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This super-Earth is hot with a side of hotter

by Brandon Russell | April 2, 2016April 2, 2016 12:00 pm PST

Scientists have discovered a new super-Earth planet, known as 55 Cancri e, that’s estimated to be nearly two times as big as our own—but it’s not any place you’d want to visit. At 40 light-years away, even if you could manage the trip, you’d be incinerated as soon as you got there.

Observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reveal the super-Earth undergoes extreme temperature changes during its 18 hour days—about 2,060 degrees Fahrenheit on one side and about 4,400 degrees Fahrenheit on the other.

Scientists say because of the planet’s close proximity to its sun, it’s tidally locked, similar to our moon is to Earth. Pretty much one side is always piping hot while the other is much cooler. “Cooler,” however, is relative.

“The findings suggest a planet devoid of a massive atmosphere, and possibly hint at a lava world where the lava would become hardened on the night side and unable to transport heat,” NASA explained.

If you like hot with a side of hotter, 55 Cancri e might be of interest, but I prefer a milder 72 and sunny. Further observations of the super-Earth planet are being planned, according to NASA, but it sounds like this is one place you can cross off your travel list.

JPL

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.

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