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Did we just find a real version of Hoth? Scientists say yes

Posted April 28

Researchers recently discovered an exoplanet that has been called Earth’s twin, and now it’s being compared to a popular planet from a Star Wars film.

The researchers said the planet, OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb, is an “iceball,” according to CNN, much like the fictional planet Hoth from “The Empire Strikes Back.”

In the aforementioned film, the Rebel Alliance, led by Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, hold up in a military base on the icy planet Hoth before the Empire discovers it and attacks.

Unlike Hoth, though, OGLE-2016-BLG-1195Lb doesn’t have liveable conditions, researchers told CNN.

"While it is covered in ice, at around minus-400 degrees Fahrenheit, it is actually much, much colder than Hoth," said Yossi Shvartzvald, lead author of the study. "It's hard to imagine any life surviving in such an environment, not humans or tauntauns anyway."

Shvartzvald and fellow researcher Jennifer Yee said the planet resembles Pluto, too, because it’s layered in ice.

"The planet might look something like snow at sunset but even darker," Shvartzvald said, according to CNN. "The ice is not just scattered on the surface; it goes hundreds of miles deep."

The researchers first discovered the planet through a process called microlensing, “which involves watching what happens when a massive body passes in front of a star. The closer object's gravity bends and magnifies the background star's light, acting like a lens,” according to Space.com.

The planet sits 13,000 light years away.

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