Nearby Super-Earth May Harbor Huge Volcanoes

A new study reports that temperatures on a nearby “super Earth” exoplanet varied dramatically recently, suggesting that large and very active volcanoes may exist on the alien world’s surface.
Researchers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope found that temperatures on 55 Cancri e—a planet eight times more massive than Earth that lies 40 light-years away—swung between about 1,832 to 4,892 degees Fahrenheit from 2011 to 2013. This atmospheric variability was observed on the “day side” of 55 Cancri e, which lies so close to its host star that it completes one orbit every 18 hours. The planet is tidally locked, meaning one side always faces the star and the other always faces away.