Scientists have discovered a planet that rains rocks, winds blow faster than the speed of sound and contains an ocean of magma more than 100 kilometers deep. Researchers had previously discovered extreme “lava planets”. These planets are so close to the stars of their systems that their surfaces are made up of oceans of molten lava.
This newly discovered planet, also known as K2-141b, is unusual even among extraordinary planets, reports the Independent Turkish. The surface, ocean and atmosphere of the planet are made up of rocks. These rocks fall like rain and are melting into gigantic seas.
Two thirds of K2-141b are exposed to the continuous, very bright and warm daylight of the orange dwarf star on which it orbits. Because it is so close to its sun (a year on the planet takes less than a third of a day on Earth) it is locked in place by gravity. This means that the planet is always facing its star from the same side.
Temperatures on the dark side of the planet are below -200 degrees Celsius, while the light side is around 3000 degrees Celsius. So it’s hot enough for the rocks to evaporate and turn them into a subtle atmosphere.
In its atmosphere, precipitation occurs on principles similar to precipitation on Earth. Just as water evaporates and rises in the atmosphere and then falls back in the form of rain to repeat this, so the sodium, silicon monoxide and silicon dioxide in K2-141b are drawn to the night side by the supersonic winds in the atmosphere rocky, causing them to fall to the surface.
The researchers used computer simulations to understand the conditions of a planet nearly the same size as Earth but much closer to its sun. The planet, located more than 200 light years away, was discovered in 2018.
Scientists used the data available on the planet. He then analyzed the planet using computer simulations to help them understand the atmosphere and what the air cycle might look like. The results could be tested in the future with new technologies that will allow a much more detailed observation of the atmosphere and components of distant planets.
Giang Nguyen, a graduate student at York University and lead author of the paper, “This is the first study to predict weather conditions on K2-141b, which can be detected hundreds of light-years away with next-generation telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope.” She said.
The findings are published in the monthly notices of the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Royal Astronomical Society. “Modeling the atmosphere of the lava planet K2-141b: implications for low and high resolution spectroscopy” (Modeling of the atmosphere of the planet Lava K2-141b: implications for low and high resolution spectroscopy).