Three New Planets – level 3

07-08-2019 07:00

Last April, a NASA satellite launched and discovered three new planets, which may be ‘missing links’ of planetary formation.

All three planets orbit a star about 73 light-years away, which is relatively close by interstellar standards. One of the planets is a large rocky planet, and NASA calls it a super-Earth. The other two are mini-Neptunes and are about half the size of our Neptune.

While our own solar system is populated with planetary extremes, from the small, rocky worlds of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars to the much greater Jupiter and Saturn, these new planets appear to be relatively close in size.

Also, there is no planet intermediate in size in our system, and yet one of the planets is somewhere in the middle of Earth and Neptune in terms of size and composition.

Difficult words: interstellar (in respect to how far stars are from one another), intermediate (middle), composition (the material of something).

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