A planet that some scientists are calling Earth 2 has been found. It contains similar size and mass to Earth, and is most likely also made of rocks and iron. The planet has been seen revolving a star that is about 700 light years away and is located in the constellation Cygnus, researchers broadcasted on Wednesday.
Research member Josh Winn stated that the planet is very Earth-like in the sense that it is around the same size and thickness, but of course it is very different in that the planet is almost at least 2,000 degrees warmer. Winn, who is a MIT associate professor of physics and also a member of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research also stated that finding this planet is bringing scientists closer to being able to study other Earth-like planets.
The sphere, which has been dubbed Kepler 78b, is extremely fast when compared to Earth. It orbits its own star in just over 8 hours. In contrast, it takes approximately 365 days for the Earth to go around the sun. Kepler 78b’s rapid journey of its home world was recognized by scientists back in August.
Astrophysicists stated in the journal Nature that the exoplanet seems to be made up of iron and rock, which is the same as Earth and they found this out by measuring Kepler 78b’s mass to decide its bulk. It was in reality a tad larger than Earth and nearly doubled in weight.
The planet is located in the Cygnus constellation which is hundreds of light-years away as was stated before, and it goes around its sun every 8½ hours. This makes the orb a major mystery to astronomers who do not understand how it was able to form so near to a star. They do agree that the planet is going to be drawn into the sun in a few billion years. It is then believed that Kepler 78b’s life, at least astronomically speaking, is not long to last.
There have been over 1,000 exoplanets, which are worlds outside our own solar system, found so far. Yet not are like Kepler 78b, or so it is believed at this time. Studies show other details about the planet, such as its mass. The distant sphere weight is over 1.7 times the amount of Earth’s. Also those boiling temperatures on top of the surface means life as there is on Earth is very unlikely.
The gold standard in science is having certain findings reproduced by other researchers, explained Andrew Howard, who works for the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. In the case of this planet, they did not have to wait for something like this to happen.
Looking for planets against the pitch-black of interplanetary space is a distinctive challenge. In order to find this planet, the team examined light emitted from by the star as the planet passed by it. The researchers then identified a transit every time the star’s light changed, and measured this darkening to measure its size. The larger the planet, the more light it would block out.
To be able to measure the planet’s weight, the scientists tracked the motion of the planet’s sun. Depending on its mass, a planet may wield a gravitational wrench on its star. This cosmological motion can be spotted as a very slight quiver, also known as a Doppler shift.
Winn and his associates measured Kepler 78b’s Doppler shift by studying observations off the Keck Observatory that is located in Hawaii. It is one of the biggest telescopes on Earth. The research team investigated starlight information taken over an eight-day period. Despite the strength of the telescope, the star’s signal was very faint, which made a formidable task for the team.
Winn said that the researchers wandered on each of the eight nights that they were agonizing over whether it was worth it to continue looking for, and studying the planet. Earth 2 found? Maybe not quite, but as close as scientists have discovered as of yet.
Written by: Kimberly Ruble