"Super Earth" May Really Be New Planet Type: Super-Io
Most Earthlike planet CoRoT-7b more like volcanic Jupiter moon, study says
Oceans of lava might bubble on its surface. Hot pebbles may rain down from the sky. But the extrasolar planet CoRoT-7b is considered to be the most Earthlike world yet found outside our solar system.
A recent study, however, suggests that Earth might not be the best basis for comparison. Instead, the authors argue, CoRoT-7b is the first in a new class of exoplanets: a super-Io.
Like Jupiter's moon Io, CoRoT-7b could easily be in the right kind of orbit to experience what's known as tidal heating, according to study co-author Rory Barnes of the University of Washington in Seattle.
On Io, tidal heating is