First out of our solar system, the exoplanet called GJ 1132 b found its second position in volcanic activity after losing its original shape. An Earth-sized exoplanet placed 41 years of light away from our Earth orbits a small star and is believed to contain hydrogen and helium gases in its atmosphere before exposing it to the powerful rays of the surrounding hot star. Evidence of fresh air was obtained using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Hubble telescope.
Astronomers are amazed by this new discovery as the new atmosphere contains a toxic mixture of hydrogen, methane and hydrogen cyanide. In addition, it also contains an Earth-like aerosol haze that is the result of chemically produced hydrocarbons. They also believe that the planet may have a small crust only a few feet thick. Also, the atmosphere is filled with gases that form cracks in the surface of the planet with melted mud beneath it drowning in volcanic cracks.
“It’s very exciting because we believe that the air we see now is renewed, so it could be a second wind,” said one of NASA’s authors’ Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said Raissa Estrela. “At first we thought that the brightest planets would be boring because we believed that they were losing their nature. But we looked at the existing planet and Hubble and said, ‘Well, there is a wind there.’ ”
GJ 1332 b is similar to the earth in size, size and age. Both planets even had a hydrogen-dependent atmosphere initially before cooling. The details also show that atmospheric pressure is the same. The big difference, however, is that the exoplanet is more orbiting the red star.
The planet is well-constructed (one orbits as the Moon orbits the Earth) in its Solar and completes one orbit (egg) in just one and a half days at temperatures up to 256 degrees Celsius. Also, the planet is experiencing some of the earth’s gravitational pull leading to the cracking of its surface, making it look like a broken egg shell. These conditions make the planet habitable, at least for now.
“The question is, what keeps the garment warm enough to remain liquid and volcanic energy?” Leading author from JPL, asks Mark Swain. “This program is special because it has the potential for extreme heat.”
Even with the help of the Hubble telescope, astronomers could not photograph the unique exoplanet because it was too dim. However, scientists believe they can see it better using the future NASA telescope of the James Webb Space Telescope with an infrared view that allows it to see the surface of the planet.
“If there are pools of magma or volcanism going on, those areas will be very hot,” explains Swain. “That will produce a lot of dirt, so they’ll be looking at real geologic performance – exciting!”