Astronomers have discovered a planet so extreme that it makes up our “twisted”; sister planet, Venus – with a temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit, corrosive sulfuric clouds and a surface atmosphere. the face is 90 times denser than Earth, having crushed nine Soviet probes – that looks like a Disney World Theme Park.
A strange, terrifying planet
Scientists from McGill University, York University, and the Indian Institute of Science Education, have announced the discovery of a strange planet the size of Earth, K2-141b, has “volatility and precipitation. precipitation of rock, ultrasonic winds raging above 5000 km / hr, a molten ocean of magma 100 km deep and endless daylight for 2/3 of its surface. “
First weather forecast – On atmosphere of rocks
“This study is the first to predict weather conditions on K2-141b that can be detected hundreds of light years by using next-generation telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope. , ”Lead author Giang Nguyen at York University, who worked with the team that used computer simulation to predict the conditions on K2-141b with the surface, ocean, and atmosphere all made up of The components are the same: stone. The extreme weather forecasted by their analysis could permanently change the surface and atmosphere of K2-141b over time.
Permanent daylight, 3000 C, Vaporized rock
McGill University reports that the team found that about two-thirds of the K2-141b face permanent daylight – instead of the illuminated hemisphere we are accustomed to on Earth with. K2-141b belongs to a subset of rocky planets orbiting very close to their star. This closeness keeps the exoplanet gravitationally locked.
The night side withstands freezing temperatures below -200 degrees Celsius. The daytime side of the exoplanets, estimated at around 3000 degrees Celsius, is hot enough to not only melt the rocks, but also evaporate them, eventually creating an Thin atmosphere in some areas.
“Our discovery could mean that the atmosphere slightly extended beyond the shores of the magma ocean, making the discovery,” said Nicolas Cowan, professor at the Department of Earth & Planetary Science at McGill University. with a space telescope becomes easier.
According to McGill, an atmosphere of rock vapor created by extremely high temperatures undergoes precipitation, like the water cycle on Earth, “where water evaporates, evaporates into the atmosphere, condenses and falls again. in the form of precipitation, sodium, silicon monoxide, and silicon dioxide above K2-141b.
“On Earth, rain flows back into the oceans, where it once again evaporates and the water cycle is repeated. On K2-141b, mineral vapor formed by evaporated rock is swept by ultrasonic winds at night and ‘hail’ rocks back to the magma ocean. As a result, currents flow back to the hot day side of the exoplanet, where the rock evaporates again. “
According to scientists, the cycle on K2-141b is not as stable as the one on Earth. The return flow of the magma ocean towards the daytime is slow, and as a result they predict that the mineral composition will change over time – ultimately changing the surface and atmosphere of K2-141b.
A glimpse of a Molten world
“All the rocky planets, including the Earth, started out as a molten world but then quickly cooled down and solidified. The lava planets give us a rare glimpse into this planetary evolutionary stage, ”said Dr. Giang Nguyen’s supervisor, Nicolas Cowan.
Next Steps – Enter the Spitzer & James Webb space telescope
The next step will be to test whether these predictions are correct, scientists say. The team now has data from the Spitzer Space Telescope to give them their first glimpse of the day and night temperatures of an alien planet. With the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2021, they will also be able to verify if the atmosphere is working as predicted.
Source: “Atmospheric modeling of the lava planet K2-141b: effects on low and high resolution spectra” by T. Giang Nguyen, Nicolas Cowan, Agnibha Banerjee and John Moores published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The Daily Galaxy, Jake Burba, through McGill University
Image credit: K2-141b: Julie Roussy, McGill Graphic Design