A year lasts only 17.5 hours on ‘planetary hell’

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Exoplanet 55 Cancri e has many names, but The most known rocky world located 40 light years from Earth because of its reputation as a “hell planet.”

This Super-Earth, so named because it is a rocky planet eight times the size and twice the width of Earth, is so hot that it has a ocean of molten lava for a surface reached 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit (1,982 degrees Celsius).

The interior of an exoplanet may also be filled with diamonds.

This planet is hot enough for it to be compared to Star Wars lava world of Mustafarsite of the battle between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Revenge of the Sith,” and where Darth Vader later established his castle, Fort Vader.

This planet, officially Janssen but also known as 55 Cancri e or 55 Cnc e, orbits its host star Copernicus so close that the hot world completes one orbit in less than a day. The earth. A year for this planet lasts about 17.5 hours on Earth.

The extremely tight orbit is why Janssen has such extremely hot temperatures – so close that astronomers suspect a planet could exist while in fact embracing a host star.

Astronomers wonder if the planet has always been very close to its star.

A team of researchers used a new instrument called EXPRES, or EXtreme PREcision Spectrometer, to determine the precise nature of the planet’s orbit. This discovery could help astronomers better understand planet formation and how these objects evolve. an orbit.

This tool was developed at Yale University by a team led by astronomer Debra Fischer and installed on the Lowell Discovery Telescope at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. The spectrometer can measure small shifts in starlight from Copernicus as Janssen moves between our planet and the star – like when the moon obscures the sun during a solar eclipse.

The researchers determined that Janssen’s orbit follows the star’s equator. But the planet hell isn’t the only planet orbiting Copernicus. Four other planets in different orbits reside in the star system.

Astronomers believe Janssen’s odd orbit suggests that the planet initially began in a cooler and more distant orbit before drifting closer to Copernicus. Then, gravity from the star’s equator changed Janssen’s orbit.

The illustration shows how closely the planet Janssen (left), depicted as an orange dot, orbits its host star Copernicus.

magazine astronomy published a study detailing the findings on Thursday.

Fischer, senior study author and Eugene Higgins Professor of Astronomy at Yale, said: “Astronomers suggest that the planet formed much further away and then spiraled into its current orbit. its. “That journey may have kicked the planet out of the star’s equatorial plane, but this result shows that the planet is firmly held.”

Despite the fact that Janssen is not always close to its star, astronomers have concluded the exoplanet is always scorching hot.

The study’s lead author Lily Zhao, a researcher at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York, said the planet “has the potential to be so hot that nothing that we know of exists has the potential to be so hot.” may exist on the surface.

When Janssen moved near Copernicus, planet hell getting hotter and hotter.

Our solar system is flat like a pancake, where all the planets orbit the sun on one plane because they all form from the same disk of gas and dust that once orbited our sun.

When astronomers studied other planetary systems, they discovered that many of them do not contain planets orbiting in a single plane, which raises the question of how unique our solar system is. like in the universe.

This kind of data could provide additional information about how common Earth-like planets and environments might exist in the universe.

“We hope to find planetary systems similar to our own and to better understand the systems we know,” says Zhao.

The main objective of the EXPRES instrument is to detect Earth-like planets.

“Our accuracy with EXPRES today is 1,000 times better than what we had 25 years ago when I started as a planet hunter,” Fischer said. “Improving measurement accuracy has been a major goal of my career because it allows us to detect smaller planets as we search for planets similar to Earth.”


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