October 18, 2022
Scientists have modeled the molten surfaces of 16 different types of lava worlds in the laboratory.
This has been used to compile a list of the fundamental categories of rocky exoplanets.
Which astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope may refer to to characterize alien worlds.
Some terrestrial exoplanets orbit so close to their stars that temperatures reach 5,400 degrees Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius).
Scientists created samples of the rocky material in the lab of Cornell's Megan Holycross, a geochemist specializing in modeling Earth's interior.
The scientists found that each sample contained a spectral line at a wavelength of 8 microns, called the Christiansen characteristic.
The strength of this line could inform scientists which of the 16 compositional models of the lava world most closely resemble.
The James Webb Space Telescope is observing the transit spectrum of the lava planets, including their 55 Cancri e, Gliese 367 b and K 2-141 b.