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Fireball planet orbits star in 8.5 hours


Posted on Tuesday, 20 August, 2013 | Comment icon 11 comments


Image credit: NASA/ESA

 
A newly discovered Earth-sized world around a distant star completes a full orbit in a matter of hours.

Dubbed Kepler 78b, the small world orbits its parent star at a distance 40 times closer than Mercury's orbit of our own sun. Not only does this produce an extremely short orbital period but the planet itself is a smouldering, hellish world with temperatures exceeding 3,000 Kelvin. By contrast, Mercury's maximum surface temperature peaks at around 700 Kelvin.

The newly discovered planet has a few other surprises in store as well. It is the first time scientists have been able to directly observe light from a planet of this size and because of its tight orbit, it is believed that it may be possible to determine its mass, a feat never achieved before for a planet outside of our own solar system.

"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."

  View: Full article |  Source: The Register

  Discuss: View comments (11)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 August, 2013, 12:29
As close to its star as this planet is, I am surprised the stars gravitational pull didn't suck it right into itself. It doesn't work like that. If the orbital velocity is correct then theoretically you could orbit 2 inches above the star. In reality that can't happen. Stars have an atmosphere and if the planet orbits within this then drag will slow the planet and that will cause it to spiral into the star. Also there is the Roche Limit. If the planet orbits lower than the stars Roche limit then tidal forces will tear it apart.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Ryu on 20 August, 2013, 13:37
Yeah, with a velocity like that I suppose the planets orbit can be maintained for quite some time. But what about the slingshot effect. With a high velocity rate, isn't it possible for the planet to be flung away at some point?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 August, 2013, 14:06
But what about the slingshot effect. With a high velocity rate, isn't it possible for the planet to be flung away at some point? Again it doesn't work like that. If an object is in orbit it means that the force trying to make it fly away from the object it is orbit around (inertia) is balanced by the force trying to pull it into the object it is orbiting (gravity). They will remain balanced unless another force acts on them.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Sundew on 20 August, 2013, 14:32
As close to its star as this planet is, I am surprised the stars gravitational pull didn't suck it right into itself. Anyways, that was pretty neat to read. Again science learns more and more each day. At our galactic center stars are racing around a black hole as well, and while the BH may be pulling gases off their surfaces and "consuming" the gas, despite the intense gravitation (billions of times that of our sun), they do not just fall into the black hole, they orbit it. It would take some other object, say another star, passing close by to change the orbit of the star in question, in whic... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin on 20 August, 2013, 14:55
Amazing. I like how, even after being(somewhat out-of-service) that there is more previous data to pour over and examine. I say "somewhat" because even though 2 out the 4 gyros have failed, I think I heard that they are considering using the onboard mini-thrusters to somewhat stabilize the telescope for additional imaging. Maybe Waspie has more info on that.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 20 August, 2013, 16:45
I say "somewhat" because even though 2 out the 4 gyros have failed, I think I heard that they are considering using the onboard mini-thrusters to somewhat stabilize the telescope for additional imaging. Maybe Waspie has more info on that. Basically Kepler's planet hunting days are over. NASA is looking into what useful mission it could now carry out. There is more info HERE.
Comment icon #8 Posted by brlesq1 on 20 August, 2013, 22:32
What a great article. Too bad Kepler failed.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Rolci on 21 August, 2013, 13:08
So what WOULDN'T melt on the surface?
Comment icon #10 Posted by shrooma on 21 August, 2013, 19:34
So what WOULDN'T melt on the surface? . Adamantium. Superman's underpants. margaret thatcher's heart. a frozen 20lb turkey at 11am on christmas morning..... ;-)
Comment icon #11 Posted by spacecowboy342 on 23 August, 2013, 18:17
At our galactic center stars are racing around a black hole as well, and while the BH may be pulling gases off their surfaces and "consuming" the gas, despite the intense gravitation (billions of times that of our sun), they do not just fall into the black hole, they orbit it. It would take some other object, say another star, passing close by to change the orbit of the star in question, in which case it might fall in, be flung away, or merely change its orbit. Just think of the earth's orbit around our own sun, or the moon around the earth, on our time scale, the orbits are very stable. We do... [More]


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