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أطروحة دكتوراه مغربية تحقق في الأغلفة الجوية للكواكب الخارجية

A Moroccan doctoral thesis investigating the atmospheres of exoplanets

This week, the Semlalia Faculty of Sciences in Marrakech witnessed the discussion of a doctoral thesis by student researcher Jamila Shawkar on the topic of studying the atmospheres of exoplanets and their viability.

Chaoukar discussed her thesis entitled: “Detectability and characterization of exo-atmospheres with JWST” before a jury of ten Moroccan and foreign professors.

The thesis, which was very honored, was concerned with understanding the characteristics of the atmospheres that can be observed in the exoplanets, which are the targets of space and terrestrial observations.

Sugar said, in a statement to Hespress, that the discovery of a huge number of exoplanets to this day made the scientific community enter the era of in-depth description of these worlds.

The researcher stated that “the observations of these planets showed a great diversity in the discovered planets, ranging from the discovery of hot Jupiter planets to the so-called “super-terrestres” and the small planet Neptune, which are unparalleled planets in our solar system.”

Sugar pointed out that “observations of these planets showed a plurality of their physical properties, and great progress has been made in understanding and distinguishing them, and among these features, we find that the atmosphere is the most interesting feature,” adding that “the characterization of the atmospheres of these planets is a very important matter. To reveal the origins and nature of these distant worlds, and even their potential to host any form of life.”

The Moroccan researcher worked on studying the ability of the James Webb space telescope, which was launched at the end of last year and is the fruit of cooperation between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, to monitor various atmospheres, including their chemical components, as she reported that the description of the atmosphere of small exoplanets. In the coming years, it will become more accurate, with the development of analytical knowledge and technology and with the arrival of new generations of space and ground-based telescopes.

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Shogar stated that her simulations showed the ability of the telescope to monitor molecules, such as methane, water, and everything that contains carbon and hydrogen important for life, in a particular atmosphere, in a very short time and with very high accuracy.

The spokeswoman stated that this telescope, which was launched last December, with a very large budget, will revolutionize astronomy as it is the largest telescope and can monitor distant and small objects, especially since the orbit in which it will be very far, is scheduled to start sending the first information in next June. .

For his part, Zuhair Benkhaldoun, Professor of Astronomy at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, who is supervising his doctoral thesis, said that Jamila Shoukar’s research focused on monitoring the biomarkers (biomarqueurs) of exoplanets and the possibility and quality of life in them.

Benkhaldoun stated that the student researcher conducted a simulation that was able to predict the vital signs that exist in the atmospheres of some exoplanets, which were placed by the supervising crew of the space telescope “James Webb” within its monitoring program.

Benkhaldoun, director of the Oukaimeden astronomical observatory who has contributed to a number of scientific discoveries in astronomy, said that this thesis is the third of its kind in Morocco with regard to the study of exoplanets, and the first in terms of studying the atmospheres of these planets.