Atmosphere found around Earth-sized planet!

on . Posted in Articles of Interest

ATACAMA DESERT, Chile (PNN) - April 6, 2017 - Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-sized planet for the first time.

They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.

Their observations suggest that the "super-Earth" is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.

The study is published in the Astronomical Journal.

Discovering an atmosphere, and characterizing it, is an important step forward in the hunt for life beyond the Solar system.

But it is highly unlikely that this world is habitable: it has a surface temperature of 370C.

Dr. John Southworth, the lead researcher from Keele University, said, "To my knowledge the hottest temperature that life has been able to survive on Earth is 120C and that's far cooler than this planet."

The discovery of planet GJ 1132b was first announced in 2015. It lies in the Vela constellation in the southern hemisphere.

While it is a similar size to Earth, the star it orbits is much smaller, cooler and dimmer than our sun.

Using a telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, the researchers were able to study the planet by watching how it blocked some of the light of its host star as it passed in front of it.

"It makes the star look a little bit fainter - and it's actually a very good way of finding transiting planets - it's how this one was found," said Dr. Southworth.

But different molecules in a planet's atmosphere - if it has one - absorb light in different ways, allowing scientists to look for their chemical signatures when the world transits its star.

The observations of planet GJ 1132b suggest that it has a thick atmosphere containing either steam and/or methane.

"One possibility is that it is a water world with an atmosphere of hot steam," said Dr. Southworth.

The researchers say while it is unlikely that any life forms could survive on this world, the discovery of an atmosphere is encouraging in the hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Southworth said, "What we have shown is that planets around low mass stars can have atmospheres and because there are so many of those in the universe, it makes it that much more likely that one might have life."

Commenting on the research Marek Kukula, the public astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said, "This is a nice proof of concept. "If the technology can detect an atmosphere today, then it bodes well for being able to detect and study the atmospheres of even more Earth-like planets in the not-too-distant future."

Eulogies

Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005

My Father
1918-2010

brents dad

Dr. Stan Dale
1929-2007

stan dale

A. Solzhenitsyn
1918-2008

solzhenitsyn

Patrick McGoohan
1928-2009

mcgoohan

Joseph A. Stack
1956-2010

Bill Walsh
1931-2007

Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Eustace Mullins
1923-2010

Paul Harvey
1918-2009

Don Harkins
1963-2009

Joan Veon
1949-2010

David Nolan
1943-2010

Derry Brownfield
1932-2011

Leroy Schweitzer
1938-2011

Vaclav Havel
1936-2011

Andrew Breitbart
1969-2012

Dick Clark
1929-2012

Bob Chapman
1935-2012

Ray Bradbury
1920-2012

Tommy Cryer
1949-2012

Andy Griffith
1926-2012

Phyllis Diller
1917-2012

Larry Dever
1926-2012

Brian J. Chapman
1975-2012

Annette Funnicello
1942-2012

Margaret Thatcher
1925-2012

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Jack McLamb
1944-2014

James Traficant
1941-2014

jim traficant

Dr. Stan Monteith
1929-2014

stan montieth

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy

Stan Solomon
1944-2015

Stan Solomon

B. B. King
1926-2015

BB King

Irwin Schiff
1928-2015

Irwin Schiff

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

David Bowie

Muhammad Ali
1942-2016

Muhammed Ali

GENE WILDER
1933-2016

gene wilder

phyllis schlafly
1924-2016

phylis schafly

John Glenn
1921-2016

John Glenn

Charles Weisman
1954-2016

Charles Weisman

Carrie Fisher
1956-2016

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds
1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds

Roger Moore
1917-2017

Roger Moore

Adam West
1928-2017

Adam West

JERRY LEWIS
1926-2017

jerry lewis

HUGH HEFNER
1926-2017

Hugh Hefner