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Thousands of extrasolar planets have been discovered in recent years, showing a vast variety of physical conditions that characterize these alien worlds. The artist’s interpretation shows the hot rocky exoplanet 55 Cancri e which orbits a star (55 Cancri; class G8-V) very similar to our Sun. The star is located at ~ 40 light years from Earth in the constellation Cancer and has a companion red dwarf star (class M3.5-4V). 55 Cancri e is the innermost in a system of 5 known planets. It is nearly two times as wide as Earth at only double the size of the Sun from its star. The planet has extreme geological activity due to strong tidal effets caused by the close proximity of its star. Its nightside hosts an envelop with a considerable hydrogen component whilst its dayside sustains a volcanic and vaporised mineral atmosphere.
Credits: INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo. Reference: Modirrousta-Galian et al. 2020, ApJ 888, id.87.