Shocked Scientists Discover "Mega Earth"

New measurements reveal Kepler-10c (previously thought to have been a gaseous planet akin to a smaller Neptune) sports a dense, rocky mass over ten times higher than Earth's. Surprised scientists had previously thought solid planets could never be so large.

What's the Latest?


Astronomers have created a new classification for giant Earth-like spheres after the surprising discovery that a planet previously thought to be gaseous is actually solid. The planet is Kepler-10c, which orbits the star Kepler-10 about 560 light-years away. Kepler-10c weighs 17 times as much as Earth and notably features a considerable amount of water. Based on previous theories, Kepler-10c shouldn't exist; planets that large tend to lose their atmospheres over time and grow into gas giants. The discovery is a game-changer.

What's the Big Idea?

The discovery of Kepler-10c as a solid planet opens the door to loads of new questions and hypotheses about the formation of the universe. As the Kepler-10 system is about 11 billion years old, astronomers are now tackling the issue of how rocky planets were formed before elements such as silicon and iron were commonplace throughout the universe. Additional questions have risen about the system's capacity to host (or to have hosted) life.

If this discovery has got you itching to log onto Priceline and book the first flight to Kepler-10c, you may need to temper your expectations. Despite its similarities to Earth, Kepler-10c 's surface temperature runs at about 413°F, making it just about as hospitable as Oklahoma City in the summer time.

Read More at i09

Photo Credit: Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less