Scientists have discovered what may be the first exoplanet to mirror Earth's climate, which may be a major breakthrough in the study of planets in other solar systems.
The planet, given the catchy name of Corot-9b, is only one of more than 400 found that orbit other stars, but the first whose temperature can be studied as it makes its eight-hour transit across its sun in the Serpens constellation. According to Claire Montou, one of the scientists at the European Southern Observatory that made the discovery, that's big news:
This is a normal, temperate exoplanet just like dozens we already know, but this is the first whose properties we can study in depth... It is bound to become a Rosetta stone in exoplanet research.
Fellow researcher Hans Deeg explains:
Corot-9b is the first exoplanet that really does resemble planets in our solar system... It has the size of Jupiter and an orbit similar to that of Mercury.
Scientists plan to study Corot-9b during the all-important eight hour window when it appears every 95 days. We're hoping they discover a race of evolved aliens not too unlike our own as they do.
New planet Corot-9b has Earth-like temperatures [Independent.co.uk]