APR 11, 2016 11:50 AM PDT

Researchers Reveal Most Detailed Map of Distant Molten Exoplanet Yet

Scientists have their eyes on a massive Earth-like exoplanet that was discovered in 2011 called 55 Cancri e in the Cancer constellation almost 40 light years away from Earth. The exoplanet has a very rocky texture to it with tons of molten rock, and it’s so hot that the atmosphere of it may have been evaporated on its own from just the sheer heat alone.
 
So why is the planet so hot? New mapping details of the exoplanet, which claim to be some of the most detailed yet, might reveal some clues.
 

Distant exoplanet 55 Cancri e has been mapped to the most extraordinary detail to date.


Published in Nature, a paper explains the most detailed map of 55 Cancri e to date. The study suggests that the planet is tidally locked to a neighboring star, and as it orbits the star, the same side is always facing it. As a result, that specific side is over twice as hot as the other.
 
The side that is locked to the neighboring star reportedly gets as hot as 2500º Celsius, while the side that faces away from the star only hits about 1100º Celsius.
 
To be that hot, you can imagine that the planet orbits its neighboring star very closely, and you’d be right. It orbits so closely that it only takes 18 hours for the planet to complete a full orbit around its parent star. So in this system, 18 hours is the same as a year here on Earth.
 
“We haven’t yet found any other planet that is this small and orbits so close to its parent star, and is relatively close to us, so 55 Cancri e offers lots of possibilities,” said lead author Dr Brice-Olivier Demor. “We still don’t know exactly what this planet is made of – it’s still a riddle. These results are like adding another brick to the wall, but the exact nature of this planet is still not completely understood.”
 
But that’s not the strange part; 55 Cancri e actually has heat coming from an underlying source that isn’t its parent star. This is what continues to baffle scientists.
 
Some theories suggest that the molten lava flows slowly to the cooler side of the exoplanet, but not as efficiently because the rock is mostly solid on the cooler side of the planet. This activity could be propelling some of the heat transfer from the warm side to the cooler side.
 


Source: University of Cambridge

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 15, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 15, 2018
This Hot Exoplanet's Atmosphere Contains Gaseous Atomic Iron and Titanium
Exoplanetary research is a hot commodity among astronomers. Not only can it teach us more about planetary formation and the birth of our solar system, but...
AUG 22, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 22, 2018
NASA's InSight Spacecraft is Halfway to Mars, and Everything is Working
Just this week, NASA announced a significant milestone regarding the space agency’s InSight mission. The spacecraft, which launched from California&r...
AUG 29, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 29, 2018
Ever Wonder How Long it Takes to Get to Mars? Watch This
Sending missions to Mars isn’t as easy as it may seem at first glance. The solar system is continuously shifting as planets orbit the Sun, so it&rsqu...
SEP 24, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 24, 2018
Earth's History May Hold Clues About Where to Look for Otherworldly Vegetation
Astronomers restlessly search for distant exoplanets, not only because they can teach us more about the planet we live on, but also because they may contai...
SEP 25, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 25, 2018
Japan Put Two Landers On An Asteroid for Science
Japanese space agency JAXA recently made history after its Hayabusa 2 mission approached the asteroid 162173 Ryugu and dumped off two landers to study the ...
OCT 22, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 22, 2018
Watch NASA's IOP/SS Deluge System Spew 450,000 Gallons of Water in Just 60 Seconds
NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System (SLS) rocket received a ton of hype in recent memory, and for a good reason; it’s set to surpass the legend...
Loading Comments...