Friday, January 14, 2011

Kepler mission confirms the discovery of first rocky planet

NASA Ames researchers have released some really interesting news. The team has confirmed the existence of a rocky planet. The FIRST rocky planet outside our solar system. The planet is designated Kepler-10b. At about 1 1/2 times bigger than Earth it is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system.

Kepler-10b's sun resides in the Cygnus constellation about 560 light-years distant. The planet is truly an unusual discovery. Up to this point the planets being discovered had for the most part been gas giants many time the size of Earth. Even so, it could not support life. It orbits several times closer to its parent star than our planet Mercury. That makes the surface temperature hotter than a lava flow on Earth. Kepler-10b is so close in its orbit that its parent sun's magnetic field has stripped it of any atmosphere.

Below is some NASA animation of Kepler-10b and go here for the complete NASA article.

Thanks to Dan for the original post

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