Saturday, May 18, 2024

This diamond exoplanet lost its atmosphere — then it grew another

AstronomyThis diamond exoplanet lost its atmosphere — then it grew another


Using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers have discovered that a scorching hot lava planet, believed to be composed of diamond, grew a second atmosphere — and that was after its star destroyed its first atmosphere.

The planet, known as 55 Cancri e, is located around 41 light-years from the solar system and has a width almost twice that of Earth and a mass around nine times greater than our planet. Among the bucket of extrasolar planets, or “exoplanets,” scientists have cataloged over the years, this world is classified as a “super-Earth.” That means it’s more massive than Earth, but way lighter than planets like Neptune and Uranus. Yet, that’s where comparisons to our world end for 55 Cancri e.

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