New Clues to TRAPPIST-1 Planet Compositions, Atmospheres

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New Clues to TRAPPIST-1 Planet Compositions, Atmospheres

Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:46 pm

In the year since NASA announced the seven Earth-sized planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system, scientists have been working hard to better understand these enticing worlds just 40 light-years away. Thanks to data from a combination of space- and ground-based telescopes, we know more about TRAPPIST-1 than any other planetary system besides our solar system.

A new study in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, using data from NASA's Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, offers the best-yet picture of what these planets are made of. They used the telescope observations to calculate the densities more precisely than ever, then used those numbers in complex simulations. Researchers determined that all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Additionally, some have up to 5 percent of their mass in water, which is 250 times more than the oceans on Earth.

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Re: New Clues to TRAPPIST-1 Planet Compositions, Atmospheres

Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:49 pm


Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist's concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses and distances from the host star, as of February 2018.

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Re: New Clues to TRAPPIST-1 Planet Compositions, Atmospheres

Post by Dragon on Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:49 pm



Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have conducted the first spectroscopic survey of Earth-sized planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system's habitable zone. Hubble reveals that at least the inner five planets do not seem to contain puffy, hydrogen-rich atmospheres similar to gaseous planets such as Neptune. This means the atmospheres may be more shallow and rich in heavier gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and oxygen.


 
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