Liquifying a rocky exoplanet

Rocky exoplanets that are around Earth-size are comparatively small, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect and characterise using telescopes. What are the optimal conditions to find such small planets that linger in the darkness? “A rocky planet that is hot, molten, and possibly harboring a large outgassed atmosphere ticks all the boxes,” says Dan Bower, astrophysicist at the Center for Space and Habitability (CSH) of the University of Bern. Such a planet could be more easily seen by telescopes due to strong outgoing radiation than its solid counterpart. The SNSF Ambizione and CSH Fellow continues: “Granted, you wouldn’t want to vacation on one of these planets, but they are important to study since many if not all rocky planets begin their life as molten blobs, yet eventually some may become habitable like Earth.

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