BARCELONA, Spain, Sept. 16 (UPI) — A rocky planet, five times larger than Earth, has been found outside the solar system, researchers reported Wednesday at a meeting in Spain.
Astronomer Artie Hatzes told CNN the planet has a composition that is similar to Earth but is much hotter because it is so close to the star it orbits.
Project leader Didier Queloz of Geneva Observatory in Switzerland said “the place may well look like Dante’s Inferno, with a probable temperature on its ‘day face’ above 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit (2,000 degrees Celsius) and minus-328 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-200 degrees Celsius) on its night face.”
The planet, known as CoRoT-7b is about 500 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Monoceros, the Unicorn, the report said. it was first detected early last year by the European Space Agency’s CoRoT satellite.
They findings will be published in a special issue of the Astronomy and Astrophysics journal on Oct. 22.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International