An atmosphere like that of early Earth, 4 billion years ago, but with fewer volcanoes and earthquakes and an iron core a little bigger than planet Earth: this may be the closest exoplanet to the solar system. The image appears from simulations of the closest star system to the Sun, Alpha Centauri, prepared by the research group of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and coordinated by Haiyang Wang and published in The Astrophysical Journal.
First direct look at the outer planets
Thanks to the new James Webb Space Telescope, which will be operational in a few months, and the construction of the Very Large Telescope (ELt), at the Southern European Observatory (ESO) in Chile, we will soon have the opportunity to take a first-time search for exoplanets that have been discovered in recent years. However, it is not yet possible to know many details about it.
new theoretical models
In light of this major advance, ETH researchers have developed new theoretical models that are able to predict, by just observing star formation, what the rocky planets orbiting around them might look like. An “exercise” that could be tested in a few months and, if it proves good, could be key to assuming the properties of many planets, even those too far away to be easily studied.
Earth’s virtual twin
The planet chosen to test the model is a hypothetical Earth twin, yet to be discovered called alpha-Cen-Earth, orbiting the alpha Centauri double star system, two stars very similar to the Sun and separated by only 4.4 years of light. from U.S. Starting with the formation of the two stars, the researchers hypothesized the existence of a planet very similar to ours, with practically the same chemical properties, but a more silicate-rich mantle, a larger iron core and less geological activity. The most important surprise is that the atmosphere will be dominated by carbon dioxide, methane and water, a mixture very similar to the mixture of Earth when it saw the emergence of the first forms of life, between 4 and 2.5 billion years ago.
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