Planet lost its atmosphere after huge impact


Two planets colliding, one suspects, it does damage. Much damage even, to the point of partially destroying the atmosphere of one of them, which American astronomers have discovered.

In this new study, scientists first observed a collision between two planets in a forming planetary system 95 light years from Earth. For this, they focused on a young star, called HD 172555, and which is surrounded by an unusual cloud of dust and carbon monoxide. An unusual phenomenon.

After analysis, they discovered that this cloud orbiting the star, which is only 23 million years old, was caused by an impact of incredible power with another planet. An impact at a speed of 10 kilometers per second, which occurred at least 200,000 years ago.

The consequence of this meeting is particularly interesting: the collision was so violent that part of the planet’s atmosphere would have been lost. “This is the first time that we have observed this phenomenon”, explain toand MIT astronomer Tajana Scheniderman.

Two reasons could notably explain such a disappearance. On the one hand, part of the atmosphere would have been expelled on impact; on the other hand, the collision would have caused a warming of what remains of this atmosphere, accelerating its reduction. We do not wish the same for our dear blue planet.

This discovery is all the more interesting as it now allows astronomers to better understand the formation of other planetary systems by observing, among other things, the amount of carbon monoxide in orbit around a star. A sort of key to better read the history of the planets.


Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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