• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Astronomers Verify Disequilibrium of Alien Planet, Revealing Secrets of Exoplanets

BySamantha Johnson

Apr 9, 2024
Astronomers Verify Disequilibrium of Alien Planet, Revealing Secrets of Exoplanets

Astronomers have confirmed the existence of a unique alien world known as LHS 3844b, which orbits an M-type star. This super Earth exoplanet is tidally locked to its star, meaning one side always faces permanent sunshine while the other is in continual darkness. This phenomenon has been observed for the first time on an exoplanet outside our solar system.

Published in The Astrophysical Journal, the research on LHS 3844b, also called Kua’kua, reveals that the planet is too close to its star to sustain life as we know it. However, this discovery is significant because it proves that tidally locked exoplanets can exist and may be common throughout our galaxy. Tidal locking is a natural occurrence seen in our solar system with the Moon always presenting the same face to Earth due to Earth’s gravitational pull.

Exoplanets in close proximity to their stars are more likely to be tidally locked due to the increased gravitational force they experience. Scientists were able to detect Kua’kua’s tidal locking by analyzing the planet’s temperature. By comparing observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope to a model of an atmosphere-less exoplanet, researchers concluded that Kua’kua is too cool to be constantly heated by the star’s pull, indicating it is tidally locked.

Though further confirmation from more advanced telescopes is necessary, this finding provides strong evidence that some exoplanets are indeed locked in synchronous rotation with their stars.

By Samantha Johnson

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