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A perfect tidal storm: HD 104067 planetary architecture creating an incandescent world
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A perfect tidal storm: HD 104067 planetary architecture creating an incandescent world
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 10, 2024

In an eye-opening revelation, University of California - Riverside astrophysicist Stephen Kane was taken aback by the extreme conditions of a newly studied planet. Initial disbelief prompted him to reevaluate his data concerning the fiery world.

Kane discovered that the planet, situated in a distant star system, is so heavily dotted with active volcanoes that it appears as a luminous red orb when observed from afar. "It was one of those discovery moments that you think, 'wow, it's amazing this can actually exist," Kane said. These findings are elaborated in a publication in The Astronomical Journal.

The discovery came via NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in 2018 to scout for exoplanets around bright stars. Focused on the star system HD 104067, about 66 light years away, TESS detected a new rocky planet adding to the previously known giant one, thus increasing the total known planets in the system to three.

The newfound planet, named TOI-6713.01, is a terrestrial world 30% larger than Earth. However, it bears a greater resemblance to Io, Jupiter's volcanically vibrant moon, but with even more extreme volcanic activity. "This is a terrestrial planet that I would describe as Io on steroids," explained Kane. "It's been forced into a situation where it's constantly exploding with volcanoes. At optical wavelengths, you would be able to see a glowing, red-hot planet with a molten lava surface."

The surface temperature on TOI-6713.01 is estimated at 2,600 degrees Kelvin, hotter than some stars. This intense heat is largely due to gravitational interactions similar to those affecting Io. Kane elucidated that the gravitational forces of Jupiter and its other moons compress Io, driving its volcanic nature. Likewise, the gravitational pull from its star and neighboring planets propels the extreme conditions on TOI-6713.01.

Future investigations will aim to measure the planet's mass and density, offering insights into the volcanic dynamics at play. "This teaches us a lot about the extremes of how much energy can be pumped into a terrestrial planet, and the consequences of that," Kane noted, emphasizing the critical role of tidal energy-typically associated with Earth's ocean tides-in these planetary phenomena.

Research Report:A Perfect Tidal Storm: HD 104067 Planetary Architecture Creating an Incandescent World

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