Astronomers discovered Earth's gassy twin 200 light years away

Astronomers have discovered a gassy twin of Earth with a mass similar to that of Earth in another solar system 200 light years away.

Jan 8, 2014 11:23 IST
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Astronomers in January 2014 discovered a gassy twin of Earth with a mass similar to that of Earth in another solar system 200 light years away. The first Earth-mass planet that transits or crosses in front of its host star was discovered by an international team.

KOI-314c is the latest planet to have both its mass and physical size measured. Although the planet weighs the same as Earth but its diameter is about 60 percent larger than earth, this means that it has a very thick, gaseous atmosphere.

As per David Kipping, the lead author of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics that has discovered the planet, the planet might have the same mass as Earth but it is not like Earth. This is proved that the planet does not have clear diving line between the rocky worlds like Earth and is fluffier planet like water worlds or gas giants.

The data of the planet’s characteristics has been collected by using the information of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. The planet KOI-314c orbits across a dim red dwarf star that is located approximately 200 light-years away. It completes a circle of its star every 23 days. The Astronomers have calculated that the planet’s temperature about 104 degree Celsius, which is too hot to allow a life to exist as per the knowledge.

The Astronomers weighed the planet by using a new technique called transit timing variation (TTV), which can be used only in case more than one plant orbits a star. The two planets are tugged each other altering the time they take to cross the star’s face. They calculated the mass of the planet by analyzing the way the wobbles of the planet affects the light that comes from the star.

The new planet’s discovery was made by the Astronomers, while scouring data of Kepler Space telescope, while looking the evidence of moons instead of the planets. Transit timing helped the Astronomers to make sure that a planet exists in the system and not a moon. They also confirmed that the system also have its second planet and named it as KOI-314b. The second planet is similar to KOI-314c but is denser than it and weighs 4 times as much of the Earth and it orbits the star in 13 days.

As per the researchers, might be possible that the planet would have begun life as a mini-Neptune and it lost the gases of its atmosphere over time, which would have boiled off by intense radiation of its star. The discovery of the planet was presented by Kipping at a meeting of the American Astrological Society.

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