NASA discovers a new Earth-sized exoplanet HD 63433 d filled with lava

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has recently discovered a new Earth-sized exoplanet, HD 63433 d, which has a lava-filled hemisphere. This discovery was announced on January 10, 2024.

Illustration of an Earth-sized exoplanet, HD 63433 d, which is very close to its host star
Illustration of an Earth-sized exoplanet, HD 63433 d, which is very close to its host star. (Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

HD 63433 d is the third discovered planet in the HD 63433 planetary system. The other two planets, HD 63433 b and HD 63433 c, were discovered around the star HD 63433 in 2020.

The planet that orbits another star outside our solar system is called an exoplanet. The planet HD 63433 d is located about 73 light-years away from the earth.

The most interesting fact about the exoplanet HD 63433 d is that it is the closest discovered Earth-sized planet and 10 times younger than our Earth. The age of the exoplanet is only about 400 million years, whereas our Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

The exoplanet HD 63433 d is 8 times closer to its star (HD 63433) than our Mercury to the Sun. As a result, the exoplanet HD 63433 d takes only 4.2 days to orbit its star, whereas our Mercury takes 88 days to orbit the Sun. So one year on the exoplanet HD 63433 d is equal to 4.2 days.

Due to its very close proximity to its host star (HD 63433), the exoplanet HD 63433 d is tidally locked, which means one hemisphere of the planet always faces its host star, called the “day side,” and the other hemisphere of the planet is always opposite to its host star, called the “dark side.” It is very similar to our moon, which is tidally locked to our earth.

As a result of tidal locking, the dayside temperature of the exoplanet reaches about 2,294 Fahrenheit (1,257 Celsius), and the astronomers behind this discovery think that the dayside of the exoplanet HD 63433 d is filled with lava due to this scorching temperature.

The exoplanet HD 63433 d is an interesting candidate for further exploration due to its small size, young age, and closeness to its star. We need follow-up studies to reveal its “dark side” and possible atmosphere.

A research paper has been published on this topic in the Astronomical Journal and presented at the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society held in New Orleans, USA, from January 7–11, 2024.

For details about the HD 63433 planetary system visit at NASA exoplanet archive.

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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