Cornell: Exoplanet Climate 'Decoder' Aids Search for Life

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Cornell: Exoplanet Climate 'Decoder' Aids Search for Life

Post by bystander » Sat May 23, 2020 6:50 pm

Astronomers Develop ‘Decoder’ to Gauge Exoplanet Climate
Cornell University | 2020 May 18
After examining a dozen types of suns and a roster of planet surfaces, Cornell astronomers have developed a practical model – an environmental color “decoder” – to tease out climate clues for potentially habitable exoplanets in galaxies far away.

“We looked at how different planetary surfaces in the habitable zones of distant solar systems could affect the climate on exoplanets,” said Jack Madden ... “Reflected light on the surface of planets plays a significant role not only on the overall climate,” Madden said, “but also on the detectable spectra of Earth-like planets.” ...

In their research, they combine detail of a planet’s surface color and the light from its host star to calculate a climate. For instance, a rocky, black basalt planet absorbs light well and would be very hot, but add sand or clouds and the planet cools; and a planet with vegetation and circling a reddish K-star will likely have cool temperatures because of how those surfaces reflect their suns’ light. ...

How Surfaces Shape the Climate of Habitable Exoplanets ~ Jack Madden, Lisa Kaltenegger
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