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NASA discovers a strange planet with an atmosphere similar to Earth

NASA discovers a strange planet with an atmosphere similar to Earth

(Credit: ESO/M. GRAIN FAIRS)

A recently discovered “alien” planet has stirred up Scientists In his search for extraterrestrial life.

researchers from Jet Propulsion Laboratoryfrom NASA and the University of New Mexico An exoplanet TOI-1231 b discovered orbiting A star M dwarf, also known as a red dwarf.

Scientists were able to characterize this star and measure both the radius and mass of TOI-1231 b. This gave them the data they needed to calculate density and assume what the atmosphere is made of.

The planet, a temperate Neptune-sized body with a 24-day orbit, is eight times closer to its star than Earth is to the Sun, but its temperature is similar to that of our home planet because the red dwarf itself is. less powerful.

Its atmosphere is about 330 K, or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making TOI-1231b one of the coldest small exoplanets accessible for atmospheric studies discovered so far. High clouds may be present in the upper atmosphere and possibly evidence of water.

“Future observations of this new planet will allow us to determine how common (or rare) water clouds form around these temperate worlds,” said Jennifer Burt, JPL scientist at JPL. NASA Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and astronomy From UNM, Diana Dragomir. He added that more studies would be necessary to understand precisely how they are formed.

The low density of TOI 1231b indicates that it is surrounded by a large atmosphere rather than a rocky planet. But the composition and extent of this atmosphere is unknown! Said Dragomir.

“TOI1231b could have a large hydrogen or hydrogen and helium atmosphere, or a denser water vapor atmosphere. Each of these point to a different origin, allowing astronomers to understand whether planets form differently around M dwarfs and how they compare to planets around our sun. .”

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Scientists can do this by checking if the gas is being expelled and looking for evidence of hydrogen and helium atoms, which is generally impossible because their existence is obscured by interstellar gas. However, since the star-planet system is rapidly moving away from Earth, scientists hope that it can be achieved.

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“One of the most interesting findings in the last two decades of Science One of the exoplanets is that, so far, none of the new planetary systems we’ve discovered look anything like our own solar system.”

“It’s full of planets between the size of Earth and Neptune in much shorter orbits than Mercury, so we don’t have any local examples to compare it to. This new planet we’ve discovered is still weird, but it’s a step up.” Closer to being something like our neighboring planets. Compared with most transient planets discovered so far, which often have extreme temperatures of several hundreds or thousands of degrees, TOI-1231 b is positively icy.”

The researchers’ research was entitled ” TOI-1231 b: a temperate Neptune-sized planet passing through the nearby M3 dwarf NLTT 24399 “In a future issue of Astronomical Journal.

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