Nearby Habitable Zone Exo-Planet Has A Thick Atmosphere

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Michael Watson

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Message 1844239 - Posted: 25 Jan 2017, 4:17:14 UTC
Last modified: 25 Jan 2017, 4:22:19 UTC

Gliese 1132 b is a roughly Earth-sized planet in orbit of an M dwarf star just 39 light years away. It is in the star's habitable zone, but because the star is a dim one, the planet circles so closely, it is tidally locked, with the same side always facing the star.

Astronomers have now reported finding evidence that the planet has a substantial atmosphere. This is interesting on three counts.

1.) Because it is the first time that an atmosphere has been detected around an Earth-like exo-planet.

2.) Because it has long been suspected that tidally locked planets would soon have any atmosphere eroded away by constant stellar radiation

3.) Because such a planet was found so nearby, and so readily, it appears that there are likely a great many of them.
Since M dwarf stars make up such a large proportion of stars in our galaxy, this seems to make life in the galaxy substantially more likely than it previously appeared.

Link to an article on this discovery:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/signs-of-alien-air-herald-a-new-era-of-exoplanet-discoveries/
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Message 1844946 - Posted: 28 Jan 2017, 10:12:56 UTC - in response to Message 1844239.  

It seems that there are a lot of planets in our suburb, I mean some light-years away and possibly some with water and life. Cant'we target our telescopes to these regions? What should be the strength of a signal coming from say 10 LY in order for us to catch it?
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Message 1844967 - Posted: 28 Jan 2017, 16:25:59 UTC

Many of the closer stars have been monitored by radio telescopes for signs of intelligent life. If this particular one hasn't been, it probably will be now, on the strength of this new discovery. The strength of any signal we might receive depends, of course, on how powerful a signal was sent. For a given amount of effective radiated power, a signal from 10 light years away would be about 4 times as powerful as one from 20 light years, 16 times as powerful as one from 40 light years, and so on (inverse square law).
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Message boards : SETI@home Science : Nearby Habitable Zone Exo-Planet Has A Thick Atmosphere


 
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