NASA’s Transit Exoplanet Survey Satellite’s work is simply surreal. Imagine traveling back a thousand years and explaining to someone how future scientists would have a machine that detects alien worlds floating at distances beyond human imagination.
It was TESS.
Since 2018, this spacecraft has found literally thousands of exoplanets. we have one eye shaped like a rugby ballanother appearing covered with lava oceans and even a globe that rain glass — sideways.
On Wednesday, international scientists announced that one such alien realm, dutifully hunted by TESS, may be covered in a blanket of an elixir of life: water.
I’m not sure about you, but I get flashbacks to that scene in Interstellar where Cooper descends into a world of skyscraper-sized waves.
According to the team’s study published this month, this possible “ocean world” Astronomy JournalIt lives about 100 light-years from Earth, orbiting within a binary star system placed in the constellation Draco. Our planet, designated TOI-1452 b, is suspected to be about 70% larger than our planet, roughly five times larger, rotates to the rhythm of seven Earth days, and has a temperature neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water. located on the surface.
But the crux of it is the density seems consistent According to NASA, it has an incredibly deep ocean—either that, or a large rock with little or no atmosphere, or potentially an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.
“TOI-1452 b is one of the best candidates for an oceanic planet we’ve found to date,” said Charles Cadieux, a PhD student at the University of Montreal and member of the university’s Exoplanets Research Institute, lead author of the study. said in a press release on Wednesday. “The radius and mass indicate a much lower density than would be expected for a planet like Earth that is mainly composed of metal and rock.”
If this hypothesis is correct – if TOI-1452 b is suitable to enter Poseidon’s dreams – it would be similar to some places in our own solar system. Enceladus, Saturn’s bright and cold moon, is thought to host a global subterranean saltwater ocean beneath an ocean. icy shield. Andes Mountains GanymedeOne of Jupiter’s glowing companions and the largest moon in our cosmic neighborhood has its own frozen watery expanse.
Looks like a job for the Webb Space Telescope
While exoplanet discoveries have been pouring in for the past few years, there’s an extra level of excitement when scientists find one today.
Because now we have the James Webb Space Telescope, another incredible machine sitting a million miles from Earth and unraveling the mysteries of the universe – cosmic data stored under the guise of infrared light.
“And luckily,” TOI-1452 b’s press release states, “it is located in a region of the sky that the telescope can observe year-round.”
“Our observations with the Webb Telescope will be crucial to better understand TOI-1452 b,” said René Doyon, director of the University of Montréal iREx, author of the recent study and team member behind one of the JWST’s main equipment. said in the statement. “As soon as possible, we will take time out at Webb to observe this strange and wonderful world.”
With JWST, Doyon and other researchers hope to study this exoplanet’s atmosphere in more detail and test whether it is indeed a wonderful world of liquid water. It is one of the few known temperate planets to exhibit characteristics consistent with an oceanic planet, according to the team. That’s why it’s so tempting to think about.
Also, the reason TOI-1452 b is expected to have such a cold climate is that the star it orbits in the binary star system is much smaller than our sun and is not rambling. more far from the planet of interest. The study authors say this ball of gas sits at a distance from its stellar partner equal to about two and a half times the distance between the sun and Pluto.
And fascinatingly, the whole situation was complicated enough that TESS needed some support to write the story of TOI-1452 b. Like that of the Observatoire du Mont-Megantic PESTO camera. This device specializes in the red part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
“OMM played a crucial role in confirming the nature of this signal and estimating the radius of the planet,” Cadieux said. Said. “This was not a routine check. We had to make sure that the signal detected by TESS did indeed originate from an exoplanet surrounding TOI-1452, the largest of the two stars in this binary system.”
JWST, let this (water) world be your oyster.
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