While Earth does indeed have its extreme weather conditions, they’re nothing compared to what other planets in our observational range are going through. Sure, our planet can support life, something which the other planets don’t, but that doesn’t make the insane temperatures and extreme weather any less impressive.
For example, there is one rocky exoplanet situated some 40 light years away from Earth that is basically a flowing molten rock super-Earth with two sides. So far, these are the most extreme conditions found by astronomers on a super Earth, or pretty much on any astral body except for stars and black holes.
55 Cancri e
Being an exoplanet and having the same mass as about eight Earth masses, 55 Cancri e is what scientists refer to as a super Earth. It is the innermost planet in its solar system, able to complete full orbit in less than eighteen hours.
And because the Hubble managed to pick up traces of helium and hydrogen in the planet’s atmosphere, it became the first super-Earth whose atmosphere was analyzed by NASA. Using the data, astronomers were able to compile the first weather map ever for a super-Earth planet, showing its surface and meteorological conditions.
Very interesting about the planet is the fact that like our moon, it is tidally locked. This means that one side is always facing its star, while the other is always facing away from it. It also means that it always has the same day side and the same night side, making for some pretty extreme differences in temperature.
Because of its proximity to the star and because it’s tidally locked, the planet is pretty much divided in half. The night side has temperatures of somewhere around 2,024 degrees Fahrenheit (1,107 Celsius), while the day side goes up to a stunning 4,400 degrees Fahrenheit (2,427 Celsius). This brings the difference in temperature between the two sides at 1880 degrees Fahrenheit or 1027 Celsius.
Ok, sure, so it gets very hot on the planet. But what’s so special about that? Well, a peculiar hot spot was detected on the planet’s surface at the point at which the sun is directly overhead. There are multiple explanations as to what that might mean, but there is one that is the most likely.
The planet is so close to the sun and so hot on its day side that it has molten lava on its surface pretty much like Earth has water. And because of the silicate-based composition of the rocks on the planet, the lava might actually be the same consistence as water. Meanwhile, the night side is mostly hardened rock on the surface.
Image source: Wikimedia