A new ice planet has been discovered that is the size of planet Earth. This planet has been found moving around a star that is the same distance to it, as the earth is from the sun. What has fascinated both researchers and astronomers alike, around the world, is that unlike the sun, this star is a lot smaller and cooler than it. This planet is therefore more likely to sustain icy conditions, not too dissimilar to Pluto, despite Pluto being an extremely far way from it’s star, the sun.
How did scientists discover this?
According to a Journal in Astrophysics, Astrophysical Journal Letters, the technique that was used to make this discovery was in fact called micro-lensing. Distorted light was used in order to seek out hidden stars and planets, and this is how these planets in question were detected. Known as exoplanets, this specific planet in question, known as OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb, is the furthest exoplanet found, being some 13,000 light-years away from us here on Earth.
Tell me more about this ice-planet ..
This planet in question has been described as the lowest-mass object ever to be found through the technique of micro-lensing, and has been referred to as an icy ball. As mentioned, this is not too dissimilar to the make-up of the planet we know as Pluto.
Where is it located?
The galaxy within which this object is located is being studied by astronomers, and the exact location is an important factor. This precise location goes toward explaining the formation of the planets in the galaxy, and why their condition are as they are. There is a location referred to as The Bulge, which was a possibility, however no planets were actually detected here. Planets have however been located as fat as the Bulge, but so far the area itself is looking like it isn’t an environment that can sustain planets. This is something that researchers continue to explore.