Nov 15, 2015 06:23 PM EST
A planet discovered to be the same size as the Earth is said to be so close that it can be seen through a high-powered ground telescope. This planet is named GJ 1132b, which is 16% larger than Earth and is 39 light years away, the closest Earth-like planet revolving around a star.
However, as much similarities it does have of the Earth, the planet's scorching surface temperature of 260 degree Celsius, it is more like the nearby planet, Venus's twin than Earth's. Nevertheless, unlike its so-called twin, GJ 1132b does not rotate on its own and is far too close to its host star.
The GJ 1132b is located in the constellation of Vela, in the southern hemisphere, and close enough to observe its atmosphere through telescopes. It rotates a red dwarf star, which is only a fifth of our Sun's size, completing its orbit in 1.6 days. However, its orbit's distance is so close, just 1.4 miles, even closer than Mercury; hence, it has high surface temperature.
As MIT Kavli Institute's Dr. Zachory Berta-Thompson said, "The temperature of the planet is about as hot as your oven will go, so it's like burnt-cookie hot. It's too hot to be habitable - there's no way there's liquid water on the surface. But it is a lot cooler than the other rocky planets that we know of. The planet is cool enough that it can retain an atmosphere." Its findings and discoveries have been published in a journal in Nature. The research used the MEarth-South array, which was eight 40 cm robotic telescopes to detect the planet at the Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
The James Webb Space Telescope, which replaced the Hubble Space Telescope, is larger and is set to be launched in 2018, which hopefully could distinguish the planet's atmosphere and its chemical structure and its weather. Dr. Berta-Thompson added, "We think it's the first opportunity we have to point our telescopes at a rocky exoplanet and get that kind of detail, to be able to measure the colour of its sunset, or the speed of its winds, and really learn how rocky planets work out there in the universe."
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