Sunday, 23 February, 2020

NASA discovers Earth-sized planet in Goldilocks zone

A high school intern has helped TESS with another first the discovery of a planet orbiting two suns. The planet is known as TOI 1338 Astronomers develop new method to detect oxygen on exoplanets
Sandy Nunez | 07 January, 2020, 20:40

Researchers including Alton Spencer, a high school student working with members of the TESS team, identified the error.

And in-depth observations of light that has streamed through TOI 700 d's atmosphere on its way to Earth could tell us a great deal about conditions on the alien world's surface, which remain a total mystery at the moment.

The details of the new method were published in the journal Nature Astronomy and presented at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu.

Named TOI 1338 b, it is the only planet in the TOI 1338 system, which lies 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Pictor, and orbits its stars every 95 days. This is "TOI 700 d", a planet in regards to the dimension of our earth and situated within the "habitable" zone of the universe.

All three planets may be tidally locked to TOI 700, always showing it the same face just as Earth's moon only ever shows us its near side. That means that a year on TOI 700 d is only 37 Earth days.

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovered another Earth-sized planet orbiting a star. "Spitzer saw TOI 700 d transit exactly when we expected it to".

Bacteria living in harsh conditions like this geothermal basin in Yellowstone National Park provide clues about habitable zones on other planets.

"TOI 700 d" is a part of a cluster of 4 planets that revolves across the chilly pink dwarf (a star that hardly radiates mild) TOI 700 and is simply over 100 light-years away from our planet. Two other planets also orbit the same Sun. Only later, did astronomers discover that TOI 700 only has 40% of the Sun's mass and size - and is only half as hot.

France warns U.S. against digital tax retaliation
But the United States has responded coldly to the OECD initiative, believing that the plans could discriminate against USA firms. A decision by the U.S. trade office on the tariffs is due to be announced within weeks as the consultations come to an end.

The next step is finding out whether or not the planet has an atmosphere and what it's made of.

By examining patterns in that light, astronomers can determine the composition of the planet's atmosphere.

If liquid water is on the planet's surface, it will heat up and evaporate, creating the presence of water vapor, broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, in the atmosphere. Additional partners include Northrop Grumman, based in Falls Church, Virginia; NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts; MIT's Lincoln Laboratory; and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, according to a statement. Scientists say Webb has the potential to detect this signal in the atmospheres of exoplanets.

Middle planet TOI 700 c is 2.6 times larger than Earth - between the sizes of Earth and Neptune - orbits the sun every 16 days and is thought to be a gas-dominated world.

Recent research, funded in part by Goddard's Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration (SEEC), and NASA Planetary Science Division's Internal Scientist Funding Model, has identified a strong signal that oxygen molecules produce when they collide. And there's more good news along these lines regarding TOI 700.

"It's exciting because no matter what we find out about the planet, it's going to look completely different from what we have here on Earth".

A third team of researchers, led by Gabrielle Engelmann-Suissa, a Universities Space Research Association visiting research assistant at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, did some modeling work to get at the various possibilities. Infrared light is invisible to the human eye, but detectable using instruments attached to telescopes."Similar oxygen signals exist at 1.06 and 1.27 micrometers and have been discussed in previous studies but these are less strong and much more mitigated by the presence of clouds than the 6.4-micrometer signal", co-researcher said Geronimo Villanueva.Intriguingly, oxygen can also make an exoplanet appear to host life when it does not, because it can accumulate in a planet's atmosphere without any life activity at all.

The mission would be extended until 2022, according to NASA. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.