In an astounding discovery, an international team of astronomers has been able to obtain a detailed temperature map revealing the true nature of the planet 55 Cancri E. The astronomer’s team was able to analyze the red planet’s atmosphere by studying data gathered by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The red planet over 40 light years away from Earth and is one among five other planets to orbit its host star in the Cancer Constellation.

The study, that also made a breakthrough as astronomers could determine an accurate weather map for 55 Cancri E, was published on Tuesday in the journal Nature. The international team of astronomers found 55 Cancri E to be one of the most sweltering planets known so far, with standard temperatures reaching up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Artist’s concept of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e, which may host large and active volcanoes. Image released May 4, 2015.
Credit: NASA/JPL–Caltech/R. Hurt

The study’s co-author Nikku Madhusudhan from the institute of astronomy at the University of Cambridge claims the findings mark a new age of remote planet’s analyzing. It is thought that the planet’s sudden temperature shifts could be the reason impressive amounts of molten lava running on the surface like water on Earth.

Astronomers were able to analyze the planet’s atmosphere as well as the conditions it endures, which gave them sufficient evidence to demonstrate that 55 Cancri E is the most accurate depiction of hell for now.

The smoldering planet makes Earth look like an infant as 55 Cancri E doubles Earth’s size and counts with 8 times more mass than Earth as well. Yet, astronomers at the University of Cambridge noticed an unusual conduct, as the planet appears to go through several orbits, lasting about 18 hours each.

The dark side of the Red giant

The blazing planet counts with a particularly odd behavior basically is tidal-locked, similar to the Earth’s moon. The exoplanet not only counts with extreme temperatures that allow molten lava to run through the surface but also has dramatic temperature exchanges. Thanks to the study led by Brice Demory it is now known that the planet, very much like the Moon, has one side always facing its host star while the other remains dark for most of the time.

This means the red exoplanet is combining both nighttime and daytime geological activity, which results in two different conditions showed in 55 Cancri E. While the scorching side withstands temperatures reaching almost 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the not-so-hot side, remains at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lead author of the study Brice Demory, an astrophysicist from the University of Cambridge suggests the planet 55 Cancri E doesn’t distribute its heat properly. This would explain both conditions experienced by the red planet from the Cancer Constellation. Therefore, molten lava cruising on the planet’s surface resembling water – due to the extreme temperatures – becomes solid when reaches the dark side of the planet, giving its current separated look.

Source: Gizmodo