|Another Stellar Neighborhood (Photo by Bobak Ha'Eri)|
It used to be that a “stellar neighborhood” meant something akin to Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Nowadays it refers to a solar system that is light years away. In particular, it refers to GJ 1132b, “the closest rocky exoplanet to have ever been found.”
Although quite rocky (and metallic, to boot), this exoplanet may turn out to be far different from Earth. Deborah Netburn of the Los Angeles Times tells us that “Rocky’s” average temperature is “a broiling 500 degrees Fahrenheit.” That’s because it’s a mere 1.4 million miles from the star that it orbits.
But yo, Adrian, don’t get discouraged! Just because "Rocky's" temps are “as hot as the highest setting on your home oven” doesn’t mean that there aren’t any similarities to our home planet. GJ 1132b might even have somewhat of an atmosphere.
A closer look at “Rocky” with a bigger telescope might reveal some clues as to how Earth was formed. At the very least, this view should be good for at least four sequels.
Copyright November 12, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved