In a surprise find, astronomers have discovered a planet possibly covered with oceans of magma “right around the corner.”
Thirty-three light years away, “we have a sub-Earth-sized planet that’s slightly larger than Mars and essentially right around the corner, at least on a cosmic scale,” said Kevin Stevenson, a planetary scientist now at the University of Chicago
UCF-1.01 is about 5,200 miles (8,400 kilometers) wide, making about a quarter the volume of Earth. And with a year that lasts only 1.4 Earth days, the new planet’s orbit takes UCF-1.01 searingly close to its star.
“It could be a thousand degrees Fahrenheit [540 degrees Celsius]. That may be hot enough to make an ocean of molten rock.”
Researchers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope essentially stumbled upon the new planet while studying a hot, Neptune-size planet called GJ 436b.
Mesmerizing timelapse of the Earth is the highest resolution single-shot imagery ever taken of our planet from space.
The video and images were snapped by the Russian weather satellite Elektro-L during its orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator. The images are in 121 megapixels; That’s 1 km per pixel. In the video shown above here, the images are in true color, but if you really want to see the vegetation pop out, watch it in the infrared– the vegetation will instead appear orange (video below).
Also unlike most NASA photos of the Earth from space, these images were snapped in a single shot. By contrast, NASA’s photos are usually composites of several photographs.
Not since The Blue Marble— the famous photograph snapped by Apollo 17 astronauts on their way to the Moon in 1972– has there been such a spectacular and moving single-shot view of the Earth.