Astronomers have discovered a planet that may be completely covered in volcanoes
Scientists have discovered an Earth-sized rocky planet called LP 791-18 d with some extreme features. It is located at a distance of about 90 light-years from our planet in the Crater constellation. This is reported by Gizmodo with reference to the research work of astronomers, which was published in the journal Nature.
The find was seen thanks to NASA’s exoplanet transit satellite and the now-deactivated Spitzer Space Telescope. Their data showed that the planet’s elliptical orbit causes it to deform slightly each time it passes close to the dwarf star, creating friction within the planet. This can cause volcanic activity over its entire surface.
“LP 791-18 d is tidally locked, which means the same side constantly faces its star,” said co-author Björn Benneke, an astronomy professor at the Université de Montréal, in a NASA press release. “The day side would probably be too hot for liquid water to exist on the surface. But the amount of volcanic activity we suspect occurs all over the planet could sustain an atmosphere, which may allow water to condense on the night side.”
Despite the harsh surface, researchers believe that geological activity and a potential atmosphere could contribute to the creation of a habitable environment.
There are two more planets in the star system, which have the names LP 791-18 b and c. The first of them is about 20% the mass of Earth, and the second is 2.5 the width of Earth and seven times its mass. The researchers intend to study LP 791-18 c with the Webb Space Telescope.
It was previously reported that astronomers observed the largest of the known still explosions in space. It is a multi-year event associated with a supermassive black hole, which scientists estimate is a billion times more massive than the Sun.