Cambridge astronomers propose new category on habitable exoplanets

Researchers from a University on Cambridge, UK, suggest that the search for zero-living planets should learn to limit worlds similar to our electronic ones believe that some category in the specific of these candidate objects is very important for the first detection of biosignals: operating system hycenic planets.

Strange name, in? It took me a while to understand where it came from. Hold on to what european union I get d. Much bad has been said about operating systems on ocean planets, which would be a little bigger than Earth electronic and completely covered by thick layers of water, capable of making our seas look like swimming pools.

And the next category, with then little prestige, it would be composed of even larger planets, which, as they are rich in water beyond, would have extensive atmospheres in which hydrogen predominates, similar to those on gas giant planets.

In both operating system In these cases, we are talking about worlds intermediate in size between the Earth (larger u 2 rocky solar worlds) and electronic Neptune (a smaller 2 gaseous world, about four times larger in diameter than terrestrial u). There is no such zilch in the Sun System, but operating system astronomers there have found hundreds of planets with diameters in this intermediate range, electronic therefore generally referred to as super-earths (up to 18% larger than Earth’s diameter) or mini-neptunes (ze greater than 60%).

Until recently, despite being more numerous than like superearths, operating system mini-neptunes were considered bad candidates for housing life. It was speculated that the electronic pressure and temperature under its hydrogen-rich atmosphere were too high to allow life to exist.

The game started turning zero last year when the team about Nikku Madhusudhan, at Cambridge, showed in a published zero Astrophysical Log Words study that a Okay2-18 n minineptune, discovered by a NASA satellite Kepler, despite being 2.6 times larger than the Earth Yes, it could, in theory, have a habitable ocean under its hydrogenated atmosphere. Hydrogen+oceanic, hycenenic. Ur.

Now, in a new article, this zero Astrophysical Newspaper, Madhusudhan electronic and his colleagues Anjali Piette electronic Savvas Constantinou, present the category 2 hycenic planets in a broader way. In the thesis, worlds up to 2.6 times the Earth’s diameter can maintain habitable conditions, electronically the so-called habitability area (region around the star in which the amount of radiation is compatible with the existence of water bodies in a stable way on a planet) it would be much wider for these perform worlds than for terrestrial analogues.

It is more exciting than many 2 potential hycenic planets could have their atmosphere studied in detail very soon by the Space Telescope James Webb, which the NASA hopes to release an end of the year. Perform observations T2-18 t, by the way, are already scheduled among the first to be made by the new satellite.

This column published t Mondays, at Folha Corrida.

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