Exoplanet Glyce 486B: the ideal candidate for the analysis of distant environments

Exoplanet Glyce 486B: the ideal candidate for the analysis of distant environments

A group of researchers have discovered an exoplanet that could provide the ideal condition for future large and space telescopes to be able to probe its atmosphere – if it has one. It is reported by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, where study director Trifan Trifonov works.

Gliese 486 B26 orbits a star light years away and, according to his calculations, may resemble Venus with a hot and dry landscape. The discovery was therefore a stroke of luck, as the exoplanet seems to fall exactly in a comparatively small window in which an environment is possible.

According to observations and calculations, Glisee 486B is about 30 percent larger than our Earth and is 2.8 times its mass. It orbits a red dwarf star and is bound by gravity – so it always faces the same side. Its orbit is so friendly that a possible environment can be viewed in two different ways: Write to scientists. For example, during a transit in front of a star, starlight can be analyzed, a fraction of which has come to us through a possible atmosphere. Furthermore, the reflection of the illuminated surface can also be investigated, which can be seen from our point of view before the exoplanet disappears behind the star. This spectrum then contains information on the hot side of the distant world.

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(Quail: © Render Area / MPG)

“We can hardly wait until the new telescope is available,” Trifonov now explains. He believes that such observations may be possible with both the Hubble successor JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) and the European Southern Observatory’s huge super-large telescope. If that works, then hard calculations for possible environments of Glyce 486B, but also atmosphere models in general can be investigated. For example, in the case of this exoplanet, they suggest that it evaporated any atmosphere only when it was 100 degrees higher. 100 degrees will make it unsuitable for follow-up comments. The analysis was published in the journal Science.


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