsius).

Additionally, the team found that GJ 1252 b has a surface pressure of no more than 10 bar, suggesting that its atmosphere – if it exists – must be significantly thinner than that of Venus.

Not only will these temperatures be so high that gold, silver, and copper will melt on the planet’s surface, but these extreme temperatures will prevent GJ 1252 b from clinging to the thick atmosphere. The team thinks this scorching temperature is in line with what one would expect for a planet with a bare, rocky surface.

Astronomers have calculated that on GJ 1252 b, a homogeneous atmosphere thick enough to cause a surface pressure 10 times greater than this would be removed from the planet in a million years – much shorter than the planet’s estimated lifetime of 3.9 billion years. As such, GJ 1252 b has an extremely limited or possibly no atmosphere at all, the team concludes in their paper, published September 23 in the Astrophysical Journal.

Ian Crossfield, a University of Kansas astronomer who led the study, said it is the smallest planet to date for which scientists have identified strict atmospheric constraints.

Further investigation of GJ 1252 b using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) could place tighter constraints on the planet’s atmosphere – or lack thereof – over the next few years. “At the time, Spitzer was the only facility in the known universe that could make measurements of this kind,” Crossfield said in the statement. “Now Spitzer is off, but JWST is still there, and at these wavelengths it’s a lot more sensitive than Spitzer.”

The job Crossfield and his team completed with Spitzer will therefore be much simpler with JWST. The surface characteristics of these hot, rocky planets may be revealed by JWST infrared measurements, according to Kreidberg. We might be able to determine what kind of rock GJ 1252b is made of since various forms of rock have distinctive spectral signatures.

Further research on GJ 1252 b may therefore reveal the planet’s makeup, and this study may be extended to several other terrestrial planets like GJ 1252 b, the researchers added. This would help astronomers better comprehend small, hot exoplanets. The job Crossfield and his team completed with Spitzer will therefore be much simpler with JWST.

The surface characteristics of these hot, rocky planets may be revealed by JWST infrared measurements, according to Kreidberg. We might be able to determine what kind of rock GJ 1252b is made of since various forms of rock have distinctive spectral signatures. Further research on GJ 1252 b may therefore reveal the planet’s makeup, and this study may be extended to several other terrestrial planets like GJ 1252 b, the researchers added. This would help astronomers better comprehend small, hot exoplanets.

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  • Super-Earth that is extremely hot may have lost its atmosphere
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