System TRAPPIST-1 may be dead in all senses

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2017-03-13 19:00:10

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System TRAPPIST-1 may be dead in all senses

When the emotion in the science prevail, nothing good from it should not wait. According to a recent opinion of astronomers, at least two (and maybe all) of the seven planets within the system TRAPPIST-1, could have a long time to lose its atmosphere under the influence of radiation home star, which automatically puts an end to the possibility of keeping the water on the surface of the planet in a liquid state.

Tears, however, on this occasion, pouring yet. As part of a recent study, scientists from the Geneva Observatory, studied the information about the spectral emission of the system TRAPPIST-1 and came to the conclusion that the star of this system may be relatively young. This means that it might not be enough time to blow away all the planets of their atmosphere. Therefore to do definitive conclusions about what the whole atmosphere of earth-like planets in this system have been lost too early. In other words, we have still the opportunity to dream about the probability of presence of life on some of those distant from our realms.

To have forgotten, and those who did not understand what was going on, let us briefly recall that last year approximately 39 light years from Earth astronomers have discovered . By the time the news doesn't seem so excessive, but in the last month, space Agency NASA has announced that in fact in the system of TRAPPIST-1 is . The system was immediately nicknamed the clone of our Solar system. Almost all the planets lie very close to each other and, in addition, are located in relative proximity to its star.

According to earlier assumptions, at least three of the discovered planets are in the so-called "Goldilocks zone" or habitable zone of a star where it is not too hot and not too cold to have available water on planets theoretically could be maintained in the liquid state, and were the conditions for the emergence and development of life.

Equally intriguing news even inspired NASA to release a series of posters on the theme of a future trip to the TRAPPIST-1 (to see a few of them below), which depicts her planets in comparison with planets in our Solar system. However to rejoice, as it turned out, was early.

As the orbits of planets are too close to their star, the planet is likely constrained by tidal capture have a synchronous rotation with the star. This means that one of their hemispheres side always faces the star, while the other hemisphere always remains in impenetrable darkness. And this is very bad news. Water. But for life – even more so.

This proved another example. Last month, scientists announced that the planet, located near Proximal Centauri (our nearest star), . The planet is to the star (red dwarf) is so close that, most likely, no atmosphere at all and looks more like a piece of burnt stone, not as our potential interplanetary future resort. The lack of atmosphere due to the powerful radiation of Proxima, which ionizes atmospheric gases and allowing the flow of the stellar wind to literally blow it off the surface.

Late last year, researchers tried to find out whether the star TRAPPIST-1 same as Proxima Centauri, temperamental behavior, and found that located the nearest to it of the planet in this case for the period of their existence could lose water, equal in volume to 15 earth's oceans.

As for the latest study, the astronomers compared the two types of radiation of a dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 — x-rays of her crown, as well as ultraviolet radiation (the so-called Lyman-alpha radiation) generated by hydrogen atoms of chromosphere layer of the star (just below crown), — at the same time comparing them with indicators of Proxima. It turned out that TRAPPIST-1 creates less than half the radiation of the Lyman-alpha compared to Proximi Centauri, which, in principle, was expected, given the fact that this type of stars is much colder.

However, it also emerged that both stars radiate approximately the same amount of x-rays that amid everything else seems very strange, as the volume of the x-ray and ultraviolet radiation for a star of such categories over time should be reduced. The more active the reduction is usually in the x-ray range.

"the Fact that TRAPPIST-1 emits almost three times less particles of Lyman-alpha radiation than x-ray particles, may indicate that the star is still relatively young," — scientists.

Under the definition of "relatively young" can be considered any period of time not more than half a billion years. Moreover, increased for this type of stars the rotation speed of the TRAPPIST-1 can also be viewed as evidence in favor of her young age. In the end, this may also indicate that the amount of x-rays in the past it was higher.

It Was predicted that bursts of radiation from stars, most likely, will blow away any earth-like atmosphere with the people closest to her planet within 1-3 billion years. But it may take anywhere from 5 to 22 billion years is the same, if we're talking about planets that are farther from the star. In other words, in the system of TRAPPIST-1 on one or even several of these planets is theoretically still can be not only the atmosphere, but water in liquid form. But, of course, taking into account the fact that the age of the star itself not much above 500 million years.

In addition, there is a possibility that these planets are not always located so close to the star, and "migrated" to it during its existence. In this case it would be possible to consider less time exposure to intense radiation in their atmosphere.

In General, TRAPPIST-1 seems a very strange star. Despite the fact that she looks young, her behavior often characteristic of older stars. This combination makes the system even more interesting for scientists.

And if you haven't lost interest, we offer you to look at the picture published by the aerospace Agency NASA, which is a noticeable change in the brightness of stars TRAPPIST-1 in a span of one hour. The image was acquired on 22 February. Brightness change suggests that at this moment in front of the stars is one of its planets.

Despite the fact that three of the pixel in the image is unlikely to impress the layperson, it is worth to note that the image itself covers only 44 square arcsecond the sky, which is roughly equivalent to the size of the sight held at arm's length grit.

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