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Scientists discover one of the oldest planets in the universe

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Kuldeep Singh
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The super-earth is more than twice the age of the solar system and almost the same age as the universe itself.

Astronomers have discovered a planet that is estimated to be about ten billion years old, according to the University of California Riverside.

The hot and rocky super-earth TOI-561b, along with two other planets, orbits one of the oldest stars in the galaxy. It is almost twice the size of the Earth, but it takes less than half a day to orbit the star. 

““For every day you’re on Earth, this planet orbits its star twice,” said UC Riverside astrophysicist Stephen Kane. 

The average surface temperature on TOI-561b is estimated to be in excess of 2000 Kelvin, excluding life. In addition, Kane clarified that the mass of the planet is about three times the mass of the Earth, but its density is the same as that of our planet. 

“This is surprising because you’d expect the density to be higher. This is consistent with the notion that the planet is extremely old,” he added

Three planets, named TOI-561 b, TOI-561 c and TOI-561 d, have been identified with the TESS space telescope.  

“TOI-561b is one of the oldest rocky planets yet discovered,” said University of Hawaii postdoctoral fellow and team lead Lauren Weiss. Its existence shows that the universe has been forming rocky planets almost since its inception 14 billion years ago,” said University of Hawaii researcher and research team leader Lauren Weiss.

The discovery of such an ancient planet could help in further search for inhabited worlds. 

Recall that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, but vertebrates appeared on it no earlier than 500 million years ago. Complex life takes time to appear, so stable and long-lived planets, according to scientists, are the most favorable for this.

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