Earth has a twin that is hotter and puffier, and it is circling a distant red dwarf star, according to astronomers. The weird exoplanet, which is being called KOI-314c, is located around 200 light-years away and is about the same mass as Earth. Its extremely dense atmosphere, however, makes the world about 55 percent bigger than our own planet, researchers declared.
This newly discovered planet “might have the same mass as Earth, but it is certainly not Earth-like,” said study chief author David Kipping, who works at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics. This goes to show that there are no clear separations between rocky planets like the Earth and fluffier worlds such as those made up of water or gas.
Kipping broadcast the finding of KOI-314c (which was done via observations from a NASA space telescope) Monday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society which was being held in Washington, D.C.
The planet was found to be orbiting a red dwarf. NASA’s telescope was made to find exoplanets by noticing the betraying brightness dips they make when they cross the faces of their orbiting host stars. This is from the telescope’s viewpoint. KOI-314c is the very first Earth-mass planet that has ever been discovered, and is the lightest space world that has had both its size and mass measured, stated scientists.
The planet orbits around its host red dwarf star about every 23 days. The discovery group estimated that KOI-314c’s surface temperature was about 220 degrees Fahrenheit, so that meant it was probably too hot to support any kind of life as anyone on Earth would know it. KOI-314c is probably surrounded by a helium hydrogen type of atmosphere that is possibly hundreds of miles thick. This atmosphere might have even been denser than it is now, with a lot being boiled off over the ages from the radiation of the red dwarf star. Earth definitely has a twin which is hotter and puffier.
KOI-314c also has a sibling planet, which has been labeled KOI-314b, and makes one total orbit every 13 days. In order to analyze the mass of KOI-314c, the research team measured how the planet’s gravity disturbed its neighbor’s movements.
Studying such movements is a technique known as transit timing variations. It is a major change from the usual studying technique, where astrophysicists measure a planet’s gravity wobble, which is induced by its host star. Transit variations were first used with success in 2010, but the procedure has a major chance of going forward, especially with low mass planets, said astronomers.
Kipping declared that it would be nice to finally bring transit timing variations to complete development. He and his group were the ones who found KOI-314c while searching for satellites of alien planets called exomoons. Kipping stated that when his team took note of the Earth twin showing timing variations, it was clear that this was due to it being a planet and not a moon. Strangely, the group was actually first disappointed that it was not a moon, but then they soon realized it was something much more extraordinary. Kipping and group discovered that it was a twin of Earth that was hotter and puffier.
By Kimberly Ruble