Closest Super Exoplanet: Scientific Implications of Discovery

Closest Super Exoplanet: Scientific Implications of Discovery

Question: NASA astronomers have discovered the nearest rocky planet outside the solar system which is larger than earth. Discuss the scientific implications of this discovery.

- Astronomers have used the NASA telescope to confirm the discovery of the closest rocky planet outside the solar system which is bigger than earth and contains considerable scientific data

- This exoplanet called HD 219134b is around 21 light years away and orbits too near a star to be able to sustain life

- This is the closest exoplanet to earth to be crossing or transiting before the star and suited for extensive research

- Transiting exoplanets can be extensively characterised according to scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California

- Rocky planets with bigger than Earth proportions are dubbed Super Earths

- Many known planets are hundreds of light years away and this one is the closest

- HD219134b has a mass which is 4.5 times that of earth and a speedy 3 day orbit

- With the knowledge that this rocky exoplanet transits its star, scientists will now be able to observe it from ground and space both

- The aim is to get chemical information from the dimming starlight as the planet passes across it

- Chemicals in the planet can imprint patterns in the observed starlight if the former has an atmosphere

- This exoplanet which was initially discovered using HARPS North Instrument on the 3.6 m Galileo National Telescope in Canary Islands

- The rocky exoplanet lies 21 light years away from earth

- This exoplanet completes one orbit in 3 days

- Therefore, its surface is to hot to harbour life

- HARPS-North detects planets through the radial velocity method looking for small wobbles in a star’s movement through gravitational pull of orbiting planets

- Radial velocity measurements allow scientists to assess the mass of the planet

- Measuring the extent to which the host star has dimmed during transit enabled astronomers to compute the size of the planet

Facts and Stats

- With its mass and size known, HD 219134b has a density of 6 grams per cubic cm

- The new found planet is also the most nearly transiting alien world known.
Post your comment