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Space Earth

Strange New World Discovered: The "Mega Earth" 147

Posted by samzenpus
from the thing-that-should-not-be dept.
astroengine (1577233) writes "Meet 'mega-Earth' a souped-up, all-solid planet that, according to theory, should not exist. First spotted by NASA's Kepler space telescope, the planet is about 2.3 times larger than Earth. Computer models show planets that big would be more like Neptune or the other gas planets of the outer solar system since they would have the gravitational heft to collect vast amounts of hydrogen and helium from their primordial cradles. But follow-up observations of the planet, designated as Kepler-10c, show it has 17 times as much mass as Earth, meaning it must be filled with rock and other materials much heavier than hydrogen and helium. 'Kepler-10c is a big problem for the theory,' astronomer Dimitar Sasselov, director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative, told Discovery News. 'It's nice that we have a solid piece of evidence and measurements for it because that gives motivations to the theorists to improve the theory,' he said."
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Strange New World Discovered: The "Mega Earth"

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  • Dense (Score:4, Informative)

    by rossdee (243626) on Monday June 02, 2014 @06:07PM (#47150179)

    Something that was 2.3 times the size of the earth would be only about 12 times the mass of the earth if it were the same density
    since it is 17 times the mass it must be denser than the earth, presumably more iron/nickel than silicate rock.

    way too much gravity for 'life as we know it, Jim'\

  • by Chas (5144) on Monday June 02, 2014 @06:26PM (#47150339) Homepage Journal

    "2.3 times larger" is grossly ambiguous in at least 2 different ways:

    Until we read further, we are left to guess whether that means 2.3 times the diameter, 2.3 times the volume, or what. A few sentences later they clarify a bit, but it's still sloppy writing.

    Second, "times larger" is ambiguous in English. If Earth has diameter 1, then a diameter 2.3 times as large would be 2.3. Technically, a diameter 2.3 times larger would be 3.3 (1 + 2.3).

    Call that nitpicking if you want, but it's still sloppy writing.

    Okay from the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K... [wikipedia.org]

    The sidebar states 17.2 +/- 1.9 M (M = Earth masses)
    It also states that the Radius is aproximately 2.35 R (R = Earth radius)

    Surface Gravity is a little over 3x that of Earth.
    Unfortunately this probably isn't going to be a liveable world. It's only about a quarter of the distance from its sun that the Earth is. It's mean surface temperature is a whopping 400+ degrees Fahrenheit (so yes, paper would auto-ignite there).

  • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:01PM (#47150965)
    That's because English took a large number of words from other languages and kept the spelling from the origin language. It's easy to figure out a word in German because the word is German. In English, a word could come from German, or Latin, or French, or Greek, etc.
  • by Derec01 (1668942) on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:48PM (#47151279)

    A little bit pedantic, but it certainly matters as they vary as different powers of the radius. Having 2.3 times the radius would be almost 12.2 times the volume. If the volume was only 2.3 times the Earth's volume, then the radius would only be 1.32 times larger.

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