Podcaster: Richard Drumm
Title: UNAWE Space Scoop – Beach-Friendly Earth-Like Exoplanets
Organization: 365 Days Of Astronomy
Link : http://365daysofastronomy.org/ ; https://spacescoop.org/en/scoops/2125/this-one-winged-cosmic-butterfly-holds-a-baby-star/
Description: Space scoop, news for children.
Recently a team led by Tadahiro Kimura from the University of Tokyo and Masahiro Ikoma from the NAOJ develop computer model of water resulting from interactions between the hot, molten surface of a young planet and its early atmosphere, the team found that the water content in planets can range much wider than expected.
Bio: Richard Drumm is President of the Charlottesville Astronomical Society and President of 3D – Drumm Digital Design, a video production company with clients such as Kodak, Xerox and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. He was an observer with the UVa Parallax Program at McCormick Observatory in 1981 & 1982. He has found that his greatest passion in life is public outreach astronomy and he pursues it at every opportunity.
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This is the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast. Today we bring you a new episode in our Space Scoop series. This show is produced in collaboration with Universe Awareness, a program that strives to inspire every child with our wonderful cosmos.
Today’s story is…
Beach-Friendly Earth-Like Exoplanets
A new study suggests that exoplanets that are like our Earth, with oceans and beaches, might be more common than we thought – especially around red dwarfs.
But what does having ‘beaches’ on other planets mean and what does that tell us about the possibility for life on those planets?
To have liquid water on its surface, a planet needs to orbit the host star from a certain range of distances where the temperature is just right.
This range projects into a ring that is known as the habitable zone, where liquid water can exist on the planet and life can possibly happen.
When a planet is within this habitable zone, the interaction between its seas and land can allow natural processes to happen that help maintain a climate that can support life, just like on our Earth.
The thing is that not all planets in the habitable zone have life or even water on them.
Until now, astronomers thought it would be extremely rare to find such beach-friendly planets in the habitable zone of other stars.
Recently a team led by Tadahiro Kimura from the University of Tokyo and Masahiro Ikoma from the NAOJ, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, developed a new computer simulation and got some positive results.
By making a computer model of water resulting from interactions between the hot, molten surface of a young planet and its early atmosphere, the team found that the water content in planets can range much wider than expected.
The study then goes on to show that within this range, there could be more of these Earth-sized planets, maybe as much as 3% of those that are found, in the habitable zones of red dwarfs with enough water to support a temperate climate.
And how many are likely to be found? Well, quite a few, apparently!
Observations with the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS, spectroscopic instrument at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, indicate that 40% of red dwarfs have a super-Earth planet in the habitable zone.
Although, we do know that red dwarfs are often flare stars, rough places for life.
At least life as we know it.
The stars belch out radiation that could strip the atmosphere right off the planet.
This’d be, uh, no day at the beach!
But if the planet had a magnetic field and an atmosphere with enough carbon dioxide it just might be possible for life to arise.
But overall, this study is a very good sign for future exoplanet survey missions such as TESS and PLATO, that are expecting to find other Earth-like exoplanets before the end of the decade.
Hey, here’s a cool fact:
It’s been 30 years since the discovery of the first exoplanets.
More than 5,000 planets are now confirmed to exist beyond our solar system, and over 1,500 of them are super-Earths.
We haven’t found Earth 2.0 yet, but we’re looking!
Thank you for listening to the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast!
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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