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Space & Astronomy

Distant 'ice ball' exoplanet discovered

By T.K. Randall
April 28, 2017 · Comment icon 6 comments

The newly discovered world is a very cold place indeed. Image Credit: CC BY 4.0 ESO/L. Calcada
Scientists have announced the discovery of a freezing Earth-mass world 13,000 light years away.
It might not be the best place to look for signs of alien life, but the new planet, which has been assigned the rather inelegant moniker OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb, happens to be the smallest extrasolar world ever found using the gravitational microlensing planet-hunting technique.

Situated a whopping 13,000 light years away, this distant planet is probably far too cold to support life, even though it orbits its parent star at a distance similar to that of the Earth from the Sun.

The reason for this is because its star is very small and dim - roughly 7.8 percent the mass of the Sun - meaning that it might not even be a proper star at all.

Source: Scientific American | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by quiXilver 7 years ago
I love this stuff... thanks for sharing.
Comment icon #2 Posted by South Alabam 7 years ago
Pretty cool.
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker 7 years ago
A frozen planet... Cool! I wonder if there are any tauntauns, or wampas, there.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
It seems as though at least twice in its history the earth was an ice planet, with the oceans frozen almost completely and life only surviving at thermal vents.  It appears it was tectonic activity that broke the grip of the ice.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Calibeliever 7 years ago
Comment icon #6 Posted by Parsec 7 years ago
Considering that it's 13,000 light years away, it means that if in this very moment someone on that planet is looking at the earth, he would see a quite similar view, considering that 13,000 years ago we were at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum.  As far as we know they could fight global warming right now.    How fascinating! 

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