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Giant Eyeball Floating in Space: The Perfect Place for Life Beyond the Solar System

Giant Eyeball Floating in Space: The Perfect Place for Life Beyond the Solar System

This eyeball nature means that the surface of the object's global ocean is covered in ice, with a single iris-like region about 4,000 kilometers in diameter facing the host star at all times. “Of the currently known temperate exoplanets LHS-1140b may be our best chance to one day indirectly prove that worlds outside our solar system have liquid water on their surfaces.“This will be an important milestone in the search for potentially habitable exoplanets,” said Charles Cadieux, an astrophysicist at the University of Montreal. On the university news page.

It has an atmosphere full of nitrogen.

LHS-1140b has a radius about 1.73 times the size of Earth and a mass 5.6 times that of Earth. Although it is larger than our planet, it is still small enough to be considered a terrestrial world. In addition, it orbits much closer to its star than Earth: it completes a full orbit in just 25 days. ScienceAlert reported.

If this star were like the Sun, this orbit would be very close to life. Because this star is cool and dim red dwarfSo the exoplanet is right in what's called the habitable zone. It's not so cold that all the surface water would freeze, but it's not so close to the star that the water would evaporate.

The outer planet's rotation period coincides with its orbital period, so the same side always faces the star. This is the same phenomenon we see with the Earth and the Moon, which is why we never see the far side of the Moon from the Earth.

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Just because a planet is in the habitable zone doesn’t automatically mean that the conditions necessary for life to exist are there. To learn more about the chemical properties of LHS-1140b, we need to look at its atmosphere, if it has one. Cadieux and his colleagues have done just that using the James Webb Space Telescope.

This system is only 50 light-years away, close enough to us to collect detailed information about how the light changes as the exoplanet passes between Earth and the star. Some of the starlight penetrates the atmosphere, where certain wavelengths are absorbed or amplified by atoms in it. You can pinpoint exactly which atoms are involved by looking at the wavelengths that affect them.

With the help of this, the researchers were able to prove the existence of nitrogen, the dominant element in Earth's atmosphere, in advance. If only LHS-1140b were more gaseous than small. Neptuneit would have a more hydrogen-rich atmosphere. The presence of nitrogen suggests an atmosphere that did not form after the exoplanet was born, but along with it.

It could only be a circumbinary exoplanet.


In a study published last year, the research team determined that LHS-1140b has a density of 5.9 grams per cubic centimeter. That’s not dense enough for a purely rocky world; in terms of size, a mini-Neptune or ocean-covered water world would be a better fit. If we take mini-Neptune away, we’re left with a global ocean exoplanet.

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Given the planet's constant orientation relative to its star, we can conclude that the side that is constantly facing away from the star would be cold enough to freeze. Only the side directly opposite the star would be hot enough to melt. This effect makes this world look like a scary eyeball floating in space.

However, the temperature in this spot can reach 20 degrees Celsius on the surface, which is warm enough for a thriving marine ecosystem. We don’t know for sure what’s going on with this planet yet, but it seems to be the most promising candidate we’ve found yet for an alien ecosystem in our planet’s neighborhood. That way We will definitely be staring into this eye a lot..

The study has already been accepted by The Astrophysical Journal Letters, but the text is still available. Available on arXiv preprint page.

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