Astronomy

'Godzilla of Earths' identified

There is a new class of planet out there that astronomers are calling the "mega-Earth". 

mega earth image
It is an object with a hard surface like our own world but much, much bigger. The necessity for the new designation follows the discovery of a planet which has a mass some 17 times that of Earth. Known as Kepler-10c, it orbits a star about 560 light-years away. Scientists described its properties at an American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston. They confess it is something of a head-scratcher. Theorists had always thought that any planet that large would pull so much hydrogen on to itself that it would look more like a Neptune or a Jupiter. "The proper way to call it is something bigger than a 'super-Earth, so how about 'mega-Earth," Prof Dimitar Sasselov, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA), told reporters. He also used the phrase, "the Godzilla of Earths!". [read more at BBC News...]

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Last Update: 15 May 15:46