LHS 3844b - a Red Dwarf Planet Discovered

- Julia Y

Sep 28, 2019

MIT’s astronomers have discovered something peculiar; an Earth sized planet- a planet without (almost) any trace of atmosphere at all. They named this planet LHS 3844b. Using NASA’s Spitzer telescope, which measures heat, MIT’s team measured the heat signatures on the rocky planet, making it, according to MIT news, “.. the very first time that this measurement has ever been made for a terrestrial planet around an M dwarf star.” LHS 3844b is a reasonably hot planet, as it is considerably close to the star it rotates around. At daytime, the planet is about 1000 kelvin, which is extremely hot, and at night time, a chilling -460 Fahrenheit. The team at first believed that the planet may have had a thin-ish atmosphere not unlike the atmosphere of Earth, but since almost no trace of atmosphere was found at all. Because of this, the team then thought that the planet could have had an extremely thin atmosphere as of Mars- which didn’t last as they thought that, since the planet was so close to the sun, radiation would’ve destroyed that thin atmosphere by then. LHS 3844b, as we know, is made out of super, SUPER hot rock; but what rock? According to MIT news, igneous rock. Burning hot igneous rock. The team ruled out many types of rock, and ended up with igneous rock for many reasons; igneous rock just fit most, if not all of their requirements. So there you have it. LHS 3844b, a new, rocky, Earth-like planet close to its star, with drastic changes of temperatures from day to night, and made out of burning hot igneous rock.