I read an article, titled “This scorching hot nightmare planet just opened up avenues for finding alien life,” from astronomy.com, that I believe coincides with our tenth conceptual objective, “I can describe the nature of our solar system and how it was formed.” The article, by John Wenz talks about how the planet GJ 1132b has an atmosphere. The atmosphere reaches 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so life is unlikely to survive there. It completes a year around its M-dwarf star in 1.6 Earth days because it is so close to it; however, the fact that this planet has an atmosphere at all is why it could possibly be the most important planet to have been discovered so far in the search for life! Research that was published in The Astronomical Journal suggests the possibility that planets that reside around M-dwarf stars can retain atmospheres. With all this being said, the article concludes by stating that other M-dwarf pants could possibly retain their atmospheres, and then planets that are in the habitable zone could actually host life!
I can connect this article to our conceptual objective because of what I have learned over the past few class periods. For example, we had a class discussion, along with powerpoint slides, that taught me that our solar system was initially formed by the gases that comprised the solar system. Then, over time the gases were compressed into a disk shape. Due to gravity, material began slamming into one another, which forced the material to push in one direction. The pieces began accumulating into bigger pieces, repeatedly, until planets were formed! This is more than likely how planet GJ 1132b was formed. Also, I know that planet GJ 1132b could not become a Jovian gas giant because its temperature is way too hot. I know this because in class we did a lecture tutorial entitled “Temperature and Formation of our Solar System.” In the lecture tutorial, it states, “At temperatures hotter than the freezing point of water, light gases, such as hydrogen and helium, likely had too much energy to condense together to form the large, gas giant, Jovian planets.”
Overall, I found this article fascinating. Although the atmosphere of GJ 1132b is way too hot to support life, it is so interesting that we have found another planet that has an atmosphere! This was definitely one of the more exciting articles I have read and discussed in a blog post. I would recommend everyone read this short article because it is worth the time. I honestly did not know how planets and our solar system were formed until we discussed this conceptual objective. I think that it is really I can now give an explanation on the formation of our solar system to other people.