MYSTERY WIRE — When you think of iron you probably think of something solid. You would be correct if you’re talking about iron on Earth. But when you talk about an iron-rich planet other than Earth, especially one orbiting a red dwarf star, Earth perspectives can change.
Recently scientists studied KOI 1843.03, an exoplanet candidate, meaning scientists still cannot say for sure it’s really a planet. According to a recent article on space.com, the world orbits a red dwarf star with slightly less than half the mass of our sun and is located about 395 light-years from Earth. Previous research found KOI 1843.03 was about 44% Earth’s mass and 60% Earth’s diameter.
Whizzing around its star in only 4.245 hours, a ‘year’ for this planet is just over one-sixth of a day on Earth.Leslie Rogers, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and the senior author of the new research, told Space.com.
The scientists doing the research believe the planet is effectively stretched into an American football shape. This is because of the immense forces at work as the planet orbits the star so fast and close. Earth, according to space.com, is around 32% iron. This new planet is estimated to be around 66% iron, which is why it’s not being ripped apart and is being stretched. This of this like how our moon affects tides on Earth.
The scientists detailed their findings online Jan. 30 in a study accepted by the Astrophysical Journal. In this the planet is also described as a ‘cannonball’ planet.