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What are Super-Earths?

Updated on October 5, 2011
Our Galaxy with endless possibilities
Our Galaxy with endless possibilities | Source

16 Super Earths have been found, so far.

What is a Super-Earth?

Many people would assume that the term Super-Earth would refer to planets that are habitable, however they would be wrong. At this point in time scientist cannot be sure that any of these planets can be habitable. So what does the term super-Earth refer to?

Well a Super-Earth is a planet that has a mass as little as 1x the Earths density to 10x that amount.You might be wondering what is the mass of the Earth? The Earths mass is approximately 6.6 sextillion short tons (6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000x2000lbs). So if a super Earth is 10x more massive than the Earth just image that big number multiplied by 10 and consider the amount of gravitational pull that planet must have. I don't know many women who would want to live on such a planet where they would weigh 10x more than they do here on Earth. This term has nothing to do with what the conditions of the Super-Earths surface would be like, but if the planet is 10x more than our home planets then I don't think there could be much movement on it's surface by any life forms like us. Maybe, if the lifeforms were miniscule they could move but the planet would have to be rocky and not a gas planet.

Where have please planets been found?

They have been found in the milkyway galaxy. These planets are in what scientist call extrasolar (systems) and they refer to the planets as exoplanets, simply put planets outside of our solar system. Scientist at NASA are using the Kepler space telescope to find these planets.

How many planets have been found?

About 1265 planets have been found and 600 of them are confirmed planets, 16 planets have been deemed Super-Earths. It will take further investigation to find out if any other these planets have liquid water on them and if they are rocky. But I find that they have found planets in the habitable zones of the stars that they orbit amazing.

Science has made leaps and bounds. It will continue to astound astronomer lovers for years to come with further investigations. Wouldn't it be amazing to find other life forms? Or that there is another habitable planet where the stars of Earth could vacation without being stalked by the paparazzi? (The last part was a joke)


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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 3 years ago

      To jump to life bearing planets would be extensive, since we do not know the conditions. Some stars are too hot, and then the mass of the star orbited and the height of the orbit determine the length of the seasons. And, the 24 hour day that assists with like here is not likely. Nor is the stability of the axis without a similar moon to ours. There is much more to consider than the existence f a terrestrial planet. But, discovery is the first step. Nice hub.

    • Erin Boggs1 profile image

      Erin Boggs1 6 years ago from Western Maryland

      When I started following the discoveries that they are making in space I was excited. There is a prediction that we might begin the Space Race again, which would be good for the job market.

      Thank you for the wonderful comment :)

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      That we are now finding extra-solar planets is exciting, and finding the "super earths" is even more so. It opens up a vast array of possibilities and and expands both our knowledge base and abilities in space exploration.

      Thanks for the hub - it has some interesting facts and figures for those interested in space and the cosmos.


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