Guess how huge a rocky planet could be? Usually, it is believed that about over 1.6 times Earth’s distance, a world will end up to be a gas giant. Something below this can be a super Earth, and the smaller ones would be the terrestrial planets like that of the size of the Earth, Mars, Mercury, etc.
But that border may need to be modified based on a brand new breakthrough. Astronomers claim they’ve discovered a Neptune-sized exoplanet that has a rocky composition. The earth, called BD+20594b, is definitely around 2.23 times the Earth’s radius and around 16.3 times its mass. This could be one of the largest planets that haveever been discovered once it is confirmed.
Discovered at about 500 light years from Earth, BD+20594b completes an orbit of the Sun-like star in every 42 days.
If confirmed to be rocky in composition, the BD+20594b’s structure would not be known for exoplanets of its size” as the authors, led by Nestor Espinoza from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago, document it on Arxiv.
The authors came up with a conclusion that the planet is most likely has a rocky composition due to its mass-to-radius ratio, that its density could be determined: 8 grams per cubic centimeter when compared to 5.5 for planet Earth.
We all know it is rocky and not gaseous by its density,” says Espinoza.
However, there are a few cautions to consider. The team has noted that further studies are needed to verify its rocky structure, particularly because it is at the border between gas giants and terrestrial planets.
The errors about the mass are huge! However, I am pretty sure it’s not gaseous. It may be an ‘ocean’ planet, even if the information is most consistent with a rocky planet.”
The planet was found by using the Kepler space telescope, as part of its recent K2 mission, with follow up findings from the HARPS spectrograph at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. And its own breakthrough might have substantial ramifications for the rapidly improving knowledge of the exoplanets.
BD+20594b happens to be the only real world that could actually use the title’ Mega-Earth,’ a title to behold if we have more sufficient data at hand, ” Espinoza explained.