My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Dr. Robert Wittenmyer Team discovers Gliese 832 c – Supersize my Exoplanet Please with a Serving of Super-Venus

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dr. Robert Wittenmyer Team discovers Gliese 832 c – Supersize my Exoplanet Please with a Serving of Super-Venus

“It will be interesting to know if any additional objects in the Gliese 832 system follow this familiar Solar System configuration, but this architecture remains rare among the known exoplanet systems,”

Dr Wittenmyer, Prof Tinney and their colleagues commenting on the discovery of Gliese 832 c is located 16.1 Light years orbiting a Red Dwarf Star Gliese 832 located in the Constellation Grus

Finding exoplanets never gets old for me. Especially when they hold the potential for life by virtue of possessing the same characteristics as our planet Earth!

That's just the case with the recent discovery of yet another exoplanet, a Gliese 832 c by a team led by Dr. Robert Wittenmyer of the University of New South Wales as reported in “Nearby Exoplanet Is Best Candidate For Supporting Life”, published June 26, 2014 by Lisa Winter, I Fucking Love Science and “Gliese 832c: Potentially Habitable Super-Earth Discovered 16 Light-Years Away”, published Jun 29, 2014 by Sci-News.com.

Dr Wittenmyer, Prof Tinney and their colleagues used the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the 6.5-m Magellan Telescope and the European Southern Observatory 3.6-m telescope to find this potential Earth-like analog. The Team's discovery, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal, was curiously also made open to the public via the website ArXiV.org.

Curious that he's choose to make this discovery public, as normally discoveries of this magnitude are usually published privately in hard-to-access Journals. Unless you're able to hack their databases, they're a veritable Fort Knox of academic paper waiting to be leaked.....which the team led by Dr. Robert Wittenmyer of the University of New South Wales did of course!

And what a leak it was!

Gliese 832 c is located 16.1 Light years away, well within the limits of our current Space based and Land based Telescopes. It’s somewhat similar, at least in name to Earth-like habitable planet called Gliese 581g, located some 20.4 Light Years away orbiting a Star named Gliese 581 in the Constellation of Libra.

That exoplanet was discovered by astronomers Steve Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz and co-discoverer Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington back in 2010 and was the subject of my space travel blog article entitledAlternative Energy and Daedelus - Avatar and Planet Gliese 581g Next Door

In this case, Gliese 832 c orbits a Red Dwarf Star Gliese 832 located in the Constellation Grus and based on its name, it's the second exoplanet out from the Sun. Curiously this Red Dwarf only has 2 planets, possibly because the Red Dwarf Star Gliese 832 gravitational pull may not have been enough to hold them. They may have been knocked off orbit or worse, destroyed by asteroids.

Dr. Robert Wittenmyer’s Gliese 832 c – Supersize me Please with a Serving of Super-Venus

However, the differences between our Earth and this exoplanet are significant. First, it's 5.4 times more massive than Earth. That means it’s got a massive gravity and possibly dense atmosphere. Gliese 832 c is so close to its Red Dwarf Star Gliese 832 that it revolves around its Sun once every 36 Earth Days. That's a very short year in its semi-elliptical orbit and makes for incredibly quick seasonal variations.

But thanks to fact that it's orbiting a Red Dwarf Star, it gets a reddish-hue instead of a Yellow Glow in the sky, which means less heat energy in the UV (Ultraviolet) Spectrum to heat up the atmosphere. Dr. Robert Wittenmyer Team may have used IR Spectrophotometry to determine the Star's surface Temperature and based on Gliese 832 c, it should be receiving the same level of heating as the Earth. It should be very hot on the planet, probably equivalent to a sweltering Summer Equatorial Climate on Earth from the Poles to its Equator.

All this combines to give Gliese 832 c a ESI (Earth Similarity Index) of 0.81, 1.00 of course suggesting that it's exactly like Earth, most likely an unattainable standard. Still, Gliese 832 c does rank quit high on this ESI Chart of exoplanets found thus far:

1.      ESI 0.81 for Gliese 832 c at 16.1 Light Years away
2.      ESI 0.84 for Gliese 667 Cc at 22 Light Years away
3.      ESI 0.83 for Kepler-62e at 1,200 Light Years away

If anything lives on this planet, they're very muscular creatures that are capable of breathing in a very dense atmosphere warmed by a Reddish Sun. This is somewhat like Kepler-186 f, which is some 500 Light Years away orbiting the M dwarf Star Kepler-186 in the Constellation Cygnus as described in my blog article entitled “NASA discovers earth-like exoplanet Kepler-186f in the Constellation Cygnus - 500 light years is awfully far distance to buy beachfront property”.

I await more information from Dr. Robert Wittenmyer. Even better when the Kepler Space Telescope is back online to continue the search for life on Distant Worlds.
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