CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Scientists have found a planet way out in the cosmos that's close in size and content to Earth — an astronomical first.
But hold off on the travel plans. This rocky world is so close to its sun that it's at least 2,000 degrees hotter than here, almost certainly too hot for life.
Astrophysicists reported Wednesday in the journal Nature that the exoplanet Kepler-78b appears to be made of rock and iron just like Earth. They measured the planet's mass to determine its density and content. It's actually a little bigger than Earth and nearly double its mass, or weight.
Kepler-78b is located in the Cygnus constellation hundreds of light-years away. Incredibly, it orbits its sun every 8½ hours, a mystery to astronomers who doubt it could have formed or moved that close to a star. They agree the planet will be sucked up by the sun in a few billion years, so its time remaining, astronomically speaking, is short.
More than 1,000 exoplanets — worlds outside our solar system — have been confirmed so far.
NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, used to discover Kepler-78b, has identified 3,500 more potential candidates. The telescope lost its precise pointing ability earlier this year, and NASA has given up trying to fix it.
Scientific teams in the United States and Switzerland used ground observatories to measure Kepler-78b.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
UNM athletics is rolling out a new points program to determine which fans get access to The Pit's best seats, postseason tickets and prime parking spots.
A recent Christmas Eve tradition that's become increasingly popular in Santa Fe has been shot down.
Police said a homeowner and his 11-year-old son stopped two burglars dead in their tracks. They walked in on the alleged heist, but weren't about to let the suspected thieves get away with it, and they got creative with the way they …
What happened to one of four local officers shot in a dramatic October chase now has the attention of city, county, and even state lawmakers as they discuss proposing a policy that would ensure she will be the last first responder to get …
Albuquerque police have now identified the suspect shot by officers on Sunday, and he's a man whose past includes at least one fight with police and several other violent incidents.
Today’s top headlines with Matt Mauro, Elizabeth Alvarez and meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke.