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NASA Spitzer Telescope Locates First Planet Without Atmosphere Orbiting Red Dwarf
NASA had a breakthrough in figuring out the evolution of a planet specifically what makes or breaks it. The space organization has been observing a planet residing 48.6 light-years away and measuring over 1.3 times the size of Earth. The study conducted using one of NASA's telescope gives an insight on the life beyond Earth. Details are as follows:
Official Name Of The Planet:
The planet being observed by NASA is called LHS 3844b and it completes its orbit within 11 hours, less than the 24-hour schedule of the Earth. Besides, this is the first planet observed by NASA which is orbiting a red dwarf star and doesn't have an atmosphere.
By studying this planet NASA has been able to get an idea on how the stars make or break. What makes this planet different from the Earth is the absence of an atmosphere. While our planet sustains life and has some layer of protection, planets like LHS 3844b which orbit small stars doesn't have any such protection.
While this planet might not be able to sustain life, it has given an opportunity to the scientists to estimate the factors responsible for making or breaking a planetary atmosphere.
Laura Kriedberg, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the Harvard and Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said: "We've got lots of theories about how planetary atmospheres fare around M dwarfs, but we haven't been able to study them empirically".
This planet is outside our solar system and has been strategically important to figure out the atmosphere in such planets. Kriedberg added, "Now, with LHS 3844b, we have a terrestrial planet outside our solar system where for the first time we can determine observationally that an atmosphere is not present.
What Is This Planet Made Of?
The study suggests the planet is covered with volcanic residue similar to the mare (material found on lunar surfaces). And the absence of atmosphere puts it in the category of Moon and Mercury.
Making the LHS 3844b more like the Moon is the presence of a 'dark side'. The dark side is basically a side of the moon permanently facing away from the Earth.
Moreover, a 'tidal lock' similar to the Moon has been observed on the planet where the 'night side' never faces the star, while the 'dayside' temperature rises up to 770 degrees Celcius.
This further leads to the temperature on both sides being completely opposite to each other. The primary reason is the absence of atmosphere which bars the wind and air movement stopping the heat dispersion.
How Is This Study Beneficial?
Scientists have been looking out for the signs of habitable planets since long and had some major breakthroughs in recent times. This study gives an insight into the formation and dissolution of a planet which helps the astronomers to further understand the planets that can sustain life.