Volcanism beyond the Solar System

  • 20 May 2023

Recently, scientists discovered an Earth-sized exoplanet orbiting a nearby dim star that provides a strong evidence of volcanism beyond the solar system.

  • Resembling The Volcanic Activity Found On Jupiter's Moon: The newly discovered exoplanet, the third in orbit around a specific star, is believed to be extensively covered in volcanoes, resembling the volcanic activity found on Jupiter's moon Io, known as the most volcanically active celestial body in the solar system.
  • Volcanic Activity Is Not Limited to Earth: This finding supports the understanding that volcanic activity is not limited to Earth, as both the planet Earth and Venus exhibit volcanic activity along with certain moons of Jupiter.
  • Volcanism Was Not Directly Observed: The planet's volcanism was not directly observed but inferred from its significant gravitational interaction with the larger of the two other planets orbiting the dim star.
  • This interaction causes the planet to be squeezed and flexed, resulting in heating of its interior and leading to surface volcanic activity, resembling the volcanic moon Io.
  • It Is A Planet That Does Not Rotate: The exoplanet's unique characteristics include one side permanently bathed in daylight and the other shrouded in darkness, with extreme temperatures making the dayside hot and dry, possibly resembling a desert, while the nightside potentially hosts a massive icy glacier.
  • Conditions for liquid surface water: The researchers believe that the region near the terminator, where day and night meet, may provide conditions for liquid surface water.
  • Although the exoplanet is unlikely to be habitable, its active volcanism raises intriguing questions about the possibility of life in extreme environments.

Planets beyond the solar system are called exoplanets.