Although K2-141b is considered a “super-Earth”, this exoplanet is by no means a place to visit. Led by Tue Giang Nguyen, a doctoral student at the University of York, the team decided to use computer simulations to predict extreme weather and other conditions on the planet. It turns out that the unfortunate thing about K2-141b is that it is too close to the sun in this star system.
Screenshot (from: NASA)
In addition, the 2/3 area of K2-141b is always bathed in hot sunlight due to the locked direction of the swing, while the back sun is always cold.
In a new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers say it may have a magma ocean up to 62 miles (100 kilometers) deep and a surface hit by supersonic winds of more than 3,100 mph (5,000 km/h).
“All rocky planets, including Earth, begin in a melting world and then cool and solidify quickly,” Nicolas Cowan, a planetary scientist at McGill University, said in a statement. But lava planets like K2-141b are rare.”
Computer simulations also indicate that K2-141b may be in the midst of a “magma rain” as mineral vapor from the evaporation of rocks is blown to the darker side of the rock, landing and returning to the lava ocean cycle.
Unfortunately, K2 is a type K star, which means we can’t easily see it with the naked eye on Earth. Even so, researchers are looking forward to a new generation of telescopes, such as NASA’s James Webb, helping us test whether the computer simulations are correct.