Astronomers have been studying with interest an exoplanet called LHS 3844b for many years. In 2019, researchers announced that they believed the planet was covered in dark lava rocks. Researchers studying exoplanets have now made another exciting discovery with evidence for the first time of tectonic activity on another planet.
The Evidence indicates LHS 3844b may have tectonic activity that comes from a set of advanced simulations based on planet observations. While an exoplanet and Earth may have shared tectonic activity, the exoplanet is slightly larger than Earth and does not appear to have an atmosphere. Half of the exoplanet is permanently exposed to the sun, and surface temperatures are believed to be around 800 ° C on the diurnal side.
On the side of the planet permanently submerged at night, the temperature is believed to be around -250 ° C. Researcher Tobias Meyer says that the researchers believed that the sharp difference in temperature between day and night from the planet could affect the flow of material in the planet’s interior. Based on observations of the phase curve of brightness, potential planet temperatures, and a computer model simulating various potential tectonic materials and heat sources, the researchers now believe that an influx of subsurface material over a hemisphere scale is taking place.
The majority of the simulations performed by the researchers show that it flows up only on one side of the planet and flows downward only on another side of the planet. However, in some simulations, this has been reversed, something that does not coincide with tectonic movements on Earth.
The data the researchers discovered seems to indicate that LHS 3844b could contain an entire hemisphere covered in volcanoes. In contrast, the other side has hardly any volcanic activity due to the enormous temperature differences around the planet. Scientists plan to study LHS 3844b more deeply in the future as more powerful telescopes appear online all over the world.