This article is supported by Skillshare on May 15th, the team at Northrop Grumman released a photo of the James Webb Space Telescope folded into its launch configuration for the first time and I got tingly in some places.
It was my foot cuz. I was sitting on it, but still James Webb has been a long time coming. It was originally conceived in 1996. It was first supposed to go up in 2018 right now. It’s scheduled for a March 2021 launch fingers crossed, but they have to get everything perfect because it’s, not gon na be orbiting anywhere near Earth.
It’s. Gon na be out of the Lagrange to point, which is about a million miles away, so they won’t, be able to service it. If something goes wrong like they were with Hubble’s, so these delays are necessary and the delays will be worth it.
The capability of this telescope is just mind-blowing actually screw. That Hubble was mind-blowing. Hubble made us completely rethink everything. We knew about the scope of the universe and it did it with a 2.
4 meter mirror. Jwst is gon na. Have a six and a half meter mirror for those Imperials out there that’s 21 feet yeah. Another way of looking at it at the Hubble’s. Mirror was the size of this half dollar coin.
The JWST would be the size of this coaster. I mean the proportions. Aren’t perfect, but it & # 39. S close. I did the math mess now when people talk about what James Webb can do you usually hear them talking about how I can see to the edge of the universe in the infrared range, not the radio range, which I said accidentally in the past.
It’s, actually the infrared, but that means it’s, going to give us new clues into the origin of the universe and that’s huge for sure. But what doesn’t get talked about as much is what its gon na do in terms of finding exoplanets, which could be just as relevant ori.
We discovered thousands of exoplanets at this point. Obviously, there’s, a lot that we can learn from those discoveries. But, of course, what we’re, really looking for is planets that could hold life, and for that we’re, looking for earth-like planets around sun-like stars, and this is exceedingly difficult and the two major methods that we use to find these Or the transit method and radio velocity, the transit method involves finding dips in the star’s brightness, as the planet passes directly in front of it.
The radial velocity method measures a wobble in the Stars position. Do the pull of a planet in orbit around it now both of these methods, the planets that we find usually have to be significantly big in order to either pull on their star or cause a dip in that star’s brightness to a level That we can perceive most of these planets are made times the size of Jupiter, and there’s almost impossible that it could support life.
Now wouldn’t, it be great. You might be asking if we could just take a picture of the planet directly. Well, this is called direct imaging because you’re, taking a direct image of the planet. Now direct imaging is extremely hard because stars are millions of times brighter than the planets that orbit them.
And yes, we have found some planets this way, but again they are very large jupiter-sized planets that are big enough for us to actually see the reflection of the star off of that planet. So yeah. If we’re looking for earth sized planets, we’re, probably missing some of the best candidates.
Out there I mean if an alien civilization was looking at our star using the same methods that we’re using, they might see Jupiter, but they’d. Have no idea. We were here. So the exciting thing about JWST is not only.
Will it be able to capture extremely high-resolution images, but it’s? Also gon na have a coronagraph on board. This is not a graph of the corona virus. A coronagraph is basically an artificial Eclipse.
It blocks the star’s light. So we can see the planets orbiting around it. This, combined with the insane resolution of the JWST, is likely to give our first direct images of an earth-sized exoplanet. This is huge.
Now everything I just said was about sun-like stars. We have been able to find some earth sized planets around much smaller red dwarf stars, including some planets that are in the habitable zone. The only thing is, they might be earth sized, but they’re, not earth-like.
They’re known as eyeball planets and while they may be great candidates for life, it wouldn’t, be like anything. We’ve ever seen before eyeball planets or rocky icy worlds, with a distinctly creepy. Look.
That has everything to do with their orbital mechanics, which is another way of saying they’re tidally locked now. The common definition of tidal locking is that the planet’s. Rotational period is the same as its orbital period, but I hate that definition.
It’s needlessly complicated. All you need to know is that tidal, locking means that the same side of the planet faces the star at all times. The moon, for example, is tightly locked with the earth, meaning the same side faces us at all times.
We see the exact same side of the moon every time we look up there and that’s. Why we call the other side of the moon in the dark side, because we can’t see it from here, not without space probes. So when they say that the rotational period is the same as the orbital period, it’s, you know it’s technically true, the moon does turn once in its.
You know trip around the earth, but for all intents and purposes, but in the earth-moon system you’re fixed. It does rotate in relation to the Sun, though so somebody’s. Standing on the equator of the moon would have two weeks of daytime in two weeks of night, which is one of the reasons why NASA’s.
Artemis program is looking at the poles to set up their moon bases because it would have Sun all the time and you could use that Sun to make energy bad and the fact that some of the craters at the poles are shielded from sunlight at all times.
And there’s, some nice sweet water ice down there. That you know would be nice to have now tightly locked planets. On the other hand, they have the same side facing their star at all times, which means that the hot side stays hot and the cool side stays cool kind of like a mcdlt.
If you’re too young to know what a mcdlt is it’s, this thing that McDonald’s did back in the 80s where they had this two-sided container and they kept the meat the hot side on one side And then the the lettuce and tomato on the other side so that you know the hot side stayed hot and the cool side stayed well.
I’ll, just let the commercial explain! You see that just once you’d, like your hamburger, hot and your lettuce and tomato cooled and crisp all at the same time. Yes, well, I’d. Say you’ve got I’m talking big Donald’s, lettuce and tomato hamburger and the reason they call them eyeball planets is because the one side facing the star at all times would be this scorched desert, whereas the Other side would be covered in permafrost, giving us sort of a an eyeball effect.
So if you um, if you look at it like hold up, was that Jason Alexander’? It is this Jason Alexander Stewart’s, Costanza singing about a burger. They’re, just they’re, so happy’. What was this article bad again exoplanets right? Well, if we want to find earth-like exoplanets out there, the meaning planets roughly the size of Earth and habitable zones of their stars.
We’re stable, liquid water could cause life to eventually form and maybe evolve and someday dance down the street singing about burgers. Then our best options with the you know, methods that we have available right now might be red dwarfs because those are stars.
Small enough that an earth-sized planet can actually affect it in a way that we can detect using our methods, but a red dwarf system is very different from ours. Red dwarfs are between 7.5 % and 50 % the size of our Sun, and they burn much cooler around 3500 degrees Celsius, whereas ours is closer to 5,500 degrees.
This means the habitable zone around a red dwarf star, is way closer than our own and the planets orbit much closer to like way closer. The Trappist one system is a great example of this. It has seven planets orbiting and all of them could fit inside the orbit of mercury several times.
Actually Travis one is a red dwarf star it’s about 40 light-years from Earth, so practically a next-door neighbor. It’s, only eight percent, the mass of the Sun and it’s. Planets were discovered in 2017 of the seven Trappist 1 world’s.
3 are in the habitable zone of the star, incapable of having liquid water. This habitable zone also happens to overlap with a region that would be most likely to produce an eye ball planet now. This is partly because of their proximity to the star, but also Travis.
One is old, like really old old enough, that these planets would have enough time to tightly lock. Exoplanets are designated by letters in the trap is one system they start with the B, so the third and fourth rock from Travis twine Travis one D & amp E respectively.
These had the most likelihood of having environments similar to earth if they have water and their eye. Most fears are thick enough. Now those are big IFS. Obviously, but the trap is: one system has been a gold mine for exoplanet hunters, especially the ones interested in eyeball planets, because you see the whole range of eyeball planets in this system.
Travis, one D is probably a bit too close, basically as scorching the star side of the planet and creating a desert hemisphere, Travis 1e might be far enough away to have some water on the star side and Travis 1f is a cold ice-covered eyeball with an iris And melted ocean facing the star now the Travis one worlds may not look anything like these artists depictions of them, but they do kind of fall in line with what astrophysicists have learned about eyeball planets over the years, we can probably expect to find a whole lot More eyeball planets in the universe, in fact they may be the norm right here in our solar system, there are several tightly locked moons, including Jupiter,’s Europa, which is one of the places that we’re.
Looking at for trying to find extraterrestrial life, Titan is locked to Saturn Pluto and its moon. Charon are tightly locked with each other oddly enough and Mercury makes three rotations for every two of its orbits around the Sun kind of a unique form of tidal, locking it’s thought that left of themselves over time, most astronomical bodies will become tightly Locked and understand why we have to talk about bulges planets are just globs of stuff, and the density of that stuff is not always evenly distributed.
Even the Earth’s, isn’t perfectly distributed. This is especially true during the formation of a planet when it’s. A lot more fluid the density of that planet can kind of drift off from the center a little bit causing a bulge.
This bulge can lead that side of the planet to eventually favor the center of mass in the system – and this is especially true and when the planet is really close to the star to explain this. We got to take a second and talk about the inverse square law.
The inverse square law basically means that a specified physical quantity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance of the source of the physical property. What that means in English is that if you have a point source of energy or a force like gravity or light, it will radiate out in the sphere in 3d space from that point source.
So the further away you get from that point source, the more diluted. The effect that’s, why a piece of paper held one foot away from a light bulb looks a lot brighter than at that same piece of paper held five feet away, because just fewer photons are hitting it at five feet away.
The same is true with gravity the closer you are to the Sun, the stronger you feel the pull of gravity, which is why the inner planets rotate around in their it’s, much faster than the outer planets, because they have to go that fast.
To escape the stronger pull of gravity, but what this also means is that if you’re, a large body like say a planet and you’re really close to the star. The side facing the star is actually gon na. Feel the pull of gravity harder than the other side of the planet.
Now, when you take this effect to the extreme, you get what they say. What happened to you if you fell into a black hole which is basically as you approach the event horizon the gravity? Your feet is so much infinitely stronger than the gravity of your head that your body would spaghettify into a single string of atoms, which would feel like yoga, and this is why planets that orbit, really close to their stars tend to get tightly locked.
Because the closer you are to the star, the stronger, the discrepancy of the pull between one side versus the other and if that planet or moon has a bulge that makes it ever so slightly asymmetrical. That bulge will favour toward the star, and this is exactly what happened to the moon in the early days.
It was much closer to Earth because it was literally blasted off the surface of the earth and, of course, the moon tugs back a task creating bulges of water, that we experiences tides so now that we know that eyeball planets exist.
What does that mean to us? Like what could we find there? Well, like we talked about with the Trappist one system. There are different types of eyeball planets, depending on how close they are to the star, and the intensity of the star, planets too close to their star would have trouble, maintaining any water or even any atmosphere, creating a desert hellscape with a frozen wasteland.
On the other side, you know, planets at the far side of the habitable zone might be covered in ice with only a tiny pupil of wet water facing the Sun. Now it’s, thought that these planets might have a planet-wide subsurface ocean that could Harbor life and possibly geologic events to provide heat.
Now. One problem with these types of planets is that it’s, thought that if that pupil of water ever froze over completely, it would probably never unfreeze, because the ice would have a higher albedo and reflect more light, preventing it from melting again.
But of course, the real Goldilocks zone would be somewhere in between those two where the iris of the eye ball might be a scorching desert. That’s uninhabitable. But as you get out towards the edges, you might find a ring of life where glacial meltwater could create rivers.
So it’s expected that the air on the hot side of the planet would evaporate water and then carry it back over air currents. To the cold side of the planet, where it would freeze fall to the ground form glaciers, the glaciers have been melt into the rivers that would flow into the hot side, get evaporated and cycle back through all over again.
So, while the ring of life might be paradise, it might be a windy paradise, but it’s that dynamic environment, that cycle of evaporation and refreezing that might actually be beneficial for creating complex life.
Now one concern for the stability of iBall planets is that, as ice builds up on the other side of it, it might actually create so much mass that it overcomes the Bulge that’s, holding it in place, causing the entire planet to rotate or Flip imagine living on an eyeball planet where suddenly, the Sun just travels to the other side of the planet.
And now you’re in the dark and it’s, a hundred below zero and there’s. Violent storms in the atmosphere, now speaking of the atmosphere holding on to that atmosphere, might be a challenge in an eyeball planet because it’s so close to that star that it’s, constantly being bombarded by x-rays and UV rays.
That can strip the planet of its atmosphere. This is exactly what happened to Mars, and this is why it only has 1 % the atmosphere that we have, because it doesn’t have a strong magnetic shield like we do so.
The solar radiation just picked off the atmosphere over time only it would be way worse on an eyeball planet because it’s, so close to the star again the inverse square law. In fact, it was thought for a long time that this would preclude any possibility of life forming on an eyeball planet, because it was thought it couldn’t hold on to its atmosphere.
It’s hard to imagine having an internal dynamo on a planet that doesn’t spin, but new models suggest otherwise, because the same conditions that lead to tidal, locking can also lead to tidal heating. This is where the gravitational pull of the star would actually deform the planet so much that it would cause internal heating, leading it to become molten.
You can see this in action on Jupiter’s, moon Io. It gets yanked around by Jupiter so much it’s, actually the most geologically active body in the solar system and, of course, in molten rock. The heaviest elements would sink to the center, possibly creating a spinning, solid iron core, creating a dynamo in a magnetic field that would make a a nice little place to live nice, but very different, like here’s, something to think about.
How would the nato’s of an eyeball planet tell time there would be no day or night cycles their Sun would never set. It were even move around in the sky. That much time would be more of a spatial thing than a temporal thing.
There would be rings of different landscapes and flora and fauna that are adapted to some air, where the Sun is high in the sky. Somewhere it’s in a permanent sunset or sunrise. Would creatures evolved in a place like that even sleep or have circadian rhythms of any kind, and they might have seasons due to a slight wobble and it’s, tidal locking, but nothing on any kind of regular basis like we have and depending on The atmosphere, they might never see any stars, they might never know that it existed, except for the cultures on the dark, far side and in fact you can imagine the cultures on the Sun side.
Would you know here are the stories from the dark side, people about the twinkly lights in the sky and they might be like? Oh, they’re ritual. You know myth believing yokels or something all that might sound fantastical, but I’m.
All planets might be aware our species ends up in the long run, assuming we survive ourselves, which is a caveat that I feel needs to be added these days. The Sun isn’t going to last forever. It’s already halfway through its cycle and in fact, in about a billion years, or so it’s.
Gon na heat. Up to the point that planet Earth is probably gon na, be uninhabitable, but red dwarfs which are prone to eyeball planets, burn much more slowly and last way way longer there, the Galapagos tortoise of stars red dwarfs, burn so long that none of them have ever burned Out yet, and they’re not expected to for tens or hundreds of billions, maybe even trillions of years.
So if we ever became an interstellar species and really wanted to go the distance finding a red dwarf with an inhabitable eyeball planet. Maybe a couple of extra planets that we could use to create a Dyson swarm around.
It might be the way to go kind of like the way we had the small bird seed. Vault is a bit of a repository for all the seeds in case of a global catastrophe someday. Maybe we could find a red dwarf star out there with an eyeball planet that could become our repository for humanity place where even if everything else falls apart, we could write things out to the bitter end.
You know icy planets could be made more comfortable by creating orbital mirrors that can reflect sunlight back onto it, and hot planets can be made cooler by creating giant solar shades and both of those could be applied to eyeball planets and make the entire planet more inhabitable.
Because when it comes to planets, you really want to spread the heat around, you want more of the rotisserie than well. You know if you ever got a chance to visit an eyeball planet. You’d, probably get some fantastic photos in the lands of always sunset.
So before you do that, you might want to watch the course outdoor photography, shooting at sunset, sunrise and night on Skillshare or – and this is a crazy idea – you could probably apply that here on earth to Tod by adventure photographer Chris Burkard.
This class specifically walks you, through some of the best techniques to capture photos at the Golden Hour. It’s sunset and at night, including the use of long exposures, the best framing get the most out of your shot tips.
We’re shooting into the Sun and the best equipment to bring along the way to get the most bang out of your buck, Marisa shot for Toyota Apple and Microsoft. He’s, become a master at capturing, inspiring images that happen in a moment’s notice, something you have to be able to do at sunset when you only have fifteen or thirty minutes to take advantage of the light, and this course He shows you what to look for how to prepare and what to do to make the most of nature’s biggest light show.
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