Small, cold, sulfurous exoplanet could help understand planet formation | Urania

The sulfur dioxide in the exoplanet’s atmosphere makes it a prime target for scientists trying to understand how planets form.

A sudden yellow haze of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere of a gaseous “dwarf” about 96 Light year from U.S Solar System It makes the planet a prime target for scientists trying to understand how worlds form.

Astronomers discover a planet outside the solar system GG 3470 B In 2012, when his shadow moved across the face of its host star. GJ 3470 is located in B Cancer constellation It is about half the size of Neptune, and its mass is 10 times that of Earth. Meanwhile, scientists have been collecting data about the planet using space telescopes. Habla I Spitzeraculminating in the last two observations using James Webb Space Telescope.

Planets outside our solar system are called egzoplanetami – Objects like GJ 3470 b are interesting to researchers who wonder how planets form. This allows you to measure their light spectrum, a reading that features the characteristic peaks and valleys of molecules of interest in their atmosphere.

The thing is, everyone looks at these planets and often sees flat lines. – said University of Wisconsin-Madison astronomy professor Thomas Beatty. But when we looked at this planet, we didn’t see a really flat line.

They saw evidence of water, carbon dioxide, methane and sulfur dioxide. The test results were published. Published Astrophysical Journal Letters.

GJ 3470 b is the lightest and coldest (average temperature 325 sC) An exoplanet that contains sulfur dioxide. The compound is likely a sign of active chemical reactions in the planet’s atmosphere, which arise when radiation from a nearby star breaks down components of hydrogen sulfide, which then search for new molecular partners.

We didn’t think we’d see lattice dioxide on such small planets, and it’s exciting to see this new molecule in a place we didn’t expect because it gives us a new opportunity to learn about how these planets form. Betty said. Small planets are particularly interesting because their composition really depends on how the planet formed.

Astronomers like Petty hope they can figure out the recipe for planet formation by looking at what’s inside exoplanets.

The discovery of sulfur dioxide on a small planet like GJ 3470 b gives us another important entry in the list of planet-forming ingredients. Betty said.

GJ 3470 b’s orbit around the star is nearly over its poles, meaning it’s at a 90-degree angle to the expected path of the planets in the system. It’s also surprisingly close to the star — close enough that light from the star blows large amounts of GJ 3470 b’s atmosphere into space. The planet has likely lost about 40 percent of its mass since its formation.

A close, shifting orbit is a sign that GJ 3470 b was located in another system, and at some point the planet became tangled in the gravity of another and was pulled into a new path that eventually placed it in a different region.

The migration history that led to the formation of this polar orbit and the loss of all its mass – these are things we don’t normally know about other exoplanets we look at. Betty said. “These are important steps in the recipe that created this particular planet, and may help us understand how such planets form.

With further analysis of the components that remain in the planet’s atmosphere and the help of colleagues such as those at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Origins Research Center and specialists in Protoplanetary disks And the migration dynamics of GJ 3470 b may help Beatty and others understand how planets like these have become so tasty — at least from astronomers’ eyes.

Agnieszka Novak

more information:

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

In the illustration: An artist’s impression of the gaseous exoplanet GJ 3470 b, which has sulfur in its atmosphere. Source: Department of Astronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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