Scientists opredelelili that nearest extrasolar planet has an atmosphere rich in water

Sep

7

2013

Super-Earth

One question that bedevils almost every astronomer on the planet is there life in the universe, in addition to our earth, of course. Interestingly, the vast majority of these astronomers agree in opinion that it is still there, but the main problem is how to find it. It is not surprising that science is making great efforts to address this issue. And especially the increased interest manifested itself after scientists began to discover new exoplanets .

Unfortunately, the current research methods are best suited for the search of larger planets that bear little resemblance to our Earth. Therefore, the most suitable candidates for the search lifetime are so-called ” Super-Earths “planet structurally resembling our but which is several times larger than the Earth. Hence the prefix “super.” More often, however, it turns out that these Super-Earths are more like Uranus or Neptune – the planet covered with a thick atmosphere of gas and quite dissimilar to the Earth.

However, the new study of one of the most immediate and interesting super-Earths, Gliese GJ 1214b , revealed a very intriguing results. Looking at the blue planet through a special filter, astronomers have determined that the planet’s atmosphere has a rich concentration of water.

Atmosphere

The estimated composition of the atmosphere Gliese GJ 1214b. The upper layer rich in hydrogen, with an average – a less pronounced concentration of hydrogen in the lower layer may massive formation of clouds

Previous studies have pointed to the fact that the planet is mostly made up of water, despite the fact that it has a thicker than ours atmosphere. For their research, astronomers used the telescope “Subaru” with established blue filter, through which scientists study the level of light scattering. The number, and the most important length of light waves that are scattered through the atmosphere of an exoplanet, can tell us about what it is made.

The planet’s rich water resources, usually glow blue, because other low-charged particles of light can not get through its atmosphere. However, the researchers found no evidence that in the case of a specific GJ 1214b color dissipates more than others. This is what led them to believe that her planet has a very thick atmosphere.

Adding the results of previous studies, scientists are now even more confident that Gliese GJ 1214b has water in large quantities. However, the mere presence of her we can not guarantee that the planet is bound to have a life, but it definitely is the first positive sign in favor of such a possibility.
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Tags: Gliese GJ 1214b , Super-Earths , Exoplanets .

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