(ORDO NEWS) — Our universe is infinite. This means that the number of galaxies of stars and planets is so great that no matter how hard we try, it is unlikely to be possible to imagine.
In addition, our horizons are limited by the observable universe. We know that beyond the solar system and the Milky Way, there are billions of galaxies and star systems around which the planets revolve. A large part of them are gas giants located near their native stars.
But sometimes astronomers manage to discover worlds whose conditions resemble real hell. So, the exoplanet 55 Cancri E rotates so close to its sun-like star that it is constantly shrouded in fire, and the temperature on its surface reaches 2436 ° C. Nothing like it exists in our solar system.
Super-Earth – a class of exoplanets whose mass exceeds the mass of the Earth, but less than the mass of Neptune
Can we imagine worlds that revolve around other stars? In ancient times, people did not have such an opportunity, and astronomers even called the planets “wandering stars”, since their speed was several times higher than the speed of movement of all other stars.
Fortunately, scientists now have the tools to not only discover other star systems, but also look into the distant past to find out what the Universe was like a few seconds after the Big Bang.
Recall that the James Webb Space Telescope will begin full-fledged work on July 12. This date was officially announced by NASA representatives, so in about a month we expect images and the first data collected using a powerful astronomical instrument. In the very near future, Webb will search for and study exoplanets, as well as other space objects.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful in the world. Its high-precision spectrographs will allow scientists to learn (and then tell us) more about the geological diversity of planets across the galaxy, as well as the evolution of rocky planets like Earth.
But the main questions that the new telescope will help answer are the mysterious architecture of the universe and our position in it.
The exoplanet 55 Cancri e is located at a distance of 50 light years from Earth and is the so-called Super-Earth – a class of planets, the mass of which is several times greater than that of the Earth and is not similar to any of the worlds known to us. The surface of this hot world is covered with lava and constantly burning, and the temperature on it can reach 2436°C.
Hell next door
As NASA astronomers managed to find out, 55 Cancri e is as close as possible to its native star. So much so that a whole year on it lasts only a few hours, and gravity keeps one hemisphere in light, and the other in endless darkness.
With surface temperatures well above the melting point of typical rock-forming minerals, the bright side of Super-Earth is thought to be covered in oceans of lava and completely uninhabitable, NASA said in a statement.
Early observations made with NASA’s Spitzer Telescope have shown that the new Super-Earth’s hottest point is not directly facing a star, which is rather odd. One possible reason could be “the exoplanet’s dynamic heat-moving atmosphere.”
In other words, its hottest point can be displaced and it takes time to warm up. And if Webb detects the atmosphere of this burning world, it will be dominated by oxygen or nitrogen, in the resulting images we will see the lava-shrouded surface of Super-Earth 55 Cancri e.
But back to the Super-Earth and its scorching temperatures, its atmosphere is likely to sparkle as lava bounces off the surface. In general, 55 Cancri E resembles our Moon – one side of it is always bright, while the other is shrouded in darkness. This Super-Earth makes a full revolution around the star in just 18 hours.
It is also interesting that 55 Cancri E may be similar to Mercury, whose rotation features set the day-night cycle.
By the way, researchers have previously discovered strange and unusual worlds, which include gas, rocks, or combinations thereof. The super-Earth, whose surface is constantly on fire, is about twice the size of the Earth and 10 times its mass.
But since there is not a single planet in our solar system that even remotely resembles 55 Cancri E, scientists are trying to get as much information as possible about it. So, some media have already called the new super-earth a biblical hell.
Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long for answers – the James Webb telescope is so sensitive that it will detect the atmosphere of this Super-Earth, or its complete absence.
Super-Earths of the Milky Way
The search for exoplanets has been going on since 1991. Then the researchers found that the two planets orbiting a neutron star had a mass of 4 Earths, which is too small for the formation of gas giants and hot Jupiters, which are found almost everywhere.
Another important discovery came in 2007, when scientists discovered Super-Earths in the so-called Habitable Zone, the distance between a star and a planet necessary to maintain liquid water on the surface of exoplanets.
Since rocky exoplanets can support the conditions necessary for life, astronomers are paying special attention to them. Interestingly, there is not a single Super-Earth in the solar system, although they are found everywhere and have the necessary conditions to support life.
According to available data, methane, carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons can be present on the surface of super-Earths, depending on the conditions – ice, gas or liquid. The discovery of such exoplanets forced astronomers to reconsider models of planetary evolution.
Ultimately, our knowledge of galaxies, stars and planets allows us to put forward the most amazing and controversial theories that describe the structure of the cosmic ocean.
Perhaps one of the Super-Earths will be inhabited and the famous question of the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi “where is everyone?” finally get an answer. In the meantime, the question remains open and intelligent life outside our planet and the solar system has not yet been discovered by anyone.
Moreover, our cosmic loneliness is likely to continue. In addition, the possibilities of our species are limited, and travel to distant star systems and worlds remains the lot of science fiction. And if the cosmos continues to answer us with silence, then how much space is wasted.
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