An international team of astronomers has detected a hot, metallic, Earth-sized planet outside solar system which has a density similar to Mercury.
Speaking on the development, David Armstrong from University of Warwick in Britain said, ‘Planet Mercury stands out from the other planets showing a very high fraction of iron and implying it formed in a different way. But we were surprised to see an exoplanet with the same high density, showing that Mercury-like planets are perhaps not as rare as we thought’.
Named K2-229b, the planet is 20 per cent larger than Earth but has a mass 2.6 times greater — and a dayside temperature of over 2000 degrees Celsius.
Situated at about 340 million light years away from Earth, it finds itself very close to its host star (around a hundredth of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), which itself is a medium-sized active K dwarf in the Virgo Constellation.
K2-229b orbits this star every fourteen hours, according to the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy.