NASA's TESS mission (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) has discovered a hot and rocky planet that is about 50 per cent larger than Earth and has three times the mass but surprisingly, the same density as Earth. Referred to as an exoplanet owing to its location outside our solar system, it has been named TOI-561b.
The discovery of this exoplanet was revealed in a study accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal. This study was made public during the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held virtually owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Interestingly, the exoplanet TOI-561b which has more mass but the same density as Earth takes only less than half of 24 hours to complete one orbit around its host star. Owing to its features, the exoplanet is also being referred to as a 'Super-Earth'
In fact, the exoplanet was discovered by NASA's TESS mission orbiting one of the oldest stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Its name TOI-561b is derived from TESS Object of Interest (TOI). Launched in 2018, NASA's TESS mission surveys parts of the sky and monitors nearby stars to check if there are any planets orbiting them.
Researchers then relied on the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii to determine the exoplanet's mass, radius and density, according to a report by CNN.