Astronomers have discovered something unusual near a nearby Earth-sized exoplanet. Observations of the atmosphere of GJ1132B suggest that this is probably not its actual atmosphere. Researchers believe that it lost the layer of gas around its rocky core long ago, and what we now see is the second atmosphere produced by the volcanic activity of its surface.
This the first time a “secondary environment” has found on another planet outside our solar system. Reporting in The Astronomical Journal, the team studied the planet’s atmosphere using the Hubble Space Telescope and modeled the amount of atmosphere the planet is losing in space, drawing quite a bizarre picture.
First discovered in 2015, astronomers thought that studying JJ1132B would help us learn more about rocky planets like Earth and Mars. It is 20 percent larger than Earth and has a similar density and age to our planet. However, there are some big differences. It probably started as a sub-Neptune planet, sinking into a large and dense atmosphere of hydrogen and helium. Earth is much closer to its star than Mercury to the Sun, forming a full orbit around 1.6 Earth days, which means it is also burning hot. This proximity is not good for the atmosphere. Due to the intense radiation from the stars, the team believes that most of its hydrogen and helium atmosphere flew into space, leaving its rocky core exposed.
From the volcanic activity of that origin, a new atmosphere thought to have emerged. Said study co-author Raissa Estrela of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement, “It’s very exciting because we believe that the atmosphere we’re seeing now was recreated, so it could be a second environment.” “At first we thought that these ultra-radiation planets could be quite annoying because we believe they lost their atmosphere. However, we looked at existing observations of this planet with Hubble and said, ‘No, there’s an atmosphere.”
Studies have shown that the new atmosphere made up of molecular hydrogen, hydrogen cyanide, and methane. This harmful composition accompanied by what the aerosol haze looks like, which researchers believe is similar to our terrestrial smoky surface. It is also interesting to note that some of the original hydrogens in the atmosphere was probably absorbed into the molten rock and regularly re-released into the air, creating the same pressure as the air on our planet. The team thinks that given the warm interior of the GJ 1132B, the planet’s cool crust must be very thin, probably several hundred feet thick.It is not strong enough to support the volcanic region. Instead, its surface may crack, releasing hydrogen and other gases. “Some [planets] may start as sub- Neptunes, and they may become terrestrial through a system that evaporates the primitive environment. Dr. “Then it cools down and the planet sits right there. Therefore, you got this process where you can cook the atmosphere for the first 100 million years and then things freeze. In addition, if you can recreate the atmosphere, you can probably keep it. GJ 1132 B is located about 41 light-years from Earth. It is the first low-mass rocky exoplanet that has discovered an atmosphere and continues to play an important role in understanding our planets.