Has NASA found Hell? Strange planet where clouds rain lava and everything is burning constantly
If we have learnt anything from the various space exploration missions conducted by NASA, it's that the universe can be extremely strange. Bizarre even. We have discovered exoplanets (planets that orbit a star outside the solar system) which are so bizarre that their mere description beats imagination. We know about HD 189773b where it rains glass, GJ 1214b where there is no land and just oceans abound and now we have discovered an exoplanet which would fit right into the biblical description of hell. This exoplanet is constantly burning and is so hot that its oceans have turned into lava. It gets even stranger. Read on to find out. Also read: NASA: Asteroid, larger than the Colosseum in Rome, is zooming-in on Earth; Know asteroid strike chances
NASA discovers a Hell-like planet where clouds rain lava
The planet in question is 55 Cancri e, which is also known as Janssen. The exoplanet orbits a star called Copernicus about 41 light years away, according to NASA. In terms of astronomical distances, this one can be considered a close neighbor. The interesting thing about this planet is that it is located extremely close to its star. For reference, it is about 1/25th the distance between the Sun and Mercury. And this close proximity is the reason why this planet has been dubbed as planet-hell. Also read: Awesome NASA Video: Check mesmerizing view of Jupiter clouds taken at 210,000 kmph by Juno
"With surface temperatures far above the melting point of typical rock-forming minerals, the day side of the planet is thought to be covered in oceans of lava," reported NASA. “Imagine if Earth were much, much closer to the Sun. So close that an entire year lasts only a few hours. So close that gravity has locked one hemisphere in permanent searing daylight and the other in endless darkness. So close that the oceans boil away, rocks begin to melt, and the clouds rain lava. Nothing like it exists in our solar system,” it added.
Another interesting thing about planet Janssen is that it is assumed to be tidally locked, yet the hottest spot on it is not the hemisphere facing its star. A proposed theory to address this anomaly is that the planet has a dynamic atmosphere which rotates and thus it keeps shifting the hottest spot of the planet.
Researchers now intend to use the James Webb Space Telescope to observe the exoplanet and find out if its atmosphere contains oxygen or nitrogen. Interestingly, despite its hell-like conditions, it is not the hottest exoplanet we know of. KELT-9b takes that accolade. According to NASA, this exoplanet is so hot that even molecules cannot stay intact on its dayside and they break into atoms, making any solid structure completely impossible.