Searching for Earth-like planets: Searching for ultra-light and super-fast exoplanets

Searching for Earth-like planets: Searching for ultra-light and super-fast exoplanets

At the end of an average mundane work day, another year has already ended somewhere – every evening on New Year’s Eve! On the exoplanet GJ 367 b, which lies 31 light-years from Earth, just eight hours a year, the comparatively small and much lighter planet orbits its parent star, a red dwarf called GJ 367, a good side of Earth. day in the third part. The star is located in the constellation Vela (Pal) in the Southern Hemisphere, so it is not visible from the Northern Hemisphere.

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Mercury is the fastest of the planets in our solar system, taking only 88 days to orbit the Sun, but it is also a snail when compared to GJ 367b. The celestial body is the lightest known of the approximately 5000 extrasolar planets in our galaxy: it is ultra-light and super-fast, which sets it apart from other exoplanets already known.

At only half the mass of Earth, it is the lightest of the most distant planets – and with a diameter of about 9,000 kilometers, it is somewhat larger than Mars.

A team of 78 researchers was involved

An international team of 78 researchers discovered the planet in 2019 with the help of the Tess Space Telescope. Researchers have now succeeded in measuring the small, high-speed machine with a previously unattainable level of accuracy through further observations at the European Southern Observatory ESO in Chile – and in characterizing its interior.

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The research group was led by Christine WF Lamm and Szilard Sizmadia. Planetary Research Institute The German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin-Adlershof K. your results were Published Thursday in the journal “Science”,

A particular achievement of the research group lies in the high accuracy with which they were able to measure the radius and mass of the high speed machine. This provides important information about its nature, which in turn could advance astronomers’ search for a second Earth.

definitely a rocky planet

“By accurate determination of radius and mass, GJ 367 b can be definitively classified as a rocky planet,” explains Christine Lamm. In terms of size and composition, it is reminiscent of Mercury, making it one of the terrestrial planets, that is, a celestial body similar to Earth.

As per the knowledge of researchers, the density of low mass rocky planet is higher than that of Earth. “Higher density indicates an iron core,” explains Szilard Sizmadia. Even in this capacity, it would resemble Mercury, which differs from other terrestrial bodies in our solar system by having disproportionately large cores made of iron and nickel.

GJ 367b belongs to the group of “Ultra Short Period Planets” (USP), which orbit their Sun in less than 24 hours. “We already know some of them, but their origins are still unknown,” Lam says. “By precisely determining the fundamental properties, we have an insight into how the system was created and evolved.”

Through careful scrutiny and a combination of various evaluation methods, astronomers were able to determine the radius and mass very precisely, which for exoplanets is certainly not the case: the radius is 72 percent of Earth’s radius, the mass 55 percent of the mass of the Earth.

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The planet orbits closely around its parent star

The small fast runner runs very close to its parent star. As a result, it is exposed to much more radiation than Earth. Researchers believe that the radiation is 500 times stronger.

As a result, the surface temperature of the planet in front of the star can be between 1,300 and 1,500 °C. All rocks and metals melt at such temperatures. “GJ 367b is definitely not ‘another Earth'”, conclude astronomers: inside.

was created as part of the work DFG-Schwerpunkt program “Discovery of the diversity of extra-solar planets”“, which is coordinated by Heike Rauer from Berlin through TU Berlin and supports 51 research projects in Germany. There have already been several publications. The study on GJ 367b is published recently.

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