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Exoplanet With Volcanism?

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An artist's attempt to demonstrate global volcanism on 55 Cancri e at different points in time.           NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

 

For the first time heavy temperature variations have been observed for an exoplanet, possibly interpreted as powerful volcanic activity on the surface of the planet. The Spitzer space telescope has been taking a closer look at 55 Cancri e, a super-Earth part of a planetary system so far containing five discovered planets.

55 Cancri e, which was discovered already in 2004, lies at a  distance from the Sun of 40 light years and is thus quite well-studied. It is a rocky planet with a mass 8 times larger than Earth's. As a so called USP (Ultra-Short Period), it has an orbital period around its star of only 18 hours (!) and an average distance of only about 2 million kilometers. Therefore it is very heavily heated by its host star.  

Scientists used the Spitzer space telescope to observe the planet during two years. Spitzer is specialised for observations in the infrared part of the spectrum and could be used to register temperatures between 1000 and 2700 centigrade on the hot side of the planet. A possible explanation for this could be extensive and rapidly variable volcanism.

 

Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers observed thermal emissions coming from the planet, called 55 Cancri e – orbiting a sun-like star located 40 light years away in the Cancer constellation – and for the first time found rapidly changing conditions, with temperatures on the hot ‘day’ side of the planet swinging between 1000 and 2700 degrees Celsius. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/astronomers-find-first-evidence-of-changing-conditions-on-a-super-earth#sthash.heYpQUVe.dpuf
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers observed thermal emissions coming from the planet, called 55 Cancri e – orbiting a sun-like star located 40 light years away in the Cancer constellation – and for the first time found rapidly changing conditions, with temperatures on the hot ‘day’ side of the planet swinging between 1000 and 2700 degrees Celsius. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/astronomers-find-first-evidence-of-changing-conditions-on-a-super-earth#sthash.heYpQUVe.dpuf
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers observed thermal emissions coming from the planet, called 55 Cancri e – orbiting a sun-like star located 40 light years away in the Cancer constellation – and for the first time found rapidly changing conditions, with temperatures on the hot ‘day’ side of the planet swinging between 1000 and 2700 degrees Celsius. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/astronomers-find-first-evidence-of-changing-conditions-on-a-super-earth#sthash.heYpQUVe.dpuf
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers observed thermal emissions coming from the planet, called 55 Cancri e – orbiting a sun-like star located 40 light years away in the Cancer constellation – and for the first time found rapidly changing conditions, with temperatures on the hot ‘day’ side of the planet swinging between 1000 and 2700 degrees Celsius. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/astronomers-find-first-evidence-of-changing-conditions-on-a-super-earth#sthash.heYpQUVe.dpuf
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers observed thermal emissions coming from the planet, called 55 Cancri e – orbiting a sun-like star located 40 light years away in the Cancer constellation – and for the first time found rapidly changing conditions, with temperatures on the hot ‘day’ side of the planet swinging between 1000 and 2700 degrees Celsius. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/astronomers-find-first-evidence-of-changing-conditions-on-a-super-earth#sthash.heYpQUVe.dpuf
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers observed thermal emissions coming from the planet, called 55 Cancri e – orbiting a sun-like star located 40 light years away in the Cancer constellation – and for the first time found rapidly changing conditions, with temperatures on the hot ‘day’ side of the planet swinging between 1000 and 2700 degrees Celsius. - See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/astronomers-find-first-evidence-of-changing-conditions-on-a-super-earth#sthash.heYpQUVe.dpuf

More info:

Press release from  the Cambridge University.

Original article (PDF) from the discovering group.

 

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