- Astronomers have discovered a distant exoplanet that is incredibly intense and we know that life does not last even a second.
- Temperatures above 3,000C, volcanic oceans and supersonic winds threaten the planet’s surface, while intense heat evaporates the rock, followed by precipitation from above.
- The planet is locked in waves with its star, and its night side temperature drops below 200C.
In recent years, we have learned a lot about exoplanets – the planets that are outside our own solar system – thanks to increasingly powerful telescope technology. We saw frozen cold planets and planets that are super-hot balls of gas. Now, researchers have found something as hostile as you might think.
In A new study Posted in Monthly Announcements of the Royal Astronomical Society, Researchers describe the planet as K2-141b, a rocky world roughly the size of Earth covered in volcanoes, but this is not the only reason you do not want to visit. The planet consists of precipitating rocks and winds moving at supersonic speeds. Yes, it is very bitter.
As you may have guessed, K2-141b is very absurd because it sits very close to its host star. This incredibly close relationship led to extremely high conditions on its already uninhabitable surface. These include rocks – yes, rocks – and wind blowing around the planet at over 3,000 miles per hour. This is the absolute peak of “extreme”.
The planet is tidal with its star, meaning that unlike Earth, the planet always points to one side of its star and does not rotate freely. On the opposite side of the star you can see something like a huge magma ocean, but on the other hand? Cold temperature. In fact, researchers estimate that the temperature on the dark side of the planet will drop to -200C, while the side facing the star will sit up to 3,000C.
As the heat is so intense on the day side of the planet it actually melts and evaporates the rock. That rock then follows the same kind of rain cycle that water does on Earth. It rises in the atmosphere and condenses and falls back to Earth. It’s really rocky because the planet is so hot.
“All rocky planets, including Earth, began as molten worlds, but quickly cooled and solidified. Lava planets give us a rare view at this stage of planetary evolution,” said Nicola Cowan, professor of earth and planetary science at McGill University.
Studying these distant worlds and understanding their evolution over time will help scientists better predict what other planetary systems will look like, how they will change over time, and what we can expect if we try to explore these parts of space.