New Mustafar-like Planet Discovered?

Bonnie Burton | February 4, 2009


(Photo credit: CNES)

Astronomers using the COROT space telescope have discovered what may be the smallest extrasolar planet (measuring less than twice the size of Earth) orbiting a sun-like star. The planet (seen as that block dot in the above photo) sounds a little like Mustafar, minus the Jedi duel.

One big difference in the newfound planet compared to Earth: COROT-Exo-7b is located very close to its star, orbiting once every 20 hours. Its temperature is so high, ranging from 1,832 to 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit that the researchers say the exoplanet could be covered in lava or water vapor.

The density of the planet is still under investigation, though scientists say it may be rocky like Earth and covered in liquid lava. COROT-Exo-7b may also belong to a class of planets that are thought to be made up of water and rock in almost equal amounts. Given the high temperatures measured, the planet would likely be a very hot and humid place.

Read the full story here:
Small, Hot Earth-Like Planet Discovered
(via AOL news/Space.com)

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SOURCE: TheForce.net

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