Scientists have discovered a new planet that weighs 17 times as much as Earth. Dubbed the “Godzilla of Earths” (officially known by its more boring name – Kepler-10c), the planet is a new type of huge and rocky alien world that is about 560 light-years from Earth. Scientists have always thought that a planet the size of Kepler-10c would be gaseous, collecting hydrogen as they grew and eventually becoming gassy Jupiter-like planets. They were surprised to find that despite its gargantuan size, Kepler-10c is a solid, rocky beast.
Kepler-10c orbits its parent star every 45 days and scientists believe it is too close to its star to support any life. In addition to the newly-discovered Kepler-10c, another strange world orbits the same star – Kepler-10b, a lava-like world that has three-times as much mass as Earth and speeds around the star once every 20 hours (what? a 20-hour year?!?).
The scientists used a HARPS-North instrument on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo in the Canary Islands to measure Kepler-10c’s mass.