Apparently the “Godzilla of Earths” has been discovered and it is not a planet any human being would want to live on. Before astronomers began finding exoplanets back in the middle 1990’s, they believed that extraterrestrial worlds would be similar to the planets that exist in this Solar System. However from the instant the sightings started rolling in, it was clear just how mistaken they were.
The first of the newly discovered planets, known as 51 Pegasi b, found back in 1995, was a gigantic, vaporous world like Jupiter, but different to the real thing, it circled its personal star so narrowly that it was burning hot. More recently, astrophysicists have found planets that remind them of mini-Neptunes. These are planets that are not very much bigger than Earth and contain a rocky center, but they have a much greater proportion of water than what the Earth does.
So now “Godzilla” has come along. Scientists were speaking at a news conference in Boston and numerous astronomers from Harvard announced they had found a planet they were calling a “mega-Earth.” It has officially been labeled as Kepler 10 c and is approximately 18,000 miles crosswise, in comparison with the size of Earth being at around 8,000 miles across, and it is believed to weigh at least 17 times as much as the Earth. Harvard astrophysicist Dimitar Sasselov is the person who nicknamed it “Godzilla.”
Xavier Dumusque, who was the astronomer that first discovered the enormous planet, declared that it was actually surprising that the planet even existed at all. He explained that his team’s first thought was they really could not believe what they were seeing. The reason for that is because when a piece of mainly rock and iron stretches to about ten times the form of Earth, its leading gravity starts sucking up all of the gases around and at the same time planets form, a person would expect there to be a lot of gas to suck up. Nearer to home, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune each have rocky cores that are larger than the Earth, but the majority of their mass comes from water, helium, hydrogen and other gases that were taken in basically just as soon as they were created.
However, Kepler 10 c did not go through with this type of production, and it is not clear as to why not. There just are not any good ideas explained Sasselov.
Jack Lissauer, who works as a planet formation theorist at NASA, believes that it is possible that the gas could have somehow disappeared by the time 10 c had got to its huge Godzilla size, or maybe it was created from the crash of two smaller rocky planets, where neither one was able to keep hold of its gas, but Lissauer does not think either of these theories is particularly persuasive.
The mystery becomes even greater when the planet’s age, which is believed to be around 11 billion years, is factored into the equation. That means Kepler 10 c, is around 560 light years from the Earth and is located in the Draco constellation. It is thought it would have formed about three billion years after the Big Bang occurred. At that time, silicon and iron were in far lower abundance than they were just 4.6 billion years ago. That was when the Sun was born yet Kepler 10 c is completely full of the metals.
The huge planet’s basic Earthiness does not mean it would be able to sustain any kind of life. One thing going against it is it has an orbit of just 45 days so that means it is too close to its personal star for water to be able to stay a liquid on its surface. It also is not exactly the same as Earth in its composition. It has about 10 percent of unstable substances like water and oxygen and water so it is most definitely not a twin to the Earth. However with the gravity produced by Kepler 10 c’s mass, most of the water it has is probably bound up in minerals, or pressed into some sort of solid form in spite of the high temperatures. Sasselov stated that he believed the planet was solid rather than rocky.
He added that around five years ago or so, he was one of the astronomers arguing that they should not even bother wasting time looking for solid planets. However after this week, he says he has changed his mind. He can chalk that up to the discovery of the “Godzilla of Earths.”
By Kimberly Ruble