Alien Worlds

Earth-Sized Planets Around Alien Sun

On December 20, NASA astronomers have reported about two new planets orbiting a star 950 light-years far from Earth. NASA’s Kepler space telescope has detected two new Earth-sized planets in the orbit of Kepler-20 star. The star is so hot that it is keeping the two planets at the temperature of 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit (760 degrees Celsius) and 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius) respectively — way too warm to support liquid water on the planets. The Kepler-20 star is a same class (G-type) star as our sun is, and is slightly cooler. The newfound planets are named Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f and are 0.87 and 1.03 times the width of the Earth respectively, with the masses less than 1.7 and 3 times Earth‘s mass. 
These make planets the most Earth-sized planets found so far. According to NASA scientists, the new Kepler planets are composed of silicates and iron, much like the Earth, but they do not have the atmosphere our planet has. Kepler-20e makes a circle around its Kepler-20 star once every 6.1 days at a distance of 4.7 million miles (7.6 million kilometers). Kepler-20f makes a full orbit every 19.6 days, at a distance of 10.3 million miles (16.6 million km). For comparison, Earth is orbiting the sun at about 93 million miles (150 million km). Both Kepler planets have a rocky surface and are located closer to their star than Mercury is located to our sun. Due to the high temperature on the newfound alien planet, scientists consider the chances of life on the planets too small. However, since only one side of planets is facing its star, and the other side is always in dark, scientists suppose that there might be some habitable regions, though with very small chances.

source: www.space.com

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