This planet lost its atmosphere and 'regrew' it

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Mar 12, 2021, 02:37 PM IST

Representative image Photograph:(Reuters)

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The planet was once hailed as one of the most important ones outside Solar System.

We have our eyes glued to the sky for possible signs of alien life. We look for planets with water, planets with atmosphere and other things that can be helpful to sustain life. There is an 'exciting' planet that had scientists cheering for it. It had an atmosphere and was once hailed as one of the most important planets outside Solar System.

The planet lost the atmosphere!

And 'regrew' it!

Planet GJ 1132 b was discovered in the year 2015. It's a rocky planet about 1.16 times the size of Earth. And it's situated at a sweet distance of just 41 lightyears away. Though this distance may appear to be a lot in human terms, it's nothing considering the size of space.

Scientists used a giant telescope in Chile to observe the planet as it revolved around its star and found out that it indeed had an atmosphere. It was found that the planet had an atmosphere made up of Hydrogen. The researchers made a computer model and found that "atmospheric loss" took place on the planet.

But later, as more observations were made through Hubble space telescope, the planet was shown to have atmosphere containing hydrogen, hydrogen cyanide, methane, and ammonia. This was a surprise.

The planet appeared to have 'regrown' the atmosphere.

In their paper in The Astronomical Journal, the researchers said that it was possible that the Hydrogen in the atmosphere was absorbed by the magma on the surface. They also say that core of the planet is still hot and volcanic activity on the surface has resulted in formation of a new atmosphere but with a different composition.