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Tiny fireball exoplanet completes one year in 8.5 hours
The Register ^ | 19th August 2013 | Neil McAllister

Posted on 08/20/2013 11:32:49 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Molten sphere could give clues to planetary mass

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a new, Earth-sized exoplanet for which orbiting its star is literally all in a day's work.

The newly discovered planet, dubbed Kepler 78b, completes one full revolution around its star in just 8.5 hours – fast enough that by the time you clock in at the office and clock out again, another solar year will have passed for Kepler 78b.

To achieve this rapid orbital period, the planet revolves around its star at a distance 40 times closer than Mercury is to our sun.

As you can imagine, that means it's hot on Kepler 78b. The MIT astroboffins led by associate professor Josh Winn reckon its surface temperature could reach as high as 3,000 Kelvin, compared to around 700 Kelvin for the hottest parts of Mercury.

But that isn't even the most interesting thing about this newly discovered world. According to a press release from MIT, Kepler 78b marks the first time that scientists have been able to observe light emanating from an exoplanet so small.

Artist's illustration of a planet in very near orbit to its star

Talk about a sunburn: Kepler 78b's surface temperature could reach 3,000 Kelvin

The researchers aren't sure just what's causing the glow, but they suspect it's due to a combination of radiation from Kepler 78b's molten surface and light reflected by surface materials and atmospheric vapor. They'll know more once they examine the planet and its star with larger telescopes.

What's more, the planet's orbit is so tight that the researchers believe they may be able to determine its mass by measuring its gravitational effects on the star. If they succeed, it will be the first time that boffins have been able to calculate the mass of an Earth-sized world outside our own solar system.

But while Kepler 78b may be Earth-sized, it's hardly Earth-like. With its hellish surface conditions, it's incapable of supporting any form of life that we'd understand.

Like many other scientists, however, Winn and his team plan to continue the hunt for the elusive Earth II by sifting through the data returned by NASA's Kepler spacecraft. Kepler recently ended its primary planet-hunting mission after suffering mechanical failures, but it's believed that hundreds or maybe thousands more planets have yet to be discovered among the data Kepler has already transmitted.

In particular, Winn said he might try looking for planets that resemble Kepler 78b – even in their proximity to their stars – but that are orbiting around much cooler brown dwarf stars.

"If you're around one of those brown dwarfs, then you can get as close in as just a few days [to orbit the star]," Winn said. "It would still be habitable, at the right temperature." ®


TOPICS: Astronomy
KEYWORDS: exoplanet; joshwinn; kepler78b; telescope; xplanets

1 posted on 08/20/2013 11:32:49 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: SunkenCiv

fyi


2 posted on 08/20/2013 11:33:22 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Wow; that would make you grow old pretty quick!!!


3 posted on 08/20/2013 11:34:25 AM PDT by DLfromthedesert
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I'd be curious to learn what the planet is made of.
4 posted on 08/20/2013 11:34:32 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I’m thinking that’s where liberals and Imams are sent when they finally quit polluting earth.


5 posted on 08/20/2013 11:36:14 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Kind of like the sun has a moon


6 posted on 08/20/2013 11:37:05 AM PDT by GeronL
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To: 1rudeboy

gold!

100% gold planet

just kidding...


7 posted on 08/20/2013 11:37:47 AM PDT by GeronL
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I wonder if it use to orbit further out but as it encountered friction it spiraled in. It’s bound to just evaporate away in the end.


8 posted on 08/20/2013 11:38:49 AM PDT by Nateman (If liberals are not screaming you are doing it wrong!t happened world wide.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
If you're around one of those brown dwarfs, then you can get as close in as just a few days

That's RACIST!


9 posted on 08/20/2013 11:38:55 AM PDT by humblegunner
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

“...forty times closer...”

Why do reporters no longer know the words “fortieth,” “thousandth,” “half,” etc.


10 posted on 08/20/2013 11:41:51 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Let's go there, in less than 30 hours 0bamas term will be over.
And if Hill wins, we only have to suffer her for 3 days max.

11 posted on 08/20/2013 11:42:51 AM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Gee, it would sure get old celebrating every-bodies birthday every eight and 1/2 hours....
12 posted on 08/20/2013 11:45:20 AM PDT by apillar
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To: 1rudeboy

They have calculated that it has to be at least as dense as solid iron. What I cannot find is a calculation for its velocity.


13 posted on 08/20/2013 11:49:05 AM PDT by Ingtar (The NSA - "We're the only part of government who actually listens to the people.")
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To: Arthur McGowan

Haf to mayk it ees.. eys.. mor eesy for da genral poplace ta reed.

Besides, saying “1/40th the distance” isn’t nearly as cool (er smrt) as saying “40 times closer”.


14 posted on 08/20/2013 11:52:46 AM PDT by TheZMan (Buy more ammo.)
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To: 1rudeboy
I'd be curious to learn what the planet is made of.

Something that doesn't vaporize at high temps. I'm figuring ice cream is right out as a candidate.

/johnny

15 posted on 08/20/2013 11:57:33 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

If it is indeed travelling the same distance around its sun as Mercury travels around ours, then this planet is moving at a speed that is 4% of the speed of light.


16 posted on 08/20/2013 12:13:26 PM PDT by kidd
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To: 1rudeboy
I'd be curious to learn what the planet is made of.

A lot of molten something.

17 posted on 08/20/2013 12:18:36 PM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (So Obama "inherited" a mess? Firemen "inherit" messes too. Ever see one put gasoline on it?)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Sounds like a good location for a Lake of Fire.


18 posted on 08/20/2013 12:37:38 PM PDT by Disambiguator
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To: 1rudeboy

Nickel + Iron in all likelihood.


19 posted on 08/20/2013 12:46:30 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge
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To: kidd

a cubed = p squared. If the period is 8 hours, the a is around 800 thousand miles.

Given a star the size of the sun, that’s only about 350 thousand miles from the surface of the star. circumference of the orbit would be 628,000 miles/hour or 290k m/s. So about a tenth of a percent of the speed of light.

So not quite relativistic...


20 posted on 08/20/2013 12:59:00 PM PDT by JCBreckenridge
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To: JCBreckenridge
So not quite relativistic...

It's all relative, anyway

21 posted on 08/20/2013 1:24:17 PM PDT by JRios1968 (I'm guttery and trashy, with a hint of lemon. - Laz)
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To: 1rudeboy

I can tell you without a fear of contradiction that it consists chiefly of unobtainium.


22 posted on 08/20/2013 1:55:15 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I hate the word “boffins”


23 posted on 08/20/2013 1:58:13 PM PDT by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: hattend

Come now, don’t be such an egghead.


24 posted on 08/20/2013 2:02:10 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

‘Astroboffins’, heh heh.


25 posted on 08/20/2013 2:04:20 PM PDT by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
As you can imagine, that means it's hot on Kepler 78b.

Of course, our own sun has no causal relationship whatsoever to Earth's climate and temperature. Algore said so.

26 posted on 08/20/2013 2:09:57 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Army dad. And damned proud.)
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To: hattend

The English prefer it.


27 posted on 08/20/2013 3:33:50 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; KevinDavis; annie laurie; Knitting A Conundrum; Viking2002; Mmogamer; ...

Thanks Ernest, the X-Planets list guy has been slackin'. {blush} For the name of this, I nominate "Tilt-a-Whirl".
 
X-Planets
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
Google news searches: exoplanet · exosolar · extrasolar ·

28 posted on 08/20/2013 4:00:48 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's no coincidence that some "conservatives" echo the hard left.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Are planets like this even solid or are they just a ball of super hot liquid rock?


29 posted on 08/21/2013 2:37:59 PM PDT by mowowie
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To: humblegunner

Oh man....how did i miss THAT party?
Looks rockin’


30 posted on 08/21/2013 2:39:45 PM PDT by mowowie
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