A glimpse of a newly discovered exoplanet


With no atmosphere, it isn't habitable for life. 


An illustration of the newly discovered exoplanet LHS 3844b. 

JPL-Caltech

The exoplanet LHS 3844b illustrated here is located 48.6 light-years from Earth and orbits an M dwarf star – the most common and long-lived type of star in our galaxy.

Using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, researchers were able to capture a rare glimpse of the exoplanet's surface.

However, it wasn’t a win in the search for life on other planets. It’s likely that LHS 3844b has little to no atmosphere, with its surface resembling that of Earth’s Moon or Mercury – covered in dark, lava rock. It’s a tidally locked planet, which means that it has a permanent day and night side.

The temperatures are likely to be very extreme, killing any organisms on the planet's surface. The researchers calculate that the day side is about a warm 726 degrees Celsius. The night side can get as cool as -273 degrees Celsius.

Planet LHS 3844b was discovered in 2018 by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Satellite Survey (TESS) mission.

The finding is published in the journal Nature.

  1. http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/
  2. https://www.nasa.gov/tess-transiting-exoplanet-survey-satellite
  3. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1497-4
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