Astronomers Confirm Tidally Locked Alien World, Shedding Light On Exoplanet Mysteries

Astronomers confirm the existence of a first-of-its-kind tidally locked exoplanet, Kua'kua.

Astronomers Confirm Tidally Locked Alien World, Shedding Light On Exoplanet Mysteries

LHS 3844 b is a super Earth exoplanet that orbits an M-type star.

Astronomers have finally confirmed the existence of a strange alien world that is tidally locked to its star. This means one side of the planet is always in permanent sunshine, while the other side is in perpetual darkness. This is the first time scientists have been able to confirm this phenomenon on an exoplanet, or a planet outside our solar system.

The Astronomers team's research, which has been published in The Astrophysical Journal, mentions that the planet, called LHS 3844b, or Kua'kua, is too close to its star to support life as we know it. However, this discovery is important because it confirms that tidally locked exoplanets are possible and may even be common in our galaxy.

Tidal locking is a phenomenon that we can see in our own solar system with the Moon. The Moon is always showing the same side to Earth because its rotation has been slowed down by Earth's gravity.

Exoplanets that are close to their stars are more likely to be tidally locked because they experience a stronger gravitational pull. Scientists were able to determine that Kua'kua is tidally locked by studying the planet's temperature.

The researchers developed a model of an exoplanet without an atmosphere and compared it to observations of Kua'kua made with the Spitzer Space Telescope. If the planet was not tidally locked, it would be heated up by the constant pull of the star. However, the researchers found that Kua'kua is too cool for this to be happening.

This suggests that Kua'kua is tidally locked and always shows the same side to its star. More powerful telescopes are needed to confirm this finding, but this is the best evidence yet that some exoplanets are locked to their stars.