Located 200-Light-Years Away, This World is 10 Times the Mass of Earth

The exoplanet dubbed TOI-1075b is located some 200 light-years from Earth, and is ten times the mass of our planet, which makes TOI-1075b a true planetary “hulk.”

Planets come in all sizes. Some are really small, smaller than Earth’s Moon, while others are truly gigantic. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. According to astronomers, more than 1,300 Earth’s would fit inside the Gas Giant. But there are even larger planets in the universe. And NASA has recently reported they’ve found one of the largest. In fact, the plant is so massive that NASA has dubbed it the “Hulk” among super-planets. The planet, dubbed TOI-1075b is one of the largest worlds NASA has discovered to date.

Finding the Hulk of planets

The gigantic world was discovered by a team of astronomers led by Zahra Essack of MIT. To find the gigantic world, astronomers used the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Over 200,000 stars have been systematically scanned by four sensitive cameras onboard this satellite. As a result, TESS was able to image 75% of the sky. A total of 2,100 planet candidates and 66 confirmed exoplanets were discovered. One of them is TOI-1075b. To confirm its existence, follow-up observations were made. To the surprise of astronomers, not only is the world real, but it is nearly ten times the mass of our planet, which makes TOI-1075b a true planetary hulk.

TOI-1075b: a hellish world

We would feel heavier on its high-gravity surface than on Earth; about three times as heavy as we are on Earth. It would be impossible, however, to do the latter. Temperatures on its surface are estimated to be 1,922 degrees Fahrenheit (1,050 degrees Celsius). This is the result of its “ultra-short” orbit of only fourteen and a half hours around a small orange star located about 200 light-years away. Super-Earth planets have a mass between one and ten times Earth’s and a radius between 1.25 and 2 Earth’s radii. They are a mystery to us because we don’t have anything comparable in our solar system, so studying them is challenging for astronomers. But, even though we don’t have any such planets in our solar system, astronomers say that based on their observations of the galaxy, such planets are pretty common in the Milky Way.

Providing new insight

Several of them appear to be rocky planets, and some are located within their stars’ habitable zones, where liquid water could form. TOI-1075 b clearly does not fit that description. As a matter of fact, its surface may be composed of molten lava. Despite its large size, studies of this planet may provide insight into the formation of rocky planets such as Earth.

To model how various types of planets form and what their atmospheres may be like, scientists create computer models based on patterns found among thousands of confirmed exoplanets in the galaxy. Hydrogen and helium are likely to be present in a fairly thick atmosphere around super-Earths like TOI-1075b. However, the highly confined orbit and dense composition of this planet make it unlikely that it could harbor such an atmosphere. It is among a handful of planets so far that offer precise measurements of size and mass, allowing scientists to refine their models of planet formation.


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Improving our understanding

Using those measurements, they can predict if super-Earths and other types of planets also have atmospheres. To date, NASA has reported the discovery of 5,197 exoplanets, and there are 9,075 alien worlds awaiting confirmation. NASA has reported discovering these confirmed and potential planets in 3,888 star systems. Curiously, of the 5,197 confirmed worlds to date, 1,805 are Neptune-like planets, 1,610 are Gas Giants, 1,587 are Super-Earths, only 190 are terrestrial worlds, and five are of unknown composition.

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