“55 Cancri e” is an exoplanet at a distance of about 40 light-years from our solar system. Now it seems that we know more about its atmosphere.
The experts at NASA have used the Hubble telescope, with which they have detected hydrogen and helium, but not water vapors. The planet “55 Cancri e” is eight times more massive than Earth and two times bigger.
“The research we’ve done allowed us to get first-hand information on the structure of the atmosphere of Earth-like exoplanets. Now we have clues about how it was formed and how this cosmic object has evolved over time, “said Giovanna Tinetii, a researcher at University College London, quoted by Space.
“55 Cancri e” is an exoplanet orbiting very close to its host star, completing one orbit in just 18 hours. For this reason, the surface temperature of the exoplanet is very high, around 2,000 degrees Celsius and, therefore, can not support any form of life. The exoplanet was discovered in 2004. Eight years after the discovery, researchers conducted a study in which they analyzed 55 Cancri e’s mass and the composition of its host star.
American scientists have discovered in 2012 that in the inner structure of the exoplanet, there is a huge amount of carbon. This result determined astronomers to say that “55 Cancri e could be a real diamond planet”. In another study, it was shown that the star around which Cancri orbits, has less carbon in its composition as it was initially thought and, therefore, the exoplanet shouldn’t have this substance in its atmosphere either.
However, the information obtained by the NASA astronomers has shown that on the exoplanet’s surface there is hydrogen cyanide, which indicates the presence of carbon.
“If the presence of hydrogen cyanide and other molecules is confirmed in a few years time by the next generation of infrared telescopes, it would support the theory that this planet is indeed carbon rich and a very exotic place,” said Jonathan Tennyson, in a statement.