Volcanoes may carpet surface of newfound Earth-size exoplanet.

A newfound alien world about the size of Earth may be studded with active volcanoes, whose emissions could sustain an atmosphere, a new study reports.

The exoplanet, known as LP 791-18 d, orbits a red dwarf star about 90 light-years from Earth, in the southern constellation Crater. It's slightly larger and more massive than Earth, according to the study team — and it's probably much more volcanically active than our planet.

The study team found and characterized LP 791-18 d using data gathered by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the agency's Spitzer Space Telescope. 

TESS is actively hunting for exoplanets from Earth orbit, watching for the telltale brightness dips caused when these worlds cross their host stars' faces from the satellite's perspective. 

Spitzer was retired in January 2020; the LP 791-18 d observations were among the last the infrared-optimized scope made before it was decommissioned, NASA officials said. (Spitzer isn't necessarily done for good, however; a private team has proposed resurrecting the telescope, which was shut down mainly to free up resources for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.)

LP 791-18 d is the third planet found in this particular star system, along with LP 791-18 b and c. Planet b, the innermost of the three, is about 20% larger than Earth. Planet d, the outermost world, is about 2.5 times wider than Earth and at least seven times more massive, team members said.

Planets c and d pass relatively close to each other during their orbits around the red dwarf host star. These interactions have significant consequences for the newfound exoplanet.

Source: www.space.com


No comments:

Post a Comment




Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Recent Posts