Astronomers discover Earth-sized exoplanet — with one side in perpetual darkness — that is likely covered with volcanoes

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The planet is in the Milky Way, about 86 light-years away from our own solar system. The researchers’ observations suggest that the planet is rugged and rocky, with constant eruptions from volcanoes on the surface.

Scientists didn’t directly see the volcanoes, but instead used observations of the way the planet interacts with one of the other larger planets orbiting the same dim star. The larger planet has a strong gravitational tug, which may cause the newer, smaller one to squeeze and flex, heating the interior and causing volcanic activity on the surface. Observations show the smaller planet is deformed every time it goes around the star. The movement is comparable to Io, a moon of Jupiter, which is the most volcanically active body in our solar system.

LP 791-18 d, shown here in an artist’s concept, is an Earth-size world about 90 light-years away. One of the larger, nearby planets is shown as a blue disc in the background. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (KRBwyle)

The planet, which does not rotate, may also hold water, researchers said.

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Astronomers discover Earth-Sized planet with active volcanoesLP 791-18d is a unique Earth-sized planet with constant volcanic activity and a tidally locked rotation, offering insights into planetary evolution.

Astronomers Find an Earth-Sized World That May Be Carpeted in VolcanoesAstronomers think they’ve found an extrasolar planet covered in volcanoes like Jupiter’s moon Io, but this world is about the same size as Earth. Designated LP 791-18 d, the planet is probably tidally locked around a small, red dwarf star about 90 light-years away in the constellation Crater. There are two other more massive planets … Continue reading ‘Astronomers Find an Earth-Sized World That May Be Carpeted in Volcanoes’

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