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Earth's twin planet not supposed to exist discovered

Washington, Oct 31 : Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet orbiting another star which actually weighs like our planet.


Although measuring the radius of exoplanets is relatively straightforward, measuring the planet's mass - and therefore its density, a clue to its composition - is more difficult.

The results from two independent teams, one of which included a number of UK astronomers, confirm Kepler-78b as the first known Earth-sized exoplanet with an Earth-like density.

The results are baffling astronomers because Kepler-78b is a planet that shouldn't exist.

This scorching world circles its star every eight and a half hours at a distance of less than one million miles -- one of the tightest known orbits.

According to current theories of planet formation, it couldn't have formed so close to its star, nor could it have moved there.

Kepler-78b is about 20 percent larger than the Earth, with a diameter of 9,200 miles, and weighs almost twice as much.

As a result it has a density similar to Earth's, which suggests an Earth-like composition of iron and rock.

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

--ANI (Posted on 31-10-2013)

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