New planet has temperature similar to Earth

Photo / German Aerospace Centre
Photo / German Aerospace Centre

The first planet with a "temperate" climate to orbit a distant star has been discovered by astronomers, who claim that the techniques used to study it will be critical in the search for Earth-like worlds beyond our own solar system.

Corot-9b, as the planet is called, is one of more than 400 "exoplanets" found to be orbiting other stars, but it is the first one with a near-normal temperature range that can be studied as it moves across (or "transits") the sun it orbits.

Corot-9b passes in front of its host star, 1500 light years away in the constellation Serpens, every 95 days.

The transit lasts about eight hours, which is when astronomers can measure the planet's composition and temperature, estimated to range from minus 20C to 160C.

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