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Volcanoes Possibly Detected on Nearby Terrestrial Exoplanet

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posted on May, 5 2015 @ 06:58 PM
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The exoplanet field is a rapidly developing one within the science of astrobiology. It is often characterized as a new renaissance era of discovery as we are learning quite a lot about our neighbors in a massive series of unending firsts...

20 years ago, the first exoplanet circling a normal star was discovered.
16 years ago, the first multi-planet "solar" system was discovered.
14 years ago, the first planet of any type was detected in a circular orbit inside a star's Habitable or "Goldilocks" Zone.
14 years ago, the first exoplanet atmosphere was analyzed and it contained carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
10 years ago, the first infrared light from an exoplanet was detected.
8 years ago, the first temperature map was made of an exoplanet.
8 years ago, the first detection of water on an exoplanet.
7 years ago, the first detection of an organic molecule in an exoplanet's atmosphere.
7 years ago, the first visible light images of an exoplanet.
5 years ago, the first Super Earth detected in a star's habitable zone.
5 years ago, the first exoplanet detected in another galaxy.
5 years ago, the first evidence Earthlike planets are common.
4 years ago, the first "Tatooine" or planet which orbits two stars detected.
4 years ago, the first direct image of a planet being born, forming around its host star.
4 years ago, the first aurora detected from an exoplanet.
4 years ago, the first free floating, "rogue" planet detected.
3 years ago, the first images of planetary system.
3 years ago, the first detailed infrared spectra of an exoplanet.
3 years ago, the first image of a free floating, "rogue" planet.
3 years ago, the first planet detected around Alpha Centauri our Solar System's nearest star.
3 years ago, the first evidence of planet being engulfed by a dying, red giant star.
2 years ago, the first rocky Super Earth is detected.
2 years ago, the first planet with the same size and density of Earth is detected.
2 years ago, the first visible light detected from a Super Earth.
2 years ago, the first amateur astronomy exoplanet discovery. A planet in a 4 star system.
2 years ago, the first exoplanet seen devoured by black hole.
2 years ago, the first cloud map of an exoplanet.
1 year ago, the first comets detected around another star.
1 year ago, the first magnetic field detected around an exoplanet.
1 year ago, the first Earth-size planet detected in a stars habitable zone.
1 year ago, the first possible detection of an exomoon, a moon around an exoplanet.
1 year ago, the first Earth-based CCD images of an exoplanet.
This year, the first ring system detected around an exoplanet
This year, the first exoplanet system detected around an ancient star.

And this year now may mark the first time we've detected volcanism on a nearby rocky world:


Nearby Super-Earth May Harbor Huge Volcanoes

Temperatures on a nearby “super Earth” exoplanet varied dramatically recently, suggesting that large and very active volcanoes may exist on the alien world’s surface, a new study reports.

Researchers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope found that temperatures on 55 Cancri e—a planet eight times more massive than Earth that lies 40 light-years away—swung between about 1,832 to 4,892 degees Fahrenheit (1,000 to 2,700 degrees Celsius) from 2011 to 2013.

“This is the first time we’ve seen such drastic changes in light emitted from an exoplanet, which is particularly remarkable for a super Earth,” study co-author Nikku Madhusudhan, of the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy in England, said in a statement. “No signature of thermal emissions or surface activity has ever been detected for any other super Earth to date.”

This atmospheric variability was observed on the “day side” of 55 Cancri e, which lies so close to its host star that it completes one orbit every 18 hours. The planet is tidally locked, meaning one side always faces the star and the other always faces away.

The researchers said they aren’t sure what’s behind the huge temperature shift, but they’ve got a leading candidate in mind.

“We think a likely explanation for this variability is [that] large-scale surface activity, possibly volcanism, on the surface is spewing out massive volumes of gas and dust, which sometimes blanket the thermal emission from the planet, so it is not seen from Earth,” lead author Brice-Olivier Demory, of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, said in the same statement.

If this interpretation is correct, volcanism on 55 Cancri e would likely be even more intense than it is on Jupiter’s moon Io, the most volcanically active body in Earth’s solar system, researchers said.
- More over at Scientific American

My thoughts on this are that this planet will provide a great object for the baseline of what natural infrared irregularities due to volcanism are like so that searches for the infrared excess of ET civilizations on nearby planets with something like the Colossus Telescope would be able to rule out natural false positives due to volcanoes, hot springs, etc.

What other firsts will 2015 bring? Stay tuned


ALSO: If any you're interested in this subject and the history behind it, check out my interactive Exoplanet History and Research timeline (which is still a work in progress) linked in my signature below

edit on 5-5-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 5 2015 @ 07:08 PM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Very interesting.

Is volcanism evidence of anything or does it offer a higher probability of phenomena we might find of interest?



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 07:12 PM
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Another home run by Jade (a very nice opening post). A volcano possibly discovered on an exoplanet does give the science and astronomical field a major coup, and stretches the limits of what was considered possible just a short time ago.



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 07:24 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: JadeStar

Very interesting.

Is volcanism evidence of anything or does it offer a higher probability of phenomena we might find of interest?



Volcanism could be evidence of plate tectonics (not necessarily on 55 Cancri e) but on future, more temperate Earths. So being able to detect it is important since plate tectonics are thought to have been one of many important factors which lead to the development of life on Earth.

So yeah, it's kinda a big deal.



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 07:24 PM
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Wow Jade...you always present such beautiful
& researched work. I am amazed at how well you put
together great post with so much valuable information.

I really enjoyed the time line you presented. The volcanism
issue is very interesting. I don't know much about that but I
would wager that it would add more possibilities of life?
Sorry if that was a lame question. Anyway thank you for all
your extremely well thought out post!

Cheers
Ektar



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 07:32 PM
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Nice post, makes me think of MIB.

1,500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And 15 minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 07:43 PM
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it's Geidi Prime; the House Harkonen homeworld!



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 07:47 PM
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Wow, just wow, so now we can in fact detect vulcanism, I am amazed, for sure.

The future is beautiful at least in the world of astronomy!



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 08:58 PM
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originally posted by: Jonjonj
Wow, just wow, so now we can in fact detect vulcanism, I am amazed, for sure.

The future is beautiful at least in the world of astronomy!


So much is brewing that I can honestly say I feel the next 5-10 and especially the next 10-30 years are going be mind blowing for some.



posted on May, 5 2015 @ 08:58 PM
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originally posted by: Ektar
Wow Jade...you always present such beautiful
& researched work. I am amazed at how well you put
together great post with so much valuable information.

I really enjoyed the time line you presented. The volcanism
issue is very interesting. I don't know much about that but I
would wager that it would add more possibilities of life?
Sorry if that was a lame question. Anyway thank you for all
your extremely well thought out post!

Cheers
Ektar


Thanks. BTW: I'm working on and experimenting with a pipeline that will allow me to bring you more interesting stories like this one, before the mainstream media get them.


originally posted by: Jonjonj
Wow, just wow, so now we can in fact detect vulcanism, I am amazed, for sure.

The future is beautiful at least in the world of astronomy!


So much is brewing that I can honestly say I feel the next 5-10 and especially the next 10-30 years are going be mind blowing for some.

edit on 5-5-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 09:12 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar
Cheers for the post. .. I have one question. Could the temperature rise be due to a catastrophe (asteroid impact) or is the only possible conclusion vulcanism. Have they been monitoring it enough to be sure the temperature increase is down to vulcanism



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:13 PM
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originally posted by: rossacus
a reply to: JadeStar
Cheers for the post. .. I have one question. Could the temperature rise be due to a catastrophe (asteroid impact) or is the only possible conclusion vulcanism. Have they been monitoring it enough to be sure the temperature increase is down to vulcanism



Asteroid impacts would have to be swarms of them to create the widespread temperature increase they detected similar to what happened during our solar system's Late Heavy Bombardment (3.8 Billion Years ago). If this were occurring then we'd see evidence of this around 55 Cancri.

The star would have a disk of dust (resulting from multiple asteroid impacts) in the plane at which the planets orbit and it would probably visible and also glowing in the infrared.

That is something we see in young planetary systems frequently. But we don't see it here because 55 Cancri is not a young system.

The age of 55 Cancri is actually older than our solar system. Our solar system is 4.5 Billion years old. 55 Cancri is between 7.4-8.7 Billion years old.

Vulcanism therefore on that basis alone would be far more likely than a heavy bombardment by asteroids since it's an old, stable system at this point.
edit on 6-5-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 01:27 PM
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originally posted by: Ektar. I don't know much about that but I
would wager that it would add more possibilities of life?
Sorry if that was a lame question.
Cheers
Ektar


It's actually not a lame question.

In fact, there are a lot of people with Ph.D's asking the same question.

We have a LOT to learn about how life formed on Earth and that is one of the reasons we study other planets. On your specific point, plate tectonics could possibly be helpful to the development of life. We think they may help maintain a planet's overall temperature. Acting sort of as a global thermostat.

Plate tectonics are also one reason why life, including ourselves have access to essential elements like phosphorous. The constant churning up of material from within the Earths crust probably gave life many things to use or munch on early in our planet's history.


So plate tectonics could replenish the nutrition that primitive life could live on, on the surface of a planet. Also, plate tectonics are also involved in the generation of a magnetic field by convection of Earth’s partially molten core. This magnetic field protects life on Earth by deflecting the solar wind. Not only would an unimpeded solar wind erode our planet’s atmosphere, but it also carries highly energetic particles that could damage DNA.

My dad always told me the stupidest question is the one not asked so cheers and thanks for asking

edit on 6-5-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2015 @ 04:25 PM
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Is there a way to guess how mature a system is? If the volcanos are active on a mature planet, it indicates ongoing tectonic activity, which in turn would indicate a hot spinning core and a global EM field... providing a more habitable environment.

In a younger system, the hotspots might be due to impacts and other catastrophic events that create lava.
edit on 6-5-2015 by wildespace because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 7 2015 @ 08:13 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar
Thankyou




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