Planets

Blog about planets.

Thaumasia mountains and Coracis Fossae (Image ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

ESA has released some photos taken by its Mars Express space probe showing an area of ​​the Thaumasia mountains and Coracis Fossae on Mars. This area is south of the gigantic canyon system called Valles Marineris and of Tharsis volcanoes and shows traces of the activity that led to their formation more than 3.5 billion years ago. The result is a variety of features with mountains and graben.

Artist's concept of the the TRAPPIST-1 system seen from an area near TRAPPIST-1f (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article to be pulished in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes a research on the age of the TRAPPIST-1 system. This ultra-cool dwarf star has become increasingly popular thanks to the results of research on its planets. One of the problems was to establish its age and astronomer Adam Burgasser of the University of California, San Diego, and Eric Mamajek of NASA’s JPL provided an estimate between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years.

Artist's representation of WASP-121b (Image NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STSci))

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the observation of the stratosphere of an exoplanet called WASP-121b, a hot Jupiter with an orbit very close to its star. A team of researchers led by Tom Evans of the University of Exeter used the Hubble Space Telescope to study it and find evidence that it has a stratosphere, a layer of its atmosphere where the temperature gets higher than that of its lower layers. It could be the first exoplanet that was proven to have a stratosphere.

Artist's concept of a gas giant planet with a habitable exomoon (Image courtesy Andy McLatchie)

An article sent to arXiv, the famous archive of preprint, describes the discovery of an exomoon candidate. A team of researchers led by David Kipping of Columbia University conducted a search for moons orbiting exoplanets observed by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope finding the candidate called Kepler-1625b I. Generally, research results are published on a scientific journal at the end of the work but rumors spread convincing the researchers to send an article at least to arXiv.

The possible impact area on Mars (Image MOLA Science Team)

An article published in “Geophysical Research Letters” describes a study that attributes to a gigantic meteoric impact on Mars’ northern hemisphere almost 4.5 billion years ago some of the red planet’s features. According to Stephen Mojzsis of University of Colorado Boulder and Ramon Brasser of Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan that’s the cause of the presence of rare metals, of the differences between the northern and southern hemisphere and perhaps even the existence of its two moons.