Tuesday, March 28, 2023
An observational study conducted by scientists with the help of the James Webb Space Telescope revealed that TRAPPIST 1 system — planets 1.4 times larger than the earth — has a very hot temperature which is not suitable to host any living species, according to a report by space.com.
Amid disappointment, there are other six such planets in the TRAPPIST 1 system which the James Webb Space Telescope has been successfully able to study.
By using a Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), astronomers measured the temperature of the planet TRAPPIST 1b which is the closest to the star.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), James Webb Telescope for the first time detected a form of light from the exoplanet which shows the day time temperature of 446 degrees Fahrenheit (230 Degrees Celcius)
Astrophysicist Thomas Greene, who with his team led the study told space.com: "Some theory groups predicted that the planet would have a dense atmosphere, while others thought it might not. I was more disappointed than surprised to see it had no atmosphere."
The distance between the exoplanet and its parent star is only one-hundredth of the Sun-Earth distance — 40 times closer than the distance between the Sun and Mercury.
TRAPPIST 1 receives four times more light from its star as compared to the earth receiving light from the sun even though the star is dimmer than our sun.
Contrary to expectations, the information obtained from James Webb is a major breakthrough allowing scientists to study distant objects for Earth-like planets.
In the exoplanet TRAPPIST 1 system, there is a hope that three planets — TRAPPIST 1e, 1f and 1g may host life.
The TRAPPIST 1 system is more popular than other planetary research and is located 40 light years away from the Sun, stated NASA. The system is also called an M dwarf and a red dwarf.
Greene also wrote: "There are about ten times as many M stars like TRAPPIST 1 than G stars like the sun. M stars are also about twice as likely to have rocky, Earth-sized planets. Therefore about 95% of the Earth-sized rocky planets in the Milky Way will have stars like TRAPPIST 1 and not like the sun."
This has retained the hopes of the scientists that they could find other planets hosting life.
The previously held observations by Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope also failed to find any atmosphere in the system.
According to Greene, there's a possibility of a thin surrounding atmosphere in TRAPPIST 1b.
"We have some follow-up observations scheduled in June at another wavelength and have proposed observing a bigger part of the planet's orbit to look into and maybe rule out some other types of atmospheres," Greene added.