Scientists may have found a volcanic world on the verge of destruction, where the chances of finding life are very unlikely. One scientist likens the place to a fictional world full of Star Wars lava.
But instead of an alien planet, the world looks like a volcanic moon, similar to the moon Io, covered by Jupiter, in orbit around an exoplanet called WASP-49. This planet orbits a star, located 550 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Lepus, completing one orbit every three Earth days.
A team of scientists at the University of Bern in Switzerland stated that hot, bubbling lava could be drifting on the surface of this exosome or the moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system. This conclusion is based on the high levels of sodium gas found in the planetary system. The presence of the moon is prompted by observations of the parent star of WASP-49b and by theoretical models, the researchers say.
Related: This is not the moon? The proposed exomonies contradict the formation theories
"This would be a dangerous volcanic world with a molten lava surface", Apurva Oz, a PhD student at the University of Bern Institute of Physics, and co-author of a new study cited in a study from from the University of Bern . "A place where Jedis went to die, a dangerous thing known to Anakin Skywalker."
(Oz used to refer to the volcanic Mustafar, the fictional Star Wars planet where Skywalker was maimed by a lightsaber with his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi and later created a castle like Darth Vader.)
The Exomon is described as an extreme version of Jupiter Yo's Moon . Jupiter's fifth moon, Io, is the most volcanically active body in the solar system, with hundreds of volcanoes on its surface.
Comparing Io's observations with those of the potential exomon, in addition to calculating mass loss and sodium levels in the planetary system of the exomon, the team estimates that they discovered the first exo-Io (Io-like moon) beyond the solar system , according to the statement.
"Sodium is exactly where it should be," Oz said. "Neutral sodium gas is so far from the planet that it is unlikely to be emitted by planetary wind alone."
Another key factor comes from the tidal forces released by the planetary system that keep the orbit of the moon stable while also warming it. and makes it potentially volcanically active. The team of researchers, however, needs more evidence to prove that the exon is actually volcanically active. They are seeking to obtain more data through terrestrial and space observations of the planetary system.
Oz noted that a world like WASP-49b is on the verge of collapse due to its continued mass loss, adding: "The exciting part is that we can watch these destructive processes in real time, like fireworks." [1