NASA has discovered a strange planet with an Earth-like atmosphere

(Credit: ESO / M. GRAIN FAIRS)

The recently discovered “strange” planet has caused excitement Scientists In his search for extraterrestrial life.

Researchers Jet Propulsion LaboratoryFrom NASA And this University of New Mexico Exoplanet discovered in orbit TOI-1231 b Star M dwarf, also known as red dwarf.

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

A moderate body the size of a subneptune with a 24-day orbit, Earth is eight times closer to its star than the Sun, but its temperature is similar to that of our home planet because the red dwarf is less powerful.

Its atmosphere is about 330 Kelvin or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making TOI-1231b one of the coolest small exoplanets accessible to atmospheric probes ever discovered. High clouds can be high in the atmosphere and can be a source of water.

“Future observations of this new planet will allow us to determine how common (or rare) the formation of water clouds around these temperate worlds is,” said JBL scientist Jennifer Burt. NASA And Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy UNM, Diana Dragomir. Further studies will be needed to understand exactly how this is done.

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

“TOI1231b may contain a large hydrogen or hydrogen-helium atmosphere or a dense vapor atmosphere. Each of these points has a different appearance, allowing astronomers to understand how the planets around M dwarfs form differently and how they compare to the surrounding planets.”

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Scientists can do this by exploring whether gas is being emitted and looking for sources of hydrogen and helium atoms, which is usually impossible because their presence is obscured by galaxy gas. However, as this planet-star system moves faster from Earth, scientists believe it can be achieved.

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“One of the most interesting results of the last two decades Science One of the exoplanets is that none of the new planetary systems we have discovered so far look like our own solar system, ”said Burt.

“They are filled with planets between Earth and Neptune in very low orbit around Mercury, so we have no local examples to compare them to. This new planet we discovered is still strange, but it’s one step.” Like our neighboring planets. Compared to most of the transiting planets discovered so far, they often have temperatures of several hundred or thousands of degrees, with TOI-1231 b positively icy. “

Scientists’ research, ” TOI-1231 b: A moderate Neptune-sized planet orbiting the nearby M3 dwarf NLTT 24399 “Will be published in a future issue Astronomy Magazine.

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