Africa-Press – Lesotho. Planet LP 791-18d orbits a red dwarf about 90 light-years from Earth, located in the Crater constellation. The planet is estimated to be only slightly (20%) larger and seven times Earth’s mass, while also being in tidal grip – that is, facing the star with one side.
Newly-published findings have revealed quite the shocking cosmic discovery: an Earth-sized planet that is believed to be covered in volcanoes and rival the likes of the most volcanically active satellite Io.
Due to tidal grip, the daytime side of the planet is likely very hot, and liquid water is unlikely to exist on it. However, analysis has shown that LP 791-18d regularly passes close to LP 791-18c, a much more massive outer planet, while orbiting the star.
The gravitational interaction of the planets causes the planet’s orbit to stretch into an ellipse, causing its interior to be heated by tidal forces. Tidal heating, in turn, is likely to cause regular volcanic eruptions, similar to what happens to Io and other satellites of the giant planets in the solar system.
The eruptions are likely to emit gases which can create an atmosphere with a pressure suitable for the existence of liquid water on the night side. The exoplanet was discovered by ground-based telescopes, as well as the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and archived data from the now-defunct Spitzer Space Telescope. The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.