None of us should think even for a moment that our Universe is done when it comes to surprising us. Astronomers found a hellish exoplanet called 55 Cancri e (aka “Janssen”), which is located only 40 light-years away from us. Apart from raining lava and having surface temperatures that are very hot, the planet in question is also teeming with diamonds in its core.
So what could have caused such an apocalyptic scenario to occur? A new study published in Nature Astronomy aims to uncover the exoplanet’s distant past, which was much more peaceful. Scientists gathered data using the Lowell Discovery Telescope in Arizona.
55 Cancri e orbits its host star very close
The 55 Cancri e hell planet is orbiting its host stars known as Copernicus and a red dwarf star simultaneously. The planet is located about 70 times closer to its stellar host compared to the distance that separates Earth from our own Sun. The exoplanet completes a full orbit in less than a day on Earth – 18 hours, to be more precise. Our planet, on the other hand, needs 365 days to complete a full orbit around the Sun. It’s obvious that at such close range as in the case of 55 Cancri e, a planet can only be dominated by scorching temperatures.
The exoplanet 55 Cancri e goes by several names, but the rocky world located 40 light-years from Earth is most known for its reputation as a “hell planet.” https://t.co/eBSiuddprx
— CNN (@CNN) December 8, 2022
There are also four other planets revolving around the same binary stars along with 55 Cancri e. Scientists suspect that the exoplanet might have started to develop its hellish conditions due to its approach to the equator of one of its host stars.
Fischer, the senior author of the new study, explained, as Futurity quotes:
Astronomers expect that this planet formed much farther away and then spiraled into its current orbit,
That journey could have kicked the planet out of the equatorial plane of the star, but this result shows the planet held on tight.
There are about 5,000 exoplanets confirmed to exist out there in space, so astronomers will always have a lot of work to do.