The observed spectrum, however, is featureless. And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com. | astrobites. The technique works by taking observations of the transit light curve at different wavelengths. Here we further examine the possibility that GJ 1214b does indeed possess a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere, which is the hypothesis that is … 2013, 2015). The planet, GJ 1214b, is three times larger than Earth and about seven times heavier, and is the first planet of its kind known to have an atmosphere. To date, astronomers have discovered more than 700 planets beyond our solar system, with about 2,300 more "candidates" awaiting confirmation by follow-up observations. The planet will actually look slightly bigger in radius (and cause a bigger dip) if we are observing it in a wavelength where there is a prominent absorption feature in the atmosphere. 40 light-years away lies the exoplanet GJ 1214b, a searingly hot "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star. Using Hubble, astronomers led by Laura Kreidberg and Jacob Bean of the University of Chicago took a closer look at GJ 1214b. New Subaru Telescope observations of super-Earth GJ 1214 b show that the exoplanet is likely to have a water-rich atmosphere. Scientists first reported in 2010 that GJ 1214b's atmosphere is likely composed primarily of water, but their findings were not definitive. These alien planets are a diverse bunch. Therefore there must be a deep (0.49 R E is 3120km) atmosphere to explain the transit radius. The data seem to confirm that GJ 1214b has a very steamy atmosphere, thick with water vapor. 2OBSERVATIONS Photometric observations of GJ 1214b were conducted using the GTC telescope on La Palma. The authors conclude from their observations, combined with all the previous photometric observations, that GJ 1214b can be fit by a hydrogen and helium dominated atmosphere only if it is significantly depleted in methane. All the published transmission data from GJ 1214b are used to analyze the atmosphere. Recent observations of the transiting super-Earth GJ 1214b reveal that its atmosphere may be hydrogen-rich or water-rich in nature, with clouds or hazes potentially affecting its transmission spectrum in the optical and very-near-IR. Visit our corporate site. 1998), then the radius of the planet, GJ 1214b, would also be smaller by a comparable amount—resulting in a planet that does not require a large atmosphere to explain its observed radius. This planet 1998), then the radius of the planet, GJ 1214b, would also be smaller by a comparable amount—resulting in a planet that does not require a large atmosphere to explain its observed radius. The authors go through the complicated process of extracting the spectra from the echelle spectrograph data and removing the systematic effects. "We’re using Hubble to measure the infrared color of sunset on this world," Berta said. The data, obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, are sufficiently precise to detect absorption features from a high mean-molecular-mass atmosphere. Enter your email to receive notifications of new posts. "The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water,' substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience," Berta said. Given the uncertainties in the nature of the atmosphere of GJ 1214b… The same is true for Kepler-11f. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. The super-Earth GJ 1214b gravitational acceleration: 8.93 m s–2 radius: 2.678 R e distance from star: 0.01432 AU stellar flux at planet: 21519 W m–2 rotation period: 1.5803925 Earth days (synchronous) Here we further examine the possibility that GJ 1214b does indeed possess a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere, which is the hypothesis that is favored by models of the bulk composition of the planet. Discovered in 2009 , the planet is about 2.7 times Earth’s diameter and is almost 7 times as massive. Here we report a measurement of the transmission spectrum of GJ 1214b at near-infrared wavelengths that definitively resolves this ambiguity. The paper Three Possible Origins for the Gas Layer on GJ 1214b is of … The radius of GJ 1214 b can be inferred from the amount of dimming seen when the planet crosses in front of its parent star as viewed from Earth. GJ 1214b thus appears to have much more water than Earth does, and much less rock. Instead the atmosphere appears to block a … presence of an atmosphere on GJ 1214b is rather probable. Scientists have discovered a new type of alien planet — a steamy waterworld that is larger than Earth but smaller than Uranus. Different teams of astronomers have published photometric observations in the optical, near-infrared, and mid-infrared — and each group concludes the atmosphere is different! Previous observations of the planet's size and mass demonstrated it has a low density for its size, leading astronomers to conclude the planet is some kind of solid body with an atmosphere. Photochemical hazes are expected to form in the upper atmosphere (p<10μbars) and coagulate to larger But GJ 1214b, which is located 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer), is something new altogether, researchers said. The planet, GJ1214b, has a mass about six times that of Earth and its interior is likely mostly made of water ice. The planet orbits a small red dwarf star which has only 16% the mass of our own sun. The others have all been gas giants. Berta and his team used Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 to help dispel the doubts. Instead, the new observations reinforce the notion that GJ 1214b's atmosphere contains at least 50% water by mass. Through a comparison with theoretical models, the density in turn provides limited but highly useful information ab… GJ 1214b was the first planet discovered by the MEarth project, which surveys small, red M-dwarf stars to find transiting exoplanets (for a nice review of the transit method, see this astrobite). Abstract: Recent observations of the transiting super-Earth GJ 1214b reveal that its atmosphere may be hydrogen-rich or water-rich in nature, with clouds or hazes potentially affecting its transmission spectrum in the optical and very-near-IR. • GJ 1214b’s atmosphere is not well-described by a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere in chemical equilibrium • Other possibilities include: • No methane / High clouds • High mean molecular weight atmosphere (> 20% H 2O) • Additional observations will be necessary to break the degeneracy between the different possibilities On This Day in Space! by Caroline Morley | Apr 13, 2011 | Daily Paper Summaries | 0 comments. Atmosphere Origin GJ 1214b may have formed from a variety of primordial materials in its protoplanetary disk. Abstract. Nature, 505, 69 paper arxiv A Search for Methane in the Atmosphere of GJ 1214b via GTC Narrow-Band Transmission Spectrophotometry A eureka moment? The advantage of finding planets around these cool, small stars is that super-Earth sized planets such as GJ 1214b create a larger dip in the light curve than the same planet would around a Sun-sized star, making them easier to detect and, with further observations, characterize. By looking at the relative depths of the transit at different wavelengths, we can see if there are prominent absorption features at some wavelengths. There was a problem. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Astronomers have found one planet as light and airy as Styrofoam, for example, and another as dense as iron. Because GJ 1214b is so close to Earth, it's a prime candidate for study by future instruments. Please refresh the page and try again. When the first exoplanet atmosphere was measured in 2002, … "A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water.". Earth's density is 5.5 g/cc, while that of water is 1 g/cc. GJ 1214b represents a new type of planet, like nothing seen in the Solar System or any other planetary system currently known. "The Hubble measurements really tip the balance in favor of a steamy atmosphere.". Photochemical hazes are expected to form in the upper atmosphere (p<10μbars) and coagulate to larger In recent exoplanet discovery and observations, Agol was part of the ‘Citizen Scientists’ team that discovered a new super-Neptune planet and characterized its multi-planet system (Schmitt et al., 2014(Schmitt et al., 2014 Berta and his co-authors, who include Derek Homeier of ENS Lyon, France, used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) to study GJ 1214b when it crossed in front of its host star. Discovered in 2009 , the planet is about 2.7 times Earth’s diameter and is almost 7 times as massive. When the first exoplanet atmosphere was measured in 2002, many astronomers dismissed it … [The Strangest Alien Planets]. Since astronomers know GJ 1214b's mass and size, they're able to calculate its density, which turns out to be just 2 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cc). However, their observations could also be explained by the presence of a planet-enshrouding haze in GJ 1214b’s atmosphere. Its atmosphere could consist entirely of water vapor or some other type of heavy molecule, or it could contain high-altitude clouds that prevent the observation of what lies underneath. Here we report a measurement of the transmission spectrum of GJ 1214b at near-infrared wavelengths that definitively resolves this ambiguity. According to Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientist and lead author Zachory Berta, "GJ1214b is like no planet we know of. For that reason, scientists have nicknamed the planet "the waterworld". Astronomers estimate the planet¹s temperature to be about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Get breaking space news and the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more! Planets specifically lacking methane and with very low total carbon abundance are also examined. For the model to fit their observations, it’s required that the model must fit better than a flat-line. The standard-bearer for this new class of exoplanet is called GJ 1214b, which astronomers first discovered in December 2009. Qemist 22:04, 23 December 2009 (UTC) GJ 1214b is located in the constellation Ophiuchus, some 40 light-years from us. © GJ 1214b is classified as a water-world, and is the only example of such a planet yet to be discovered. An atmosphere that is not depleted in either methane or carbon is specifically ruled out. They've discovered several alien worlds that orbit two suns, like Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine in the "Star Wars" films. 2000, 2003) to acquire photometry within a bandpass of 12Å. When GJ 1214b was first discovered in 2009, just 42 light-years from Earth, astronomers couldn’t decide exactly what it was—either a mini-Neptune, with an extended, gassy atmosphere, or a planet made largely of water, with a more compact atmosphere rich in water vapor. GJ 1214b, first discovered in December 2009, is 2.7 times the size of Earth and 6.5 times as massive. "GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of," study lead author Zachory Berta of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said in a statement. For all observations, we used the TF imaging mode on OSIRIS (Cepa 1998; Cepa et al. Finally, we conclude with a summary of our findings in Section 6. Using Hubble, astronomers led by Laura Kreidberg and Jacob Bean of the University of Chicago took a closer look at GJ 1214b. GJ 1214b is located in the constellation Ophiuchus, some 40 light-years from us. If gas accreted directly from the protoplanetary nebula and was retained in the atmosphere, then the atmosphere would be predominantly composed of hydrogen and helium. The authors conclude from their observations, combined with all the previous photometric observations, that GJ 1214b can be fit by a hydrogen and helium dominated atmosphere only if it is significantly depleted in methane. These last two sets of abundances have been previously suggested as a way to resolve the differences between the optical, mid-infrared, and near-infrared observations. A robust determination by Models for the structure of this planet predict that it likely possesses an H-He envelope of at least 0.05% of the total mass of the planet. Space is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. The mass of the planet can be inferred from sensitive observations of the parent star's radial velocity, measured through small shifts in stellar spectral lines due to the Doppler effect. It is also the first super-Earth around which an atmosphere has been found. NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, which is slated to launch in 2018, may be able to get an even better look at the planet's atmosphere, researchers said. The exoplanet, orbiting a small star only 40 light-years away from us, has a mass about six times that of the Earth. The data, obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, are sufficiently precise to detect absorption features from a high mean-molecular-mass atmosphere. All the published transmission data from GJ 1214b are used to analyze the atmosphere. Transit observations of the super-Earth GJ 1214b rule out cloud-free H{sub 2}-dominated scenarios, but are not able to determine whether the lack of deep spectral features is due to high-altitude clouds or the presence of a high mean molecular mass atmosphere. Two classes of models have been proposed to explain the planet's observed low density. In the process, it would have experienced more Earth-like temperatures, but how long this benign phase lasted is unknown, researchers said. These observations are then compared to a suite of atmospheric models. However, their observations could also be explained by the presence of a planet-enshrouding haze in GJ 1214b’s atmosphere. Future observations could draw more conclusions about the atmosphere by looking at water features; a methane-depleted hydrogen-helium dominated atmosphere should exhibit prominent absorption features from water. An alien machine already visited us, Harvard astrophysicist still contends. There are also tantalizing hints that the planet has a gaseous atmosphere. Unlike many of the other transiting super-Earth-sized planets (or Kepler planet candidates), GJ 1214b orbits a fairly bright star and causes a large enough dip (~1%) during transit to practically acquire observations that would constrain the characteristics of its atmosphere. GJ 1214b, first discovered in December 2009, is 2.7 times the size of Earth and 6.5 times as massive. Nature, 505, 69 paper arxiv A Search for Methane in the Atmosphere of GJ 1214b via GTC Narrow-Band Transmission Spectrophotometry The data, obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope, are sufficiently precise to detect absorption features from a high mean-molecular-mass atmosphere. Berta and his colleagues report their results online in the Astrophysical Journal. The observed spectrum, however, is featureless. Given the planet's mass and radius, its density can be calculated. A new analysis detailing the atmosphere of GJ 1214b—a planet located about 40 light years from earth and one that researchers have studied since 2009—appeared in the March issue of The Astrophysical Journal. They modeled solar composition planets and planets with abundances of heavy elements that were 10 times and 30 times solar abundances. There have been many previous transmission spectroscopy observations of GJ 1214b. The data show that GJ 1214b's atmosphere isn't, as previously theorized, a puffy, cloud-free layer of mainly hydrogen gas. The extracted transmission spectrum are compared to the atmospheric models. GJ 1214b, based on formation constraints the presence of heavier refractory material on this planet is expected, and hence, so is a component lighter than water required. A new analysis detailing the atmosphere of GJ 1214b—a planet located about 40 light years from earth and one that researchers have studied since 2009—appeared in the March issue of The Astrophysical Journal. Gliese 1214 b (often shortened to GJ 1214 b) is an exoplanet that orbits the star Gliese 1214, and was discovered in December 2009.Its parent star is 48 light-years from the Sun, in the constellation Ophiuchus.As of 2017, GJ 1214 b is the most likely known candidate for being an ocean planet. The super-Earth GJ 1214b, which has 6.5 times the mass of our Earth, orbits its star once every 38 hours at a distance of only 1.3 million miles. In contrast, the recently published near-infrared measurements (see Croll et al. The planet, called GJ 1214b, is the smallest planet yet to have its atmosphere examined — but it’s just the latest in nearly a decade of probing exoplanet atmospheres. The radius of GJ 1214b lies 0.49 ± 0.13 R E above the water-world curve (caption to their figure 3). The lines on this graph show the models used in this paper. Only 2.7 times the size of Earth and 6.6 times as massive, the new planet takes 38 hours to circle a dim red star, GJ 1214, in the constellation Ophiuchus about 40 light-years from here. 2013, 2015). (Image: © NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)), A mysterious 'wobble' is moving Mars' poles around, How to watch the rare 'triple conjunction' of Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn tonight, Wandering polar vortex may cause a wild, snowy winter. Given the uncertainties in the nature of the atmosphere of GJ 1214b… Preliminary studies for the properties of clouds and photochemical hazes in the atmosphere of GJ 1214b suggested that both components can provide a flat spectrum (Morley et al. We show that the atmospheric circulation is strong enough to transport micrometric cloud particles to the upper atmosphere and generally leads to a minimum of cloud at the equator. Overplotted are three models for the atmosphere of GJ1214b: a hydrogen dominated atmosphere with solar composition (green line), a hydrogen dominated atmosphere with clouds and low methane abundance (red line) and a water dominated atmosphere (blue line). Previous studies of GJ 1214b yielded two possible interpretations of the planet’s atmosphere. The paper Three Possible Origins for the Gas Layer on GJ 1214b is of relevance. New York, Researchers have analyzed the atmosphere of GJ 1214b, which is … The dashed curves at the bottom are the transmission curves for the different filters. Here we report a measurement of the transmission spectrum of GJ 1214b at near-infrared wavelengths that definitively resolves this ambiguity. Super-Earth 40 light years away 'is rich in water with a thick, steamy atmosphere', confirm Japanese astronomers. We explore cloudy, extended H2-He atmosphere scenarios for the warm super-Earth GJ 1214b using an optimal estimation retrieval technique. The exoplanet GJ 1214b, which orbits a star 40 light-years from Earth, offers astronomers a unique chance to study its atmosphere because it passes directly in front of … It is also the first super-Earth around which an atmosphere has been found. Its atmosphere could consist entirely of water vapor or some other type of heavy molecule, or it could contain high-altitude clouds that prevent the observation of what lies underneath. New observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope suggest that GJ 1214b is a watery world enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. the atmosphere of GJ 1214b. The initial spectra of this planet also showed no features, but indicated GJ 1214b's atmosphere was dominated by water vapor or hydrogen, with high-altitude clouds. The planet, called GJ 1214b, is the smallest planet yet to have its atmosphere examined -- but it's just the latest in nearly a decade of probing exoplanet atmospheres. Quite possibly. Their observations alone are also consistent with an atmosphere that is denser than hydrogen/helium, but that type of atmosphere was ruled out by the near-infrared data published earlier this year; however, they suggest that further observations might be necessary to verify this conclusion. In a water-rich atmosphere, such as the one on GJ 1214b, the effect of the Rayleigh scattering is much weaker than in a hydrogen-dominated atmosphere. Clouds in the atmosphere of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b @article{Kreidberg2014CloudsIT, title={Clouds in the atmosphere of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b}, author={L. Kreidberg and J. L. Bean and J. Here, we simulate the atmosphere of GJ1214b with a 3D General Circulation Model for cloudy hydrogen-dominated atmospheres, including cloud radiative effects. Clouds in the atmosphere of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b 2014 KREIDBERG L., BEAN J., DESERT J.-M., BENNEKE B., DEMING D. et al. The black points show the previously published data, and the open circles show the averages of the models. GJ1214b, shown in this artist’s view, is a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. The alien planet's interior structure is likely quite different from that of our world. Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! GJ 1214b has a mass 6.5 times that of Earth and is 2.6 times its radius. According to Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics scientist and lead author Zachory Berta, "GJ1214b is like no planet we know of. We explore cloudy, extended H2–He atmosphere scenarios for the warm super-Earth GJ 1214b using an optimal estimation retrieval technique. In this paper, the authors hope to resolve some of these apparent discrepancies with a high-resolution spectrum of GJ 1214b during transit. New observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope suggest that GJ 1214b is a watery world enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. Here we report a measurement of the transmission spectrum of GJ 1214b at near-infrared wavelengths that definitively resolves this ambiguity. The newly discovered planet GJ 1214b is the first known transiting super-Earth requiring a significant atmosphere to explain its observed mass and radius. The planet, called GJ 1214b, is the smallest planet yet to have its atmosphere examined — but it’s just the latest in nearly a decade of probing exoplanet atmospheres. Preliminary studies for the properties of clouds and photochemical hazes in the atmosphere of GJ 1214b suggested that both components can provide a flat spectrum (Morley et al. An artist's conception shows a super-Earth known as GJ 1214b with its parent star and another world. The radius of GJ 1214b lies 0.49 ± 0.13 R E above the water-world curve (caption to their figure 3). This, in turn, suggests that the planet's large size and modest density are due to large amounts of water in its interior, as opposed to a rocky world surrounded by a puffed-up blanket of hydrogen and helium. DOI: 10.1038/nature12888 Corpus ID: 4447642. Thank you for signing up to Space. The bulk composition of the planet has been analyzed using interior structure models which fit the measured planet properties ().One main conclusion of the analysis is that, given the planet's low density, there must be a significant atmosphere. GJ 1214b probably formed farther out from its star, where water ice was plentiful, and then migrated in to its current location long ago. New observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show that it is a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. The planet's atmosphere could be dominated by relatively heavy molecules, such as water (e.g., a 100% water vapor composition), or it could contain high-altitude clouds that obscure its lower layers. Multi-color Transit Photometry of GJ 1214b through BJHK s Bands and a Long-term Monitoring of the Stellar Variability of GJ 1214. GJ 1214b, also known as Gliese 1214b, is 42 light years from Earth and was discovered in November 2009. ApJ 773, 144; doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/773/2/144 Published in Berta and his co-authors, who include Derek Homeier of ENS Lyon, France, used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 … 40 light-years away lies the exoplanet GJ 1214b, a searingly hot "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star. The other is a "water world" scenario where the bulk of the planet would be composed primarily of water. Clouds in the atmosphere of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b 2014 KREIDBERG L., BEAN J., DESERT J.-M., BENNEKE B., DEMING D. et al. This planet, orbiting an M4.5 star only 13 pc from the Earth, is of particular interest because it lies between the Earth and Neptune in size and may be a member of a new class of planet that is neither terrestrial nor gas giant. (Baraffe et al. The optical and mid-infrared measurements have suggested that the atmosphere is made mostly of heavier elements (such as water) rather than having a hydrogen and helium atmosphere; alternately, a haze or cloud layer high in the atmosphere could also fit the observations. If the planet’s atmosphere were photochemically altered by the strong irradiation from its host star, it could appear depleted in methane with an optical haze. While these are hard to measure from the ground since there is so much water in Earth’s atmosphere, they should be easy to characterize from space using the Hubble Space Telescope. NY 10036. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, Discovered by the MEarth project and investigated further by the HARPS spectrograph on ESO’s 3.6-metre telescope at La Silla, GJ1214b is the second super-Earth exoplanet for which astronomers have determined the mass and radius, giving vital clues about its structure. The transmission spectrum of the super-Earth exoplanet GJ 1214b is observed to be featureless at near-infrared wavelengths and its atmosphere must contain clouds to be consistent with the data. Hubble watched as GJ 1214b crossed in front of its host star, and the scientists were able to determine the composition of the planet's atmosphere based on how it filtered the starlight. GJ 1214b is the first transiting super-Earth that requires a significant atmosphere to explain its observed mass and radius. The exoplanet, orbiting a small star only 40 light-years away from us, thus opens dramatic new perspectives in the quest for habitable worlds. 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