APR 11, 2016 11:50 AM PDT

Researchers Reveal Most Detailed Map of Distant Molten Exoplanet Yet

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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
JUN 30, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Axion: Could the Curious Particle "Kill Two Birds with One Stone"
JUN 30, 2020
Axion: Could the Curious Particle "Kill Two Birds with One Stone"
Physicists often ponder in an unusual way: they use one unsolved problem as a hypothetic solution to another, hoping to ...
SEP 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Turning Pulsars into Deep Space Beacons
SEP 24, 2020
Turning Pulsars into Deep Space Beacons
Navigating beyond Earth's orbit is tricky. Any misstep in movement could lead to the crushes of space probes and ves ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
OCT 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Ultra-hot Exoplanet Vaporizes Iron in its Atmosphere
OCT 09, 2020
Ultra-hot Exoplanet Vaporizes Iron in its Atmosphere
Researchers from the University of Bern in Germany have found that an exoplanet, known as WASP-121b, is so hot that it c ...
OCT 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Discover a Planet That "Shouldn't Exist"
OCT 27, 2020
Researchers Discover a Planet That "Shouldn't Exist"
Neptune was once known as a gas giant, but after scientists found that it was composed of heavy and volatile elements it ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Detect Origin of Fast Radio Burst in Milky Way
Scientists have identified a burst of cosmic radio waves- intense flashes of radio emission that last just a few millise ...
Loading Comments...