A diamond planet located 40 light years from our solar system has amazed scientists as the planet’s temepratures vary between 1,800 and 4,900 degrees.
Scientists have found proof of high atmospheric changes on an exoplanet named 55 Cancri . The reason for these extreme temperature changes might have something to do with the intense volcanic activity on the planet.
The exo planet has been categorized as a super Earth, as its surface is rocky but has eight times more the mass of our planet and is double in diameter than Earth.
55 Cancri orbits a star similar to the Sun, which is situated 40 light years away it is known in the science field as the “diamond planet” as it has high amounts of carbon and is assumed that it might be covered in hydrocarbons. Which may imply that the planet is made out of diamonds.
Researchers have used information obtained by the Spitzer Space Telescope from NASA to analyse the weird behavior of the planet’s atmosphere. They noticed a 300% change in temperature on the planet starting from 1,800 to 4,900 degrees. This is the first time scientists have witnessed such an enormous level of variability on a super Earth planet, explained the lead author of the research,doctor Brice-Olivier Demory from the University’s Cavendish Laboratory.
Scientists believe that this situation is caused by the presence of giant plumes of gas and dust which from time to time reach the surface and could be partially molten.
55 Cancri is one out of five planets that are orbiting a star similar to the sun located in the Cancer constellation.It is positioned so close to its host star that one year on this planet consists of 18 hours.
So far, many of the studies have been conducted on giant gas planets which resemble Saturn and Jupiter, since they are easier to locate due to their size. Recently, scientists have managed to determine the conditions on most of these planets but when dealing with super Earth exoplanets, the situation is a little more difficult
However, researchers have noticed that with time, these conditions are changing and the planet could still be high in carbon amounts but previous studies have suggested that there might be plenty of water on it.
The temperature variability present on 55 Cancri is something completely new and astronomers have seen this happening anywhere else. The planet was first discovered in 2004 and has been the first planet to be discovered outside our solar system.
Ever since, newly developed technology has allowed researchers to observe the environment on far away planets. Until the present moment, there have been discovered around 2,000 exoplanets which are orbiting remote stars.
Image Source: TECHTIMES