That’s the portrait painted in a new study by scientists from McGill University, York University and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata published on Tuesday in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The researchers described conditions on this planet, called K2-141b, which is located about 210 light-years from Earth. It orbits extremely closely around its star, which is just slightly smaller than our sun.
This “lava” planet completes a revolution in about six or seven hours, just about grazing the star’s surface as it hurtles through space.
By contrast, Mercury, the closest planet to the sun in our solar system, takes 87 days to orbit the sun.
“Almost half of the planet is molten magma,” said lead study author Tue Giang Nguyen, a doctoral student at York University in Toronto. “The atmosphere created by vaporized rocks spreads around the planet.”
That vaporized silicon dioxide,