The first Earth-sized exoplanet, just discovered, makes no sense to scientists.


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The first Earth-sized exoplanet, just discovered, makes no sense to scientists.

Kepler-78b is a planet that shouldn’t exist. This scorching lava world circles its star every eight and a half hours at a distance of less than one million miles – one of the tightest known orbits. According to current theories of planet formation, it couldn’t have formed so close to its star, nor could it have moved there. “This planet is a complete mystery,” says astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. What we do know is that it’s not going to last forever.”

The planet itself is only 20 percent larger than the Earth, with a comparable density that suggests its composition is similar as well.

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2 comments

  • ted

    Just another example of scientific models not conforming to reality.

  • I’m not sure I understand why the planet couldn’t have moved to it’s current orbit. A collision with another planetoid might well knock it into a new orbit. At the distance it’s orbiting its primary, we could be seeing a ‘death spiral’ into the star rather than a stable orbit.

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