A fiery hot earth-sized planet located hundreds of light-years away named Planet K2-141b has been tagged as “extreme” discovery till date.
Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a new study terms the planet as a ‘lava planet’.
The hellish planet evaporates sodium, silicon monoxide, and silicon dioxide into a mineral vapour that creates a rock vapour atmosphere; accompanied with supersonic winds blowing at over 3,100 miles per hour that carries these vapours to the dark side of the planet.
At the dark side, rocks rain at 60-mile-deep magma ocean. The magma ocean flows to the bright side of the planet and visa-versa.
Scientists from McGill University, the Indian Institute of Science Education, and York University discovered this new planet.
Lead author, Giang Nguyen in a news release explains that “the study is the first to make predictions about weather conditions on K2-141b that can be detected from hundreds of light-years away with next-generation telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope.”
This similar size Earth planet is likely to have a surface, an ocean and atmosphere, all of which are made of molten rocks.
The planet lies close to its star-making it gravitationally locked in one place, with only one side of the planet to experience perpetual daylight.
All rocky planets begin their journey as molten worlds; thus, researchers predict that the mineral composition of the planet may change over time. Which may lead K2-141b to have a different surface and atmosphere.
Co-author Nicolas Cowan mentions that “All rocky planets, including Earth, started off as molten worlds but then rapidly cooled and solidified. Lava planets give us a rare glimpse at this stage of planetary evolution,”
The similarity between the two planets is that the Earth’s water cycle is quite same as that of K2-141b. While the major difference is that on Earth, there is water to undergo the processes of evaporation and condensation, whereas planet K2-141b has only rocks in this process.
With the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2021, scientists are expecting to look deeper and verify their observations with the telescope.