February 25, 2024

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An exoplanet reveals a key sign of possible life

An exoplanet reveals a key sign of possible life

Scientific paper entitled Methane in the atmosphere of the warm exoplanet WASP-80b It was recently published by a team led by Taylor Bell, a researcher at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. Bell found that WASP-80b is a so-called “warm Jupiter” with a temperature of about 1,025 F. This puts the exoplanet between hot Jupiters like HD 209458 b – the first transiting exoplanet discovered – and cold Jupiters like our own Jupiter, which reaches a temperature of only 235 degrees Fahrenheit.

The exoplanet’s temperature is important because it’s just another piece of the methane puzzle. There is a severe lack of methane in the atmosphere of most exoplanets, which means that any time scientists discover a planet with it, they have to carefully study all aspects of the planet’s composition. Every methane-producing exoplanet discovered by astronomers plays an important role in helping the scientific community develop atmospheric theory.

The temperature of WASP-80b, in particular, places it in “an interesting transition regime where equilibrium chemistry models predict that there should be detectable CH4 and CO/CO2 features in the planet’s transmission and emission spectra…” according to the researchers who worked on the paper . .

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