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Scientists discovers hot Earth exoplanet

Date: 26 February 2019 Tags: Space

Scientists from Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics have discovered 'hot Earth' exoplanet orbiting its dwarf star in just 11 hours. It was discovered using data from NASA's planet-hunting satellite Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Exoplanets are planets beyond our own solar system.

hot Earth exoplanet

  • It is rocky in composition and is around 50 light-years away from Earth. It has radius of about 1.3 Earth-radii, favorable enough to host atmosphere.
  • Its short orbital period of 11 hours shows that lies very close to its star – only about seven stellar radii. Its inferred surface temperature is about 800 kelvin, too hot to retain an atmosphere. But it may be hosting atmosphere.

Significance of discovery

  • According to Scientists, if plant is formed in roughly this close-in location, its atmosphere is likely to stripped away in star's youth stage when it was more luminous and had more intense chromospheric activity.
  • hot Earth exoplanet proximity to earth offers in characterizing any atmosphere it might have using transit method and may help to shed light on the planet's formation.

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

  • Its NASA’s explorer mission launched in April 2018 to discover planets smaller than Neptune that transit bright stars. It is designed to find potential planets orbiting stars close to Earth.
  • It has been placed in never-before-used elliptical orbit called P/2, high above Earth. It identifies such planets by undertaking all-sky survey using transit method.
  • It is successor to Kepler space observatory which has detected most of the currently known exoplanets. It will focus on stars that are 30 to 100 times brighter than those Kepler examined.  
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