When Worlds Collide!

Two distant planets collided head-on to create an iron-rich world with nearly 10 times the mass of Earth, astronomers believe. The cosmic crash is the first interplanetary impact to be detected outside the solar system (stock image)
Two distant planets collided head-on to create an iron-rich world with nearly 10 times the mass of Earth, astronomers believe. The cosmic crash is the first interplanetary impact to be detected outside the solar system (stock image)

Two distant planets collided head-on to create an iron-rich world with nearly 10 times the mass of Earth, astronomers believe.

The cosmic crash is the first interplanetary impact to be detected outside the solar system.

A similar collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object led to the formation of the moon 4.5 billion years ago, many experts believe.

The new discovery was made by an international team of astronomers in the Canary Islands observing a star system with four planets more than 1,600 light years away.

One of the planets, called Kepler-107c, had an unusually high mass in relation to its size.

This suggested that it may once have been larger, but a high-speed collision with another planet stripped off its outer layer, or mantle.

What was left was a large iron core making up 70 per cent of its mass.

A neighbouring planet in the system, Kepler-107b, was about the same size but twice as light. Its iron core accounted for 30 per cent of its mass.

The scientists calculated that the colliding planets must have been travelling at more than 37 miles (60 km) per second at the time of impact.

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See Also:

(1) Does dark matter actually exist? Astronomers claim that the mysteries of the universe can be explained by ‘tweaking the laws of gravity’

(2) How Small Satellites Will Help Police Earth’s Vast Oceans

(3) Gaia clocks new speeds for Milky Way-Andromeda collision

(4) Researchers find evidence for a new fundamental constant of the Sun

(5) From supergiant to solar-mass star: Study finds HD 179821 less massive than previously thought

(6) To save the Earth someday, team builds spacecraft to crash into an asteroid and shove it off course

(7) New Horizons’ faraway target is ‘pretty pancake-like,’ scientists discover

(8) Multiwavelength observations of star-forming region uncover dozens of new celestial objects

(9) Do you like Earth’s solid surface and life-inclined climate? Thank your lucky (massive) star

(10) Hubble reveals dynamic atmospheres of Uranus, Neptune

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