The Webb telescope will study the diamond planet

The Webb Telescope completes the setup process. According to NASA, just a few weeks after

all systems will be tested and tuned, itcan begin full-fledged scientific work. One of the first studies will be the study of two exoplanets that are classified as super-Earths due to their size and rocky structure.

55 Cancri e

55 Cancri e is a rocky planet that is twotimes larger than Earth and eight times heavier. It rotates at a distance of less than 2.4 million km from its star (this is 25 times less than the distance from Mercury to the Sun). A year on such a planet lasts only 18 hours. In previous studies, scientists have shown that this planet appears to be rich in carbon. And the temperature and pressure create ideal conditions for the formation of diamonds. Previously, Hi-Tech spoke in detail about the diamond planets.

Planets that are so close to their ownstar, as a rule, are in synchronous rotation (tidal capture). One side of such a planet is always turned towards the star. For such planets, the hottest point is in the center of the day side, and the amount of heat coming from this side does not change significantly with time.

However, previous studies of 55 Cancrie performed by the Spitzer telescope showed that the hotspot is off-center on the dayside and the amount of incoming heat varies. Planetologists have put forward two possible versions that would explain such an anomaly.

First, the planet can be densean atmosphere that promotes the movement of heat. And besides, the planet can be in a 3:2 resonance, like Mercury. In this case, the rotation is not synchronous, but for every two revolutions around the star, the planet rotates three times around its axis.

The researchers believe that the near camerainfrared (NIRCam) and mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) installed on the Webb telescope will help capture the spectrum of the planet's thermal radiation and show how things really are.

LHS 3844b

The second planet LHS 3844 b was chosen due tolack of atmosphere and low temperature. It also orbits very close to its star, making one rotation every 11 hours. But because its star is relatively small and cold, the planet's surface cannot melt.

Scientists believe that in the absence of an atmosphere, MIRIwill be able to capture the spectrum of thermal radiation from the dayside of LHS 3844 b. The spectra of different rocks are different, so comparison with data from known rocks such as basalt and granite will help determine the structure of this planet. Also, if the planet is volcanically active, the spectrum will also show traces of volcanic gases.

Cover image: Artistic illustration of the planet 55 Cancri e. Source: NASA, ESA, CSA, Dani Player (STScI)

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