The work of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite is simply surreal. Imagine traveling back a thousand years and then explaining to someone that future scientists will have a machine that detects alien worlds floating at distances beyond the reach of human imagination.
This is TESS.
Since 2018, this spacecraft has found thousands of exoplanets. We have one eye it looks like a rugby balllooks different covered by oceans of lava and even a sphere that rain glass — side.
On Wednesday, international scientists revealed that such an alien realm, duly hunted by TESS, may be covered in the elixir of life: water.
I’m not sure about you, but I remember the scene in Interstellar where Cooper lands on a world with waves the size of skyscrapers.
According to the team’s study published this month, this possible “ocean world” Journal of Astronomy, resides approximately 100 light-years from Earth and orbits within a binary star system located in the constellation Draco. Called TOI-1452 b, it is believed to be about 70% larger than our planet, about five times as massive, orbit at a rhythm of seven Earth days, and have a temperature neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water. to exist on its surface.
But that’s the main thing its density appears consistent According to NASA, one with an incredibly deep ocean—either that, or a giant rock with little or no atmosphere, or potentially an atmosphere made of hydrogen and helium.
“TOI-1452 b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet we’ve found to date,” said lead author Charles Cadieux, a doctoral student at the University of Montreal and a member of the university’s Institute for Exoplanet Research. said in a press release on Wednesday. “Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than expected for a metal and rock planet like Earth.”
If this hypothesis is correct — TOI-1452 b corresponds to the ghosts of Poseidon — it would be similar to some places in our solar system. Saturn’s bright and icy moon Enceladus is thought to host a global subsurface ocean of salty water beneath the planet. icy shield. And GanymedeOne of Jupiter’s glowing companions and the largest moon in our cosmic neighborhood, it boasts a frozen expanse of water.
Sounds like a job for the Webb Space Telescope
While exoplanet discoveries have been on the rise for the past few years, there’s an added thrill when scientists discover one today.
That’s because we now have another incredible machine, the James Webb Space Telescope, a million miles from Earth, deciphering the secrets of the universe—cosmic information hidden under the guise of infrared light.
A press release from TOI-1452 b says: “And fortunately, it is located in a region of the sky where the telescope can observe year-round.”
“Our observations with the Webb Telescope will be important for a better understanding of TOI-1452 b,” said René Doyon, director of iREx at the University of Montreal, author of the latest study and a member of the team behind one of JWST’s key instruments. the release says. “As much as we can, we’ll spend time on Webb observing this weird and wonderful world.”
With JWST, Doyon and other researchers hope to study this exoplanet’s atmosphere in more detail and test whether it really is a liquid water wonderland. For the team, it is one of the few known temperate planets that exhibit characteristics consistent with an ocean planet. That’s why it’s so tempting to think about.
In addition, the reason TOI-1452 b has such a cold climate is that the star it orbits in a binary star system is much smaller than our sun and does not go astray. too away from the planet of interest. The gas ball is about two and a half times the distance from its stellar partner than the distance between the Sun and Pluto, the study authors say.
Interestingly, this whole situation was so complicated that TESS needed some backup to write the TOI-1452 b story. The researchers should have turned to several other high-tech instruments—which would have boggled the minds of our hypothetical ancient audience—such as the Observatoire du Mont-Megantic’s pesto camera. That device specializes in the red part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
“OMM played a crucial role in confirming the nature of this signal and estimating the planet’s radius,” Cadieux said. “This was no ordinary check. We had to make sure that the signal detected by TESS was indeed caused by an exoplanet orbiting TOI-1452, the largest of the two stars in that binary system.”
JWST, let this (water) world be your oyster.
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