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Planet covered in lava similar to Earth is discovered by scientists

According to a study published in the scientific journal The Astronomical Journal and presented during the annual American Astronomical Society Meeting, a team of scientists discovered the planet HD 63433 d.

The cosmic object is located approximately 73 light years away from Earth and according to scientists, The surface of the exoplanet is covered in lava, similar to what our planet was millions of years ago.

The researchers explain that the exoplanet is slightly larger than Earth and orbits a dwarf star similar to the Sun; Their similarities could answer important mysteries about the formation of planets like ours. The HD 63433 is very similar in some aspects and different in others, including, It is the smallest planet ever discovered with less than 500 million years since its formation.

The image features the three planets, including HD63433 d, and their host dwarf star.Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison / Alyssa Jankowski

Using data collected by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) telescope, the study found that the exoplanet's star was formed just over 400 million years ago. In other words, it is much younger than our Sun. Currently, scientists claim that three exoplanets orbit it: HD 63433 and two other mini-Neptune exoplanets.

“It's a useful planet because it can be like an early Earth. Even though it has a very close orbit, we can use follow-up data to look for evidence of outgassing and atmospheric losses that could be important constraints on how terrestrial worlds evolve. But that’s where the similarities end — and they end dramatically,” said astrophysicist and one of the authors, Melinda Soares-Furtado, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the United States.

Planet covered in lava

The exoplanet HD 63433 d has approximately 1.1 times the radius of Earth and, although scientists have not been able to detail the size and mass of the cosmic object, they explain that it is probably a rocky planet.

Furthermore, it is possible that the exoplanet has one side always facing the star; that's why, this part is covered by molten lava with a temperature that can reach 1,297 degrees Celsius during the day.

The data suggests that the planet completes an orbit around the star every 4.2 days, so it is much closer than the Earth and the Sun — millions of years ago, our planet may have been hit by temperatures exceeding 2 thousand degrees Celsius. The researchers point out that they will continue to investigate the planet to understand more about its similarity to Earth.

“The planet is uniquely situated for further study. Its young, lively star is visible from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, adding to the number of instruments, such as the South African Large Telescope or the WIYN Observatory in Arizona (both of which UW–Madison helped design and build), that can be directed to the system.”, is described in a statement from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I always stay up to date with the latest astronomical discoveries here at TecMundo and take the opportunity to find out more about exoplanets similar to planet Earth.

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