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.
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
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