Scientists think they have identified a world of lava so impressive that it may have a thin regional atmosphere of evaporated rock, where it is closest to the star.
That exoplanets was called K2-141b and was originally discovered in 2017. The world is half the size of Earth but orbits very close to its star, a layer smaller than our star, so that it completes a number of rings per day on Earth with the same surface permanently facing the star. Now, scientists predict those factors that mean 2/3 of the surface of K2-141b is permanently sunlit – so much so that not only part of the world is covered in lava oceanBut some of those rocks can even evaporate into the atmosphere.
“All rocky planets, including Earth, started out as a molten world but then quickly cooled down and solidified,”; said Nicolas Cowan, planetary scientist at McGill University in Canada and is co-author of new articles, said in a statement. “The lava planets give us a rare glimpse of this planetary evolutionary phase.”
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The scientists behind these new researchers want to understand what an atmosphere such a hot world might have and how terrestrial tools will see it. K2-141b is an intriguing target because it has been studied by both NASA’s K2 mission Kepler space telescope and agency Spitzer space telescope. And the atmosphere is particularly fascinating because scientists believe NASA is coming James Webb space telescope, expected to be launched late next year, will be able to analyze the composition of the distant planetary atmosphere.
Researchers start with what previous studies have determined about K2-141b so far – for example, the density of the planet is equal to that of Earth, so the crust can be modeled. Chemical as pure silica as a reasonably simple representation. Then scientists figured out what the surface might look like. The researchers calculated that the work took into account complications such as the fact that the planet is so close to its star that more than half of the world’s surface could be illuminated by the sun, perhaps. up to 2/3.
Such continuous light and averaging heat that dozens of worlds are capable of sport magma ocean miles or kilometers deep, according to the team’s calculations. Then the researchers modeled air Here will look like based on three major potential components, all common in the crust of the rocky planets.
All three cases could support an atmosphere, the scientists calculated, with wind speeds above 1.1 miles (1.75 kilometers) per second, much faster than the speed of sound here. on the earth.
The researchers calculated that at the edges of the atmosphere, where the temperature drops, the gaseous rock would cool enough to fall back to the surface as a precipitate. If the atmosphere is dominated by silica or silicon monoxide, that rainfall will mostly fall into the magma ocean, but if the atmosphere is mostly sodium, the planet will look more bizarre, with solid sodium flowing backwards towards ocean like the glacier is here on earth, the researchers wrote.
But all these paradigms aren’t just for visualizing what a truly bizarre world would look like; after all, this is science. The researchers want to compare their model with the current observability and predictability of giant space telescopes. Here the scientists are optimistic: they call K2-141b “an exceptionally good target for observing the atmosphere.”
And the researchers even have a way to pass their time before the James Webb Space Telescope comes out, the scientists said in the statement: they already have the telescope observations. Spitzer Space Expectations will help reduce the temperature of the planet’s day and night faces, clarifying how models might match reality.
Research is described in a sheet of paper published November 3 in the journal Royal Society of Astronomical Society Monthly Announcement.
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