STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

The exoplanet which may have atmospheric ingredients similar to Earth's

Twice as big as Earth, the exoplanet 55 Cancri e likely has an atmosphere thicker than Earth's but with ingredients that could be similar to those of Earth's atmosphere, says a new study.

Published: 17th November 2017 12:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th November 2017 12:42 PM   |  A+A-

This artist’s impression shows the exoplanet 55 Cancri e as close-up. (ESA/Hubble/M. Kornmesser)

By IANS

WASHINGTON: Twice as big as Earth, the exoplanet 55 Cancri e likely has an atmosphere thicker than Earth's but with ingredients that could be similar to those of Earth's atmosphere, says a new study.

The atmosphere of this mysterious planet could contain nitrogen, water and even oxygen -- molecules found in our atmosphere, too -- but with much higher temperatures throughout, the researchers said. 

The density of the planet is also similar to Earth, suggesting that it, too, is rocky. The intense heat from the host star would be far too great to support life, however, and could not maintain liquid water, according to the study published in The Astronomical Journal.

"Scientists have been debating whether this planet has an atmosphere like Earth and Venus, or just a rocky core and no atmosphere, like Mercury. The case for an atmosphere is now stronger than ever," said study co-author Renyu Hu, astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The findings are based on data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. 

The planet, which is believed to have lava flows on its surface and large amount of diamonds in its interior by some scientists, is so close to its star, the same side of the planet always faces the star, such that the planet has permanent day and night sides. 

Using an improved model of how energy would flow throughout the planet and radiate back into space, the researchers found that the night side of the planet is not as cool as previously thought. 

The "cold" side is still quite toasty by Earthly standards, with an average of 1,300 to 1,400 degrees Celsius, and the hot side averages 2,300 degrees Celsius. 

The difference between the hot and cold sides would need to be more extreme if there were no atmosphere, the study said. 

Spitzer observed 55 Cancri e between June 15 and July 15, 2013, using a camera specially designed for viewing infrared light, which is invisible to human eyes. 

Infrared light is an indicator of heat energy. By comparing changes in brightness Spitzer observed to the energy flow models, the researchers realised an atmosphere with volatile materials could best explain the temperatures.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp