A Scorched World-Kelper-10B And Host Star
Scorched And Blistered – The World of Planet Kelper-10B
Planet Kepler-10b is a scorched blistering world, orbiting at a distance that’s more than 20 times closer to its star than Mercury is to our own Sun and takes less than one Earth day to orbit its star. The daytime temperature’s expected to be more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than lava flows here on Earth, hot enough to melt iron! Intense radiation from the star has kept the planet from holding onto an atmosphere. Flecks of silicates and iron may be boiled off a molten surface and swept away by the stellar radiation, much like a comet’s tail when its orbit brings it close to the Sun.
The Kepler team has determined that Kepler-10b who’s discovery was announced in Jan. 2011 is a rocky planet, with a surface you could stand on, a mass 4.6 times that of Earth, and a diameter 1.4 times that of Earth and an average density of 8.8 grams per cubic centimetre – similar to that of an iron dumbbell. It is the smallest exoplanet – a planet located outside our solar system (dark spot against yellow sun) and the first concrete evidence of a solid rocky planet orbiting a star other than our Sun discovered to date.
“One day, the oceans we cross will be the galaxy itself, but for now, we imagine the worlds we discover…”
The Kepler-10 star system is located about 560 light-years from our solar system. Planet Kepler-10b orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the Kelper spacecraft is monitoring with a 42 strong array of detectors aimed between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra and just above the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The star itself (Kelper 9)is very similar to our own sun in temperature, mass and size, but older with an age of over 8 billion years, compared to the 4-and-1/2 billion years of our own sun. . It’s one of the brighter stars that Kepler is monitoring and is a quiet star, slowly spinning with a weak magnetic field and few of the sun spots that characterize our own sun. It was the first star identified as potentially harbouring a very small transiting planet. The transits of the planet were first seen in July of 2009.
In May 2011, the Kepler team is announced another member of the Kepler-10 family, called Kepler-10c. It’s bigger than Kepler-10b with a radius of 2.2 times that of Earth’s, and it orbits the star every 45 days. Both planets would be blistering hot worlds. The Kepler-10 star system is the first star system found to have multiple transiting planets.
Picture Credits: NASA/Kepler Mission