Astronomers discovered for the first time the surrounding layer of gases-atmosphere, surrounding an exoplanet known as super-Earth Gj 1132B. This is the most earth-like planet around which an atmosphere has been spotted, marking a new age in which life on other planets could be detected. The planet is orbiting a red dwarf star known as GJ 1132 located at approximately 40 light years away from earth. Scientists made the discovery by measuring the slight decrease in brightness as the planet´s layer of gases absorbed the star´s light while transiting just in front of the star.

The diameter of this planet is approximately 20% larger than the diameter of the earth and its mass is calculated to be 1.6 times the mass of the earth. It orbits its star in 1.6 days and lies at 1.4 million miles from it. The diameter of its host star is 20% that of the sun. Due to the distance this planet is from its star, it receives more radiation than is received by the earth from the sun.

Life on other planets

This type of life also called alien life is life that does not originate on earth but on exoplanets. These life forms can be single celled organisms or other beings whose civilization, presumably, could be far more advanced than ours. Although scientists believe other life forms could exist on other galaxies, none have been detected until now.

It´s believed that finding earth-like planets situated at a distance from its host star and receiving a similar quantity of solar radiation from its star as the one earth receives from the sun, could allow the development of life forms as we know them here on earth.

How do scientists search for life on other planets?

Currently, scientists search for the chemical composition of the explant in study, such as its atmosphere.

The imbalances perceived in the composition of an atmosphere appoint to the presence of living organisms. In biology, the presence of oxygen stimulates the production of chemical energy, which is needed by all living organisms. Before the discovery of GJ 1132b, scientists had only discovered planets which were too big, such as planet Jupiter or larger than the earth. With the discovery of GJ 1132b, scientists will have the opportunity to study a planet that is more earth-like.