Go Long! It’s a Heavy Metal Planet Shaped Like a Football!

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This Heavy Metal Planet Seems Deformed by Gravity to Look Like an American Football!

Exoplanets definitely take the spotlight as a hot topic in astronomy these days. Of course, that’s because NASA’s TESS planet-hunting telescope provided researchers with a plethora of new exoplanets to explore. And it also gave them mountains of new data on previously known exoplanets. However, astronomers studied exoplanets before the TESS rage began. In fact, one of the planets they studied, KOI 1843.03, proved recently very interesting indeed. It’s a heavy metal planet, and it just might be shaped like an American football. Bust out the Budweisers-holding helmets, the Iron Maiden tapes, and the leather jackets. It’s time for an exoplanet tailgate party!

Wait, Not That Type of Heavy Metal

Okay, so when I say KOI 1843.03 is a “heavy metal planet” I mean that it’s got an enormous amount of iron in its makeup. In fact, researchers studying the exoplanet estimate that iron makes up 66% of the planet’s composition. By contrast, iron only makes up 32% of the Earth.

Our solar system has its own heavy metal hero, Mercury. In fact, Mercury is nearly 70% iron. And like Mercury, this exoplanet is extremely close to its sun. According to researcher Leslie Rogers (University of Chicago), who studies KOI 1843.03, “Whizzing around its star in only 4.245 hours, a ‘year’ for this planet is just over one-sixth of a day on Earth.” That proximity, combined with the massive gravity associated with it, Rogers and her team believe, actually makes the planet deformed. As a matter of fact, they calculated that in order to survive that level of gravitational pull would rip the planet apart if it weren’t made primarily of iron. 

Other Details:

Heavy metal planet KOI 1843.03 orbits the star KOI 1843, and is one of three known exoplanets in that solar system. It measures about 60% of Earth’s diameter and is roughly 44% as massive. KOI 1843 is a red dwarf star, and its mass is slightly less than our sun. The system is roughly 395 light-years away. 

For More Info on Exoplanets, Watch Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explain:

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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