This planet boasts a number of first discoveries.
Scientists have found
that it is the only planet currently found outside of the solar
system to have detectable oxygen and carbon in its atmosphere.
Its parent star is 150 light years from Earth in the
Named after the
Egyptian god who lost part of his body, Osiris revolves around
its sun a mere 4 million miles away.
The scorched planet is evaporating at such a fast rate that
scientists have begun to create a new classification of
exoplanets called chthonian planets. This nomenclature comes
from the infernal Greek deities and
H.P. Lovecraft's subsequent
usage for his space monsters.
It is most likely a
dead core of a completely evaporated gas planet.
Astronomer's research once posited about the possibility of a
circumbinary planet - that is,
a planet that circles around two stars.
In an homage to
Luke Skywalker's home planet in Star Wars, Kepler-16b is
nicknamed Tatooine. Whereas Skywalker's homeworld was habitable,
this planet is cold, gaseous and most likely cannot harbor life.
It is 200 light years away from earth.
The discovery of a
circumbinary planet was hinted at and then confirmed with the
observation of brightness of the dual star system being dimmed
by a planet's transit in front of it.
While being in the
habitable zone is ruled out for this planet, Kepler's principal
investigator William Borucki on the importance of this
confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor
Given that most
stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means
the opportunities for life are much broader
than if planets form only around single stars.
discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for
decades but could not prove until now."
Kepler-22b: New Earth
One of the most promising and early findings from Kepler is the
600 light years away
from earth it's twice the size of Earth and should have
temperatures around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (-18º C).
This planet is
considered a "super-Earth" and is within the habitable zone of
its star. Its star is within the Lyra and Cygnus constellations
and shines 25% less bright than our sun.
Scientists think that the planet may have a rocky core and be
covered in an ocean like Neptune. But life on the planet isn't
out of the question yet.
Kepler deputy science
chief stated that,
"It's not beyond
the realm of possibility that life could exist in such an
B1620-26 b: Methuselah
One of the oldest planets in the known universe so far,
Methuselah is 2.5 times the
mass of Jupiter. It's also another planet that orbits two stars.
At 12.7 billion years
ago, this exoplanet tops the aging scales. Interestingly enough,
the two stars that it orbits are both burnt out dead stars.
It is 12,400 light
years away in the constellation of Scorpius.
At first, scientists didn't know whether to classify it as a
brown dwarf or a planet.
Since it was created
some 1 billion years after the big bang, astronomers have
concluded that planets are not a rare phenomenon and our early
universe was probably teeming with them everywhere.
Found during the Transatlantic Exoplanet Survey, TrES-2b is one
of the darkest planets we've ever been able to see.
Similarly sized to
Jupiter, this coal black planet is less reflective than black
acrylic paint. Jupiter, on the other hand, reflects more than a
third of the sunlight that reaches it.
TrEs-2b is also burning up as it orbits its star at only three
million miles. It's not clear what makes the planet so dark.
There are hues of red that emit a faint glow.
The darkened planet
is 750 light-years away in the
452b: Earth's Cousin
Kepler 452b is a planet that's more equally matched
to Earth floats along some 500 light years away from our planet.
It's no larger than
10 percent more of Earth's size. It encircles a
red dwarf star with a 130-day
orbit. A smaller sized planet is more likely to harbor and
support life, especially inside the habitable zone.
Inhabitants on this planet would feel about twice as heavy as
they did on earth. The planet is a lot older than our sun as
well as it clocks in at about 6 billion years old.
confirmation whether or not the planet is rocky or gaseous.
Close to Home
One of our closest star systems to us known as
Proxima Centauri unveiled its
planet to us a few years ago.
A roughly Earth-sized
planet orbiting our nearest neighbor,
Proxima B is the closest exoplanet we've ever found
in the habitable zone. There are a few caveats to its potential
For one, it orbits a
red-dwarf star which is a lot cooler than our sun. It's also
likely that the planet is tidally locked to the star, similar to
our moon. This would subject it to stellar flares.
Scott Gaudi, an astronomy professor at Ohio State
University stated that:
"This thing is
being bombarded by a fair amount of high-energy radiation.
It's not obvious if it's going to have a magnetic field
strong enough to prevent its whole atmosphere from getting
But those are
really hard calculations, and I certainly wouldn't put my
money either way on that."
Despite the unknowns,
this discovery was a major stepping stone for finding exoplanets
close to our backyard of the galaxy.
An earth size planet
this close to home gives us hope for future discoveries.
TRAPPIST-1f: Seven Wonders
An exoplanet system called
TRAPPIST-1 named so for
The Transiting Planets and Planetesimals
Small Telescope, located a system of seven planets
all within the habitable zone and relatively close to us on a
At only 40
light-years away in the
TRAPPIST-1f part of the seven
wonders is a rocky planet that could have liquid water.
This discovery set a new record for the most amount of planets
in a habitable zone orbiting a star outside of our own solar
There is a
potentiality that all seven of these planets could have liquid
GJ 504 b:
NASA scientists discovered one of the youngest and most
interesting planets in
GJ 504 b.
Only 57 light years
away from Earth, the exoplanet is thought to be only 100-200
million years old. The insights into this planet are giving
astronomers a first-hand look into planet development.
According to infrared
cameras, it's a deep shade of pink. It also has fewer clouds
than the majority of observed gas-giants.
Michael McElwain, who was part of the discovery team
"If we could
travel to this giant planet, we would see a world still
glowing from the heat of its formation with a color
reminiscent of a dark cherry blossom, a dull magenta."
According to current
models, gas giants usually form within a certain range from
their host star.
GJ 504, the pink
wonder goes well beyond the established range.
e: Hellfire Earth
Originally dubbed the "diamond planet," this steaming hot rocky
planet orbits its sun in 14 days...
It has a temperature
of 4,900 degrees Fahrenheit (2,700º C). Scientists who first
discovered it suggested that it was composed entirely of
diamonds and graphite.
interpretation has gone out of favor, it remains an interesting
planet because of its density and proximity to its host star.
The planet is 40 light years away.
The planet is also thought to have lava flows and at twice the
size of Earth.
Renyu Hu of
the Jet Propulsion Laboratory stated that,
"If there is lava
on this planet, it would need to cover the entire surface…
But the lava would be hidden from our view by the thick
While it's still up
to debate, the potentially carbon-rich planet with such high
temperatures and pressure could hold a large amount of diamond
in its interior.