This newly-discovered planet whips round its star in less than an Earth day. Scientists used starquakes (starquakes!) to find out a little more about it, and they found that not only is it tiny, but it is also made of rock, just like our inner solar system.
It is a hot-lava planet.
A Confirmed Rocky Planet
I should mention that this planet is not Earth-like. Over the past couple years I’ve been hearing the phrase “most Earth-like planet ever discovered” bandied about by various news organizations, including some science press releases.
There’s a lot that goes into making a planet Earth-like.
- Size: In the case of Kepler 10b, it is very small, less than half again the size of the Earth. There is nothing in our solar system nearer to this size than the Earth itself.
- Composition: It is also definitely made of rock and metal, like the Earth, but it is denser than the Earth.
- Distance: But, it’s incredibly close to its star, unimaginably closer than Mercury. It takes LESS THAN A DAY to circle its Sun once.
- Temperature: This, paired with the fact that the planet is tidally locked (like our Moon is tidally locked to the Earth – same side always faces the Earth), leads to possibly the hottest planet you’ve ever tried to think about. It is hot enough to melt iron. Not lead, iron. It’s about 1833K (1560C, 2800F).
- Habitable Zone: Kepler 10b is not in the habitable zone. Interestingly, the habitable zone does not imply that the planet is habitable, simply that it could have liquid water – if it had water at all. Kepler 10b’s water would have evaporated faster than you can say “habitable zone” if it ever did have water.
- … and that’s just a few.
~ A l i c e !