SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Moon Water, Dubai Lights, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Moon Water, Dubai Lights, More
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September 23, 2009--An artist's rendering shows the surface of CoRoT-7b, a small planet found orbiting a star about 500 light-years away. NASA named the illustration its Astronomy Picture of the Day last Wednesday.

Earlier this month researchers had announced that CoRoT-7b has been confirmed as the most Earthlike planet known to exist outside our solar system. New data from an ESO (European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere) instrument at the La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile revealed that the planet is just five times more massive than Earth, which, combined with CoRoT-7b's calculated size, suggests that it must be a solid, rocky world.

Despite its similarities to Earth, CoRoT-7b is almost certainly not habitable: It orbits so close to its star that the planet "may have lava or boiling oceans on its surface," team leader Didier Queloz said in a statement. (Read more about the unusual way CoRoT-7b might have formed.)
— Image courtesy ESO/L. Calcada
 
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