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Scientists discover blazing hot "super-Earth" that has no atmosphere

Scientists discover blazing hot "super-Earth" that has no atmosphere

Scientists discover blazing hot "super-Earth" that has no atmosphere
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By CNBCTV18.COMOct 26, 2022 12:34:22 PM IST (Published)

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, mission had first suggested the existence of the exoplanet. The astronomers set sights on the area in January 2020 with the help of the 17-year-old Spitzer Space Telescope, less than 10 days before the telescope was deactivated forever, CNN reported.

Astronomers have discovered an Earth-size rocky exoplanet, or "super-Earth", which is hot enough to melt gold and has no atmosphere.Astronomers have discovered an Earth-size rocky exoplanet, or "super-Earth", which is hot enough to melt gold and has no atmosphere.

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Known as the GJ 1252 b, the exoplanet is located 65 light years from our planet and is much closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. One side of the exoplanet -- its dayside — permanently faces its star, which results in high temperatures, a new study revealed.


Using the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope, a team of astronomers measured the super-Earth’s infrared radiation as it entered a secondary eclipse, which occurs when a planet passes behind its star.

The team observed that GJ 1252 b’s dayside temperatures rose to a scorching 1,228 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to melt gold, silver, and copper on the planet’s surface. The high temperatures also make it difficult for GJ 1252 b to hang on to a thick atmosphere. However, the searing temperature is consistent with expectations from a bare and rocky exoplanet, the team said in a paper published on September 23 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The team of astronomers also discovered that the surface pressure of GJ 1252 b is no more than 10 bar. This means that if the atmosphere exists in the exoplanet, it is substantially thinner than that of Venus, Space.com reported.

The team believes that the GJ 1252 b either has an extremely limited atmosphere or possibly no atmosphere at all.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, mission had first suggested the existence of the exoplanet. The astronomers set sights on the area in January 2020 with the help of the 17-year-old Spitzer Space Telescope, less than 10 days before the telescope was deactivated forever, CNN reported.

"At the time, Spitzer was the only facility in the known universe that could make these sorts of measurements," Ian Crossfield, an astronomer at the University of Kansas who led the research, said in a statement.

The scientists hope to conduct further investigation of GJ 1252 b with the James Webb Space Telescope in the coming years.

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