The Hubble Telescope detects an exoplanet in its second atmosphere

Hubble Space Telescope observations revealed that the exoplanet GJ 1132 b, orbiting a distant star, lost its atmosphere before regaining thanks to volcanic activity.

Artistic representation of the exoplanet GJ 1132 b – Credit: NASA, ESA, and R. Hurt (IPAC / Caltech)

In 2017, the Hubble Space Telescope, which recently discovered a cluster of black holes, made observations of an exoplanet it called JG 1132B. It orbits a red dwarf star around it 41 light years from Earth. While our orbit spans 365 days, exoplanet GJ 1132 b orbits every 1.5 days on Earth. Hence, it absorbs a large amount of stellar radiation.

Exoplanet GJ 1132 b has acquired a second atmosphere thanks to its volcanic activity

The peculiarity of the exoplanet GJ 1132 b is that it will be so He lost his first airs before he got a second. Study co-author Raisa Estrela, an exoplanet scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: It’s very exciting because we think the atmosphere we see now has been revamped as a secondary atmosphere ».

In fact, most exoplanets have lost their atmospheres. For example, the exoplanet LHS 3884b, the first discovery of tectonic activity without an atmosphere. Earth’s magnetic field It allows us to preserve our atmosphere while Mars didn’t have the same luck 4 billion years ago. The red planet had a thick atmosphere before it lost its magnetic field.

In the case of exoplanet GJ 1132 b, scientists think so Its volcanic activity Because of his proximity to his star it allowed him to have a second atmosphere. After losing the first atmosphere rich in hydrogen and helium, GJ 1132 b has become a “naked world”. Today, an exoplanet’s atmosphere will consist of a A mixture of hydrogen, hydrogen cyanide, and methane And aerosol-rich fog.

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Scientists are now waiting for power Observing the surface of an exoplanet in infrared light Thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch on October 31, 2021. Mark Swain, lead author of the study and exoplanet scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explained: If there were pools of magma or volcanoes in progress, these areas would be much hotter Consequently, the monitoring operations in infrared light will make it possible to confirm this Geological activity.

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