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gg_account t1_jdxenq8 wrote

This is actually pretty puzzling. B was thought to have the thickest atmosphere of all the planets because of its low apparent density. This could mean all the planets have underestimated densities, or maybe their composition on a whole is very different from our solar system.


FlingingGoronGonads t1_jdzw1dp wrote

Some red dwarfs are known to have very turbulent flare activity, so I'm not entirely surprised (although I don't know if this is the case for TRAPPIST-1).

Not trying to be a chauvinist here, but when it comes to understanding planets, astrophysics isn't the be-all and end-all, or planetary science wouldn't exist. Planetary atmospheres are very complex, even simple (and ephemeral) ones like Mercury's, for example.


gg_account t1_je09zma wrote

Makes me wonder if B has an atmosphere but it's all frozen into a giant glacier on the night side.


worldbuilding_Curls t1_jdzwe5w wrote

Isn't Trappist 1 supposed to be an ultra-cool red dwarf tho?

I mean it still has flares more powerful than Sun, but it is relatively calm.


HerderOfZues t1_je0iseu wrote

There is also a counter-argument to the activity of red dwarves. Most planetary systems are on the same axis as the star rotation, the axis of rotation has a lot less direct activity that would be constantly blasted at the planets and mainly happens at the poles. So there is still possibility that even active red dwarves can have habitable planets or planets that it didn't completely strip the atmo off


FTL_Diesel t1_je0c1y0 wrote

This has changed a bit. More recent analyses of the TTVs in the system put all the Trappist planets right on the line for Earth/Venus-like composition. See Figure 12 here:


gg_account t1_je0pbaf wrote

Interesting thanks! The data I was looking at was apparently from 2018. So it seems the jump to "there must be a thick atmosphere" came from an assumption that the planet had as much iron as Earth?


FTL_Diesel t1_je17m5v wrote

The observation planning assumed that -1b would have an atmosphere similar to Venus. This is why they observed five eclipses, since a Venus-like atmosphere would have been just detectable after combining all that data. What ended up happening is that the dayside of the planet is much hotter than predicted for a Venus-like atmosphere, and the eclipse was actually detected right off the bat on the first observation!


nmfpriv t1_jdwdznw wrote

Why are they analyzing 1b when the priority ones in habitable zone are e, f and g? Obviously 1b is a dead planet that surprises no one


AlphaDrac t1_jdwfp7n wrote

In order to measure a planet’s atmosphere Webb needs to watch the planet transit it’s star (which provides light that filters through its atmosphere). The wavelengths of filtered light then tell us about the atmosphere (or lack thereof in this case).

This planet just happened to be transiting first, I’m sure they’ll look back and observe the others in the system when it’s their turn.


karlou1984 t1_jdx07ok wrote

Shouldn't be that long hopefully. I thought the orbital time is like 21 days max for these planets, some a lot shorter.


AlphaDrac t1_jdy6mhv wrote

You may also have to consider the orbital planes of the planets. Now I really haven’t looked up anything deep about the Trappist system, but it may be like ours where planets orbit on similar planes, but not the same one. So while each orbital period is relatively short, it might take longer to get ones with good alignment between us and their star. Again, that’s just me guessing. I don’t have time to google it right now


remchien t1_jdya4ce wrote

While usually true, in this case they used MIRI to measure the amount of missing heat when the planet was behind the star as opposed to next to it. A secondary eclipse instead of a transit. They can then make assumptions about the atmosphere with that measured temperature and the fact that it is a tidally locked planet.


3SquirrelsinaCoat t1_jdwvyaj wrote

TRAPPIST system is a significant point of study - there are loads of brilliant people waiting for this data. Stay tuned. 1b is just a little something to wet your whistle.


summerissneaky t1_jdzxkly wrote

I think this effectively dried most whistles out there. We shall see.


gg_account t1_jdx6o50 wrote

Closest planet to star, so most transits, so most data to analyze.


FTL_Diesel t1_je0d3zh wrote

For two reasons:

  1. The inner-most planets are the easiest to observe. It will be almost impossible to observe e, f, and g in secondary eclipse, though there is a transmission spectrum that has been taken of -1g, and another group has observed -1c in secondary eclipse.

  2. It is an overstatement to say that -1b (or any of the planets) would obviously be a bare rock in space. Indeed, the planning for this observation assumed a roughly Venus-like and cooler atmosphere that would have required all five secondary eclipse observations combined to detect any signal. In the event, the planet is a hot rock, and the eclipse was seen in just the first of those five observations, which was quite surprising!


Trumpologist t1_je165x4 wrote

Doesn’t this make C unlikely too :/


FTL_Diesel t1_je16xyc wrote

Not necessarily. It could be that -1c has a Venus-like atmosphere.


powerman228 t1_jdyk3fm wrote

I, for one, am ecstatic that Webb’s early research is leaving us with as many, if not more questions than answers.


[deleted] t1_jdwc1sj wrote



gg_account t1_jdx6fuh wrote

They modeled several scenarios and this temperature almost exactly matches an airless black rock.


mmomtchev t1_jdwcxmn wrote

No one said that all planets must have an atmosphere. I agree that temperature by itself is not a reason for the absence of the atmosphere - however close proximity to the star is - since the stellar wind will strip it, unless the planet has a very strong magnetic field. Venus is not that close to the star - its normal temperature without the green house effect wouldn't have been so high. Also, when you measure the temperature of a planet this way - it is not the the temperature of the surface - but of the emitting layer. And if the emitting layer is so hot - it is probably the ground and there is probably no atmosphere.


lezboyd t1_jdwu0j2 wrote

Plus, Venus is technically in the Sun's Goldilocks Zone. If it weren't for the runaway greenhouse effect, it might as well have been habitable. There are some models that do hint that Venus had water oceans like Earth for a few million years before its atmosphere took a turn.


Just_wanna_talk t1_jdz0trg wrote

What was venus' atmosphere like before? Do we know?


lezboyd t1_jdz42z2 wrote

If you're curious not just about Venus, but for most of the planets and how they evolved, then I'd recommend watching the Mini Series 'The Planets (2019)' hosted by Brian Cox. It's only 5 episodes and they're pretty informative.


StrangeTangerine1525 t1_jdwzw75 wrote

Yes but planets can lose gas to space via thermal escape, at very high rates depending on the temperature. There is also photochemical reactions caused by UV rays that can also drive atmospheric escape, so this planet could have a strong magnetic field and still have no atmosphere, especially if it is this close to its host star, a relatively active red dwarf at that.


PhoenixReborn t1_je2sv0w wrote

>Astronomers think that's too high for the planet to have an atmosphere." Err, Venus?

It's not that a high temperature prevents an atmosphere. The high temperature on the day side is evidence against an atmosphere. A dense atmosphere would redistribute heat around the planet, resulting in a cooler day side. That's not what was observed.


xbolt90 t1_je1n9nx wrote

“Earth-like” “no atmosphere”

Can we please ban already?


fainting-goat t1_jdz650h wrote

Alright, headline team, generate a more ambiguous way to phrase this.

I read it like they were comparing like Earth was the benchmark.


Sigura83 t1_jdzg7lw wrote

Aww, no little green dudes. Well, maybe the other Trappist planets have surprises. Fingers crossed!


TransporterError t1_jdx10le wrote

Of course, there's no atmosphere (any longer)!

The aliens already utilized its precious gaseous elements for the construction of their righteous Dyson swarm.


iwoodificood t1_jdx3o2s wrote

Why bother with a dyson swarm when you can get perfect utilization of energy with an antimatter engine.


Anderopolis t1_jdxt1fr wrote

You need energy to create anti matter, it is essentially a really Fanny battery.


Laxziy t1_jdxh9zo wrote

Can’t mine antimatter. You need to use energy to create it and stars give off a whole lot of energy just sitting there for free so you might as well capture some of it to store as antimatter and use the leftover energy to run everything else


Apostastrophe t1_jeepz5v wrote

Antimatter is an excellent power source but think of it more like a battery, or an energy storage device than providing energy in and of itself.

You can collect some from radiation belts if you have efficient enough facilities, but your best way to create antimatter would be to have something like a dyson swarm collecting lots of solar energy to run a type of particle accelerator and continually collect the small amounts of antimatter it creates for storage.

Then you use the antimatter as an extremely energy dense and efficient portable energy source for things like space ships or deep space space stations in combination with fusion reactors.


iwoodificood t1_jefm6jl wrote

Thanks for the explanation, those are super cool ideas. To an extent, my original comment was in jest, as I really find the guesswork of how future technology will evolve to be quite bold. The assumptions we make of them seems a bit much.


tmtyl_101 t1_jdzndr7 wrote

Initially read it like "James Webb Space Telescope finds no atmosphere on Earth" and thougt, 'how about that. Interesting.'


Namsdrawkcab_a_mI t1_jdznmxh wrote

So… this is very similar to one of my house party’s then. :/