February 3, 2009

Walking on Super-Earth CoRoT-Exo-7 b

The suspense is over. Here is the latest Exoplanet Discovery: CoRoT-Exo-7 b. This discovery via transit method is not of an earth-like world just yet. But at least it's a super-earth because it's almost 11 times the mass of earth. And it's a little bit bigger than earth as well, having almost twice the earth's radius.
Now, in contrast to the recently reported exoplanet (HD 80606 b) which has a very eccentric orbit 0.927, CoRoT-Exo-7 b in turn has an almost perfect circular orbit around it's K-type star, having an Orbital Eccentricity equal to zero.
Now, with an orbital period of just 0.85 days or 20 hours, it must be whizzing around it's star so fast and mighty close to it's star. Hence it has a high temperature, between 1000 and 1500°C, still scorchingly hot by my standards.
I'm guessing that it might be tidally locked - meaning only one side faces it's sun. On the other hand, it could be spinning so fast, so my guess could go in both extremes.
Reports say that it is a terrestrial rocky world, and one can walk on it's surface, they say. Although, getting someone to get there and do it is another story, it is quite interesting to think about.
For starters, I would weigh a lot heavier in that exoplanet, and so I will get increasingly tired with each step. Upon which case, my foot would sink deep into it's molten lava surface. And the heat would be quite unbearable. And assuming it spins fast, day and night would alternate so much quicker than what i am accustomed to. However, if it was tidally locked, I would rather be on it's "dark side" because it's probably be much cooler in that region of the planet.
I might skip the stroll on this super-earth and take my chances on the discovery of an earth-like world soon, where it would be like a walk in the park.

CoRoT-Exo-7 b
Radius: between 1.75 and 2 Earth radius
Orbital period: 0.85 around a K star (T= 5300K)
Orbital Eccentricity: 0
Mass: less than 11 M_Earth

ESA News Release
CoRoT-Exo-7 b on Exoplanet Encyclopedia