Imagine if you knew that, somewhere out in the universe, there was a super-you. A you who was a little smarter, a little less awkward, a little more charming. A little hotter, a little more successful. Oh no, you’d think. I hope scientists never find her!
This nightmare recently came true for Earth. Astronomers at the University of Canterbury have discovered an “incredibly rare” super-Earth, which has both a size and orbit similar to that of plain old regular Earth. They’ve published their findings in the Astronomical Journal.
According to the study, the planet, which was found near the center of the galaxy, is a bit bigger than Earth, having a mass somewhere between that of Earth and Neptune. The super-Earth’s host star is about 10 percent the mass of our Sun, and it orbits the star at a location relative to one between Venus and regular Earth. Of course, we hope regular Earth is taking the news as well as possible.
Not to be rude to regular Earth, but I’m sure you’re wondering, Can we ditch this stupid regular planet and move to the super one? And unfortunately we cannot. “Although it’s not too much bigger than Earth, and orbiting its star at a similar distance,” study co-author Michael Abrow told USA Today, “this planet would be very cold because its star is smaller than the sun and emits much less light.” Because water couldn’t exist in a liquid state, Abrow said, “the likelihood of life would be very low.”
Sigh. Regular Earth it is then.
On the bright side, because super-Earth’s host star has a smaller mass than our Sun, the planet’s “year” would last about 617 days. Yeah, no thanks.