back to article Sat scope discovers Earthlike 'sauna world'

Astronomers using the CoRoT worldfinder satellite say they have discovered the smallest extra-solar planet yet known. The newly-checked-out world is less than twice the size of Earth, may have a solid surface, orbits a sun-like star and appears to have plenty of water. Sadly, local temperatures appear to be more than 1,000°C. …


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  1. Paul

    Ground shattering research

    Wise men used to debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Now its how many planets in a flicker of star light.

    How far have we come. I'm still waiting for my super luminal drive, Bloody Einstein! Someone should have introduced him to a porcelain shower., oh hang on I guess that explains his hair

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I'm assuming that these space agencies are government run/funded organisations, yes? Well, in a market this sort of thing would not be happening, because in all honesty, how many people actually want to know this sort of thing? How many people care about planets outside our solar system? Not many. Surely there are more productive things these scientists could be doing with their time, like maybe developing alternatives to fossil-fuels? Want to look at the stars? Do it in your spare time like all other hobbiests have to.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    no title

    "have plenty of water. Sadly, local temperatures appear to be more than 1,000°C"

    err.... _water_ at the temperature of _1,000_ degrees? Last time I checked, water evaporate at 100 degrees. Are they sure it it is water?

  4. Phil the Geek

    Meanwhile on CoRoT-Exo-7b...

    ...the silicon-based denizens are reading an article about a newly-discovered exo-planet provisionally named 3arth. They're very excited about it because it's a small and rocky planet a bit like their own.

    Unfortunately 3arth is bitterly cold - around 300 degrees K! It's so damn cold that water exists mainly in its liquid and solid states and all silicates freeze solid! So obviously there won't be any life there then...

    Flames, 'cos it's pleasantly warm on CoRoT-Exo-7b.

  5. Chris
    Thumb Down

    worthless carping

    "Do it in your spare time like all other hobbiests have to."

    What, the people who are hobbier than the other people?

    Engage a brain once in a while. The rest of your comment isn't even worth dignifying with a response.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Re: no title

    Pure water evaporates at 100ºC at around 1 bar of pressure.

    Increase the pressure and the temperature required increases.

    So, it could be liquid water at very high pressure, or it could be gaseous water (aka steam), or it could be something completely different that appeared to be like water with whatever tests they tried.

    For all I know, it could be kryptonite.

  7. Richard


    "Super heated" water i.e. gaseous.

    Also, the boiling point, melting point, triple point etc. of any substance, including water, is effected by conditions such as pressure. In a high pressure environment the boiling point of water will be higher. If the planet has a dense enough atmosphere (unlikely considering this as a small rocky one and not a big gassy one), the water may be held at very high temperatures without vaporising.

    ...and so ends the lesson.

  8. Cavan

    carbon offsetting?

    If we ship out all our global carbon output, we can soon turn that climate on it's head ... everybody burn more fuel!!!

  9. twelvebore
    Paris Hilton


    Oh dear, your horizons aren't very far away, are they?! What a sad and blinkered life you must lead. Ford Mondeo is it? It's maybe a good thing you weren't tasked with finding out what happens when you rub two sticks together.

    This will doubtless be unbelievable to you, but kids do find these sorts of things interesting, and it spurs them to venture into the STEM subjects rather than some other useless course of study, or a career as a C-list celebrity.

    Paris, because she's hot and dense just like COROT-7-b.

  10. Martin Lyne

    Re: Daniel Jarick

    Astrophysicists generally have a hard time turning their knowledge of gravity and such into chemistry, as you suggest.

    Also: Ignorance and a deeply flawed monetary/banking system led us here, so why not pull our remaining hopes on THAT. Yeah, right, good idea. Some of us are looking for a planet to escape to before capitalism and greed have finished ravaging this one.

    Sitting in the gutter, staring at the stars.

  11. weasel

    @ no title - AC

    I am assuming you are using the term "evaporate" when you mean boil?

    Water evaporates before it's boiling point, try leaving a glass of water out for a day.

    The boiling point of water is not constant and is determined by the surrounding environmental pressure. The higher the pressure the higher the boiling point.

  12. Luther Blissett

    @AC 13:24

    Look mate, if they say it's got water, water it's bloody well got! Don't you know they've got fanbois, and if you start getting lippy, they'll send the fanbois round for a spot of ad hominem.

    Effing bloody taxpayers - like we're trying to flog them a beautiful narrative, and all they can do is whinge. At least the BBC bloody well knows which side of its bread is buttered on - can't suck up fast enough. Remember the LHC switch-on which they thought was the creation myth? Ha ha ha.


  13. Chris Long


    It evaporates at any temerature, and boils at 100 degrees (at a pressure of one of your Earth atmospheres), but it's still water.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    On the other hand, looking for other planets might be useful as a sort of backup plan if we continue to fuck this one up at the current rate.

    I recommend chilling out and watching Wall-E.

  15. Sleepy

    @ Daniel

    You know we have more than one group scientists on the go at any one time, don't you? And that there are different kinds of scientists too, so that maybe putting all the astrophysicists to work looking for alternative fuel sources mightn't be the most productive thing to do.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    @ no title

    thanks guys, been years since I studied this and my memory is starting to fail me. I actually forgot about pressure!

    now back to my Japanese class

  17. Geoffrey Summerhayes


    Forgetting about atmospheric pressure. The planet is less than two times in diameter, assuming the same density as us would make it under eight times the mass. It only takes about 30 atmospheres to raise the boiling point to 1000 degrees C and we already know of a planet about our size with a pressure above that (Venus).

    I suppose we'll have to hire the movers to put it in a larger orbit before putting up the wallpaper.

  18. twat

    Depends on the pressure

    It could still be liquid water at 1000C if the pressure is high

  19. Alastair McKinstry

    Don't know what its made of

    A "sauna planet" is speculation at the minute. If it has water vapour, its above the critical point of 647K , which is where "gas" and "vapour" are distinguishable. Definitely not where you want to be.

    Its denser than Mercury (lots of Iron in the core? ) ; we can't tell at this stage if it has a solid or molten lava surface. Some of that depends on the mass, which isn't well determined yet;

    (they published it at their CoRoT symposium which was organised long ago; it was publish now or perish if someone beats them to it).

  20. Mr Grumblefish

    @ Paul & Daniel

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to use the new elregism:


  21. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Visit CoRoT-Exo-7b Today!

    Offworlders come and enjoy CoRoT-Exo-7b!!!

    - Sun guarantee, it's always warm here

    - 24/7 Water-sports (steam variety)

    - Stay 5 years for the price of 4*

    * 1 year on CoRoT-Exo-7b = 20 hours

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