Astronomers have discovered an unusual “super-Earth” planet that is in a constant state of burning. The 55 Cancri e planet is located 50 light years away from Earth and orbits its Sun-like star so closely that its surface constantly burns. Phys.org even compares conditions on 55 Cancri e to those of a biblical Hell.
The planet is located at a distance of fewer than 1.5 million miles from its star, which is only 1/25 the distance from Mercury to the Sun. The temperature of the surface on 55 Cancri e is much higher than the melting point of the rock-forming minerals. That's why its daytime side is covered by oceans of lava.
"Imagine if Earth were much, much closer to the Sun. So close that an entire year lasts only a few hours. So close that gravity has locked one hemisphere in permanent searing daylight and the other in endless darkness. So close that the oceans boil away, rocks begin to melt, and the clouds rain lava," NASA reports.
Nothing like 55 Cancri e exists in our solar system. Astronomers plan to observe the planet to determine how it rotates, whether it has an atmosphere, and where its hottest spot is located.
NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is expected to glimpse the unusual planet for the first time in the coming weeks.