Planet ‘eyeball’: discover the strangest exoplanet ever discovered

Recent studies have brought to light questions about the abundance of ‘eye planets‘ — designation for alien worlds whose oceans resemble giant eyeballs.

In research, it was discovered that the oceans of these planets they can sometimes be obscured by dense clouds or become completely frozen, altering their appearance and consequently affecting their potential ability to support life.

The visual peculiarity of these planets is attributed to the phenomenon known as “red dwarf tidal locking”, the stars most common in the Universe.

Resulting from the gravitational force exerted by the red dwarf, this blockage keeps one hemisphere permanently facing the star, creating a constant daytime face, while the other side remains in darkness.

Initially, the belief was that the illuminated side would house vast oceans, giving the surface the appearance of an eyeball. However, new simulations suggest otherwise.

There are different types of “eyeball” exoplanets – Image: Roen Kelly/Reproduction

The planetary ‘snowball’ perspective

Recent research indicates that layers of sea ice can transport cold from nighttime to daytime, potentially freezing the entire surface of the planet and turning oceanic worlds into true “snowballs”. This challenges the previous conception of habitable, energy-rich worlds. water.

The new perspective not only changes our understanding of ‘eyeball’ planets, but also broadens the view on habitability.

Planets once considered to be in the habitable zone may actually be perpetually frozen, with liquid water and sunlight in short supply.

The study highlights that high levels of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, can prevent these planets from transforming into ‘snowballs’.

An example of an exoplanet similar to an eyeball with an ocean on one side and an icy shell on the other – Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Reproduction

In these cases, the intense greenhouse effect could keep water liquid, suggesting that life forms could exist in these extraordinary conditions, different from normal conditions. Earth.

In summary, this research highlights the complexity and diversity of planetary environments in the universe, indicating that the search for extraterrestrial life must consider a wide range of planetary conditions, far beyond those known on our own planet.

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