Some Dense Iron Planets Appeared after Cataclysmic Impacts

Some Dense Iron Planets Appeared after Cataclysmic Impacts

There early days of the solar systems seem to have been particularly violent.  It is thought that the Moon crashed into Earth before it became the beautiful satellite that can be admired today. Uranus may have been the victim of an impact so strong that it flipped the planet on its side while Mercury shed a high amount of its material in the early days of formation.

The mysteries of planet formation have fascinated scientist for generations. In order to understand more about the phenomenon we have to look at other planets that can be found beyond the borders of solar system. A team of researchers has managed to discover a bizarre planet that is residing at approximately 1,750 miles away from Earth.  The planet was discovered with the help of the Kepler telescope.

A strange system

Kepler-107 features a star that seems to be orbited by a minimum number of four planets. These planets are placed really close to the star, with an average orbit that range between three and fourteen days. This setup leads to a phenomenon called resonant orbits, in which the periodic alignment of the stars will strengthen their orbital trajectory. This resonance will also stop planets from getting too close to the star that attracts them in the first place.

By using the gravitational influences generated by these planets the researchers were able to calculate their approximate mass which can then be used in order to calculate the density of the planets by comparing the data with their approximate size.

The results show that Kepler107-d is a rocky planet that is a bit smaller than Earth while 107e could be compared to a miniature version of Neptune.  A puzzle is posed by planets 107-b and 107-c. While the former has a density similar to the one of our own planet 107-c seems to be twice as dense.  This suggests that the core of the planet is rich in iron.

Over 70% is represented by iron and the researchers believe that the planet may have been bigger once but a cataclysmic impact reduced its size.

As science continues to progress we will be able to learn more about the impacts that shaped the universe.


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