Astronomers have found the first evidence of tectonic activity on an exoplanet.

You may not be at all familiar with the planet LHS 3844B, but now it has its own special difference: it is the first planet outside our solar system where astronomers believe they may have evidence of tectonic activity.

That evidence is a set of advanced simulations based on observations of a rocky planet that is slightly larger than Earth. For this part of the important research, it doesn’t seem like an exoplanet atmosphere.

Half of that LHS 3844B is permanently exposed to the sun and could mean temperatures of about 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day and about 250 degrees Celsius (minus 418 degrees Fahrenheit) at night. -Time ‘side.

“We thought that this extreme temperature contrast could affect the physical flow inside the planet.”

By observing the planet’s brightness and possible temperature phase curve observations and computer potentially different tectonic materials and heat sources, Meier and his colleagues believe that a hemispherical-scale flow of derived material is taking place.

Most of the simulations that the researchers participated in showed only an upward flow on one side of the planet and only a downward flow on the other, but in some circumstances that was reversed – a surprising discovery, and one that did not match tectonic movement on Earth.

“Depending on what we use from Earth, you’d expect warmer day material to lighten and therefore flow upwards,” says Dan Bower, a geophysicist at the University of Bern.

The underlying reason is that the temperature changes as the speed of the mantle material increases, the colder the stone becomes harder and less mobile, and the warmer the rock becomes more liquid as it heats up. Scientists say that displacing surfaces and materials can cause some incredible tectonic activity.

“Whichever side of the planet material flows upwards, one would expect a large volcano on that side,” says Bower.

As a result, scientists suggest that an entire hemisphere in LHS 3844B may be covered in volcanoes, while the other side rarely shows any volcanic activity – this is due to the sharp contrast in temperature around the planet.

The excitement that this volcano will cause is similar to what appears on Earth, but only in specific places, such as Hawaii and Iceland. In more general terms, the tectonic movement that these models suggest is the opposite of anything in our solar system.

As more powerful space telescopes come online and our understanding of the exoplanet improves, more observations and research will help confirm what is happening on the surface of LHS 3844B – and whether it is actually half-buried in the volcano.

“Our simulations show how such patterns unfold, but more detailed observations will be needed to test them,” says Meyer.

“For example, with a high-resolution map of the surface temperature that can point to the eruption of a volcano or the detection of volcanic gases. This is the hope that will help us understand future research.”

Research has been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.