What makes Earth's atmosphere so special?

rod

Oct 22, 2019
1,250
407
1,060
As space.com report said "We Earthlings think we're oh-so-special. The abundance of oxygen in our atmosphere and the presence of liquid water on the surface of our planet makes our "Pale Blue Dot" stand out in contrast to the other planets in the solar system — a unique and fragile home for life."

Clearly there are some real differences between Earth's, mostly N2O2 atmosphere and other planets in our solar system documented. Perhaps, Earth is special :)

Compare atmospheres found in exoplanet studies too, a small number have atmospheres measured out of an inventory larger than 4300. Example, 'Telescope Teamwork Reveals Gas Dwarf Planet's Atmosphere', https://www.space.com/nasa-telescopes-reveal-exoplanet-atmosphere.html, "The scientists predicted GJ 3470 b's atmosphere would be full of oxygen and carbon, the same elements that are at the root of the water vapor and methane gas observed at Neptune. "Instead, we found an atmosphere that is so poor in heavy elements that its composition resembles the hydrogen- [and] helium-rich composition of the sun,"

Accretion disks observed around young stars contain CO for much of the disk content. 'Modeling the Spatial Distribution and Origin of CO Gas in Debris Disks', https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019ApJ...878..113H/abstract

HINTS OF YOUNG SOLAR SYSTEMS, https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/hints-of-young-solar-systems/
 
  • Like
Reactions: Catastrophe
Feb 18, 2020
1,032
792
1,570
"We Earthlings think we're oh-so-special."

Yes. We wonder at the miracles of how everything is just right for us when the reality is that we adapted to what was here -- not vice versa.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rod

rod

Oct 22, 2019
1,250
407
1,060
Interesting comment by Cat in post #3. I note we have 4333 exoplanets now reported at this site, http://exoplanet.eu/catalog/, and 4276 exoplanets reported at this site, https://exoplanetarchive.ipac.caltech.edu/index.html

*Adapted* is a very interesting word. At the moment, I am not aware of reports documenting that life adapted on any of the more than 4300 exoplanets documented. Somehow, here in our solar system, Earth is populated with life that *adapted* to the Earth while even planets like Mars or Venus in our solar system, life is not verified as living there today or for example, a fossil record from the past showing life evolved on those planets :)
 
Jun 1, 2020
457
301
560
There's a real chance, IMO, that we won't find any planet like Earth in most of the galaxy, perhaps all the galaxy. But we can learn from all the rest on how it all works to better help us understand just what we have.

As for CO, I think this is one of those molecules astronomers can locate in clouds and disks, so reports of finding it has a lot to do with the fact it's somewhat easy to identify. [Perhaps I should have read the article, admittedly.]
 
Jun 1, 2020
457
301
560
Hmmmmm . . . . . . . . . I always thought that probability was a bit iffy!
Well, I would say you're probably right. ;)

The topic of atmospheres is very important since it will likely be the next set of great astronomical data that comes our way in our search for both planets harboring life and ones we could have a summer home (winter home?) :)

But what we've found so far is just a crude, albeit exciting, start. The confirmed number of a several thousand exoplanets comes from just detecting them -- a bump in the photon flux of the host star, a little regular wiggle in the spectral lines, etc. No image of any that would make a nice screen saver; when imaged directly (a handful only) they're just dim dots. We had to go to Pluto to get that one and we can't seem to even find the next one beyond it (i.e. Planet 9).

Nevertheless, with improved spectroscopy from the near-future giant scopes, some of the composition of exoplanet atmospheres will be resolvable by subtracting out the host-star's spectrum. This limits the number since a transiting system is required, but they may be the leading number of observed exoplanets.
 
Jun 1, 2020
457
301
560
The topic of atmospheres is very important since it will likely be the next set of great astronomical data that comes our way in our search for both planets harboring life and ones we could have a summer home (winter home?) :)
Well, I suppose Venus would be easier to search. ;)
 
Sep 16, 2020
3
0
10
For life to be in space, to sustain it Life force to be present. One of the main reason for Earth to have life is its position with respect to Sun.

Also the thinking facility is very essential for Life. Each organ in our body functions because of its latent Intelligence.

The observation reveals that looking from Earth the Sun and our Moon appear almost the same Angular size.

The reason for this is the ratio of the distance from Earth to the diameter of the object (Sun and Moon respectively) is almost 107 to 110.

Our search in the Space for this unique coincidence can be a factor to determine life in a planet.

This may be a wild guess based on observation and perspective...
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY