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Scientists confirm recently discovered exoplanet has rocky surface

Posted on Wednesday, September 16 2009 @ 15:05:13 CEST by

Astronomers have found evidence that an exoplanet that was discovered in February has a rocky surface and a density similar to our own planet. The planet is a so-called super-Earth, it has a mass five times that of Earth but is a lot hotter than Earth because it's in a much closer orbit from its star. More details at Reuters.
About 330 exoplanets have been found orbiting other stars besides the Earth's sun, most of which are gas giants with characteristics similar to Neptune, which has a mass 17 times that of earth.

But the planet at the center of Wednesday's study -- called CoRoT-7b -- is different. It orbits only 2.5 million kilometres from its star once every 20 hours and has a high temperature between 1,000 and 1,500 Celsius, meaning no life could survive there. Its radius is about 80 percent greater than Earth's.



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