NASA: Ανακαλύφθηκε ο μικρότερος εξωπλανήτης σε απόσταση 35 ετών φωτός

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Το διαστημικό τηλεσκόπιο TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) της Αμερικανικής Διαστημικής Υπηρεσίας (NASS) ανακάλυψε τον μικρότερο έως τώρα εξωπλανήτη του, έναν κόσμο που έχει μέγεθος μεταξύ της Γης και του ‘Αρη.

Πρόκειται για τον πλανήτη L 98-59b, σε απόσταση 35 ετών φωτός από τον δικό μας πλανήτη, ο οποίος έχει μέγεθος περίπου το 80% της Γης. Το μητρικό άστρο του L 58-59 είναι ένα ψυχρός νάνος τύπου Μ, με το ένα τρίτο της μάζας του Ήλιου, που βρίσκεται στην κατεύθυνση του νοτίου αστερισμού του Ιπτάμενου Ιχθύ, ο οποίος είναι αόρατος από την Ελλάδα.

Άλλοι δύο πλανήτες κινούνται πέριξ του ίδιου άστρου, οι L 98-59 c και d, οι οποίοι είναι κατά 1,4 και 1,6 φορές μεγαλύτεροι από τη Γη αντίστοιχα. Περαιτέρω παρατηρήσεις θα δώσουν περισσότερες ενδείξεις για το αν διαθέτουν ατμόσφαιρες και ποιό αέριο κυριαρχεί σε αυτές. Κανείς από τους τρεις πλάνητες πάντως δεν βρίσκεται εντός της φιλόξενης ζώνης από το άστρο του, που ευνοεί την ανάπτυξη ζωής. Το πολύ-πολύ, να έχουν αναπτύξει ένα ανεξέλεγκτο «φαινόμενο θερμοκηπίου» και να έχουν αποκτήσει μια πνιγηρή και καυτή ατμόσφαιρα σαν της Αφροδίτης.

Ο L 98-59b διαγράφει μια πλήρη τροχιά γύρω από το άστρο του σε 2,25 μέρες (η διάρκεια του έτους του) και «ψήνεται», λόγω της κοντινής απόστασης του, καθώς δέχεται 22 περισσότερη αστρική ενέργεια από ό,τι η Γη από τον Ήλιο. Ο μεσαίος πλανήτης L 98-59c κάνει μια πλήρη περιφορά σε 3,7 μέρες και δέχεται 11 φορές περισσότερη ακτινοβολία από όση ηλιακή ακτινοβολία φθάνει στη Γη, ενώ ο εξώτερος εξωπλανήτης L 98-59d χρειάζεται 7,5 μέρες για μια περιφορά και η ακτινοβολία που δέχεται, είναι τετραπλάσια της ηλιακής.

Οι ερευνητές, με επικεφαλής τον αστροφυσικό Βέσελιν Κοστόφ του Κέντρου Διαστημικών Πτήσεων Goddard της NASA, έκαναν τη σχετική δημοσίευση στο περιοδικό αστρονομίας “The Astronomical Journal”.

Αν και ο εν λόγω εξωπλανήτης είναι ο μικρότερος έως τώρα που έχει βρει το TESS, έχουν μέχρι σήμερα ανακαλυφθεί ακόμη μικρότεροι εξωπλανήτες, όπως ο Kepler-37b, που έχει ανακαλύψει το διαστημικό τηλεσκόπιο Κέπλερ, ο οποίος είναι μόλις 20% μεγαλύτερος από τη Σελήνη.

Οι νάνοι Μ, όπως το άστρο L 98-59, αποτελούν περίπου τα τρία τέταρτα των άστρων του γαλαξία μας. Συνήθως έχουν έως τη μισή μάζα του Ήλιου μας και είναι πολύ πιο ψυχροί από αυτόν, με θερμοκρασίες το πολύ το 70% της ηλιακής. ‘Αλλα τέτοια παραδείγματα άστρων είναι ο Trappist-1 που διαθέτει ένα σύστημα επτά πλανητών παρόμοιων με τη Γη, καθώς και ο Εγγύτατος του Κενταύρου, το κοντινότερο σε μας άστρο, γύρω από το οποίο υπάρχει ένας επιβεβαιωμένος εξωπλανήτης.

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48 απαντήσεις στο “NASA: Ανακαλύφθηκε ο μικρότερος εξωπλανήτης σε απόσταση 35 ετών φωτός”

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