A celestial object, with a similar mass and density to Earth has been found orbiting a star roughly 400 light years away. The observations that have taken place suggest that the planet, named Kepler 78b is composed mostly of rock and iron, similar to Earth. However the star is orbiting it’s ‘Sun’ extremely close, in fact around one hundredth of the distance between that of Earth and the Sun.
Currently the temperatures range from around 2,000 – 2,080 degrees Celsius, far too hot to support life!!
Scientists are suprised that the planet even exists as it is so close to its host star’s gravitational field!
The planet itself is a type of ‘Exoplanet’ which is a type of planet which is a type of planet that exists outside of our Solar System. The exoplanets found so far a believed to resemble planets such as Jupiter and Neptune. The first of these was discovered back in 1992 orbiting a pulsar. A few years after this the planet ’51 Pegasi B’ was found orbiting a star similar to the Sun, which is a comparatively old star. Since then hundreds of other planets have been discovered but are awaiting conformation.
Kepler 78b was a planet identified by the now defunct Kepler Space telescope which has discovered that the planet can complete one circuit of the host star in less than 12 hours! This information was obtained by scientists as they have analysed the light coming off from the planet. The results also suggest that the planet is around 1.2 times the size of Earth and around 1.7 times as massive. Scientists have measured the density of the planet as 5.3 grams per cubic meter compared to 5.5 grams per cubic meter on Earth.
However the planet will eventually move so close to the host star’s gravitational field that the star will rip the planet apart causing the planet to vanish within three billion years.