Scientists discover Earth-like, water-rich planet: study
2009 12 17
Astronomers have discovered a new Earth-like planet that is larger than our own and may be more than half covered with water, according to a study published Wednesday in the science journal Nature.
The so-called "super Earth" is about 42 light years away in another solar system and has a radius nearly 2.7 times larger than that of our planet, according to the study by the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics.
View of a star cluster in outer space. Astronomers have discovered a new Earth-like planet that is larger than our own and may be more than half covered with water, according to a study published Wednesday in the science journal Nature. (AFP/NASA-HO/FIle)
The discovery of the planet, called GJ 1214b, represents a "major step forward" in the search for worlds similar to the Earth, added the University of California's Geoffrey Marcy in a commentary also in Nature.
The "newfound world" is too hot to sustain life as we know it, said the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in a statement.
Its density suggests however it "is composed of about three-fourths water and other ices and one fourth-rock," it said. "There are also tantalising hints that the planet has a gaseous atmosphere."
Its temperature is estimated at between 280 and 120 degrees Celsius (536 and 248 degrees Fahrenheit) with its host star about one-fifth the size of the Sun, according to the scientists.
"Despite its hot temperature, this appears to be a waterworld," says Zachory Berta, a graduate student who first spotted hints of the planet's presence.
"It is much smaller, cooler and more Earthlike than any other known exoplanet," he said in the statement.
An exoplanet is one outside of our solar system.
Berta said some of the water would likely be in crystalline form that exists at pressures greater than 20,000 times Earth's sea-level atmosphere.
Its temperature is much lower than that on the only similar discovery, called CoRoT-7b, which revolves around a star that is much hotter, the scientists say.
The CoRoT-7b has a density close to that of the Earth (5.5 grammes per cubic centimetre) and seems to be rocky, while the new discovery appears to be much less dense (1.9 g/cm3).
"To keep the planet's density that low requires that it contains large amounts of water," said Marcy. "It must contain a huge amount of water, roughly 50 percent by mass."
The "wild card" is the make-up of the gases on the planet, he said.
The planet orbits every 38 hours around a small, faint star that was first spotted by eight ground-based telescopes no larger than those used by amateur astronomers, the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre said.
Its relative closeness makes its possible to study it to determine its atmosphere.
"That will make it the first super Earth with a confirmed atmosphere -- even though that atmosphere probably won't be hospitable to life as we know it," said David Charbonneau who heads the research team.
Article from: YahooNews.com
Earth-like planet discovered outside solar system - COROT-7b
Hello from Earth: Send a Message to a Nearby Planet
Newfound Planet Orbits Backward
Mars May Still Be A Living Planet, Methane In Atmosphere Reveals
Mars explorer says we'll find life on other planets within 10 years
NASA uses probes to hunt for ancient planet that may prove Earth moon origins
Nasa's planet hunter seeks new earths
First-ever images taken of extrasolar planets
Time to say goodbye to Planet Earth?
Latest News from our Front Page
Recent Israeli Synagogue Attack, a Possible False Flag?
2014 11 21
Dear Friends - I woke up yesterday morning to see a newspaper lying on the kitchen table with the front page proclaiming that five people were slain in an Israeli synagogue after a so-called "Palestinian attack." Some members of the media said that four people were killed, others said five, so it seems like that there was some confusion (or ...
The Michael Brown Shooting, Race Baiting for Political Power and Militarization of the Police
2014 11 21
From Youtube: The evidence clearly shows that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, so why is this case being hyped by the mainstream media and the leftist political establishment?
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’
2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ
The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies.
“GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
LOL: Atheist Feminist Pornographer Used as Moral Authority in T-shirt Row
2014 11 21
Dr. Matt Taylor was thrust into the headlines this last week, largely for his lead role in successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 300 million miles from earth that travels at a speed of 85,000 mph. In short, Taylor and his colleagues pulled off one of the most amazing achievements in contemporary science and space exploration, and in a ...
|More News » |