Found! Tiny Moon-Size Alien World Is the Smallest Exoplanet

The discovery of a strange new world about the size of Earth’s moon has shattered the record for the smallest known alien planet, scientists say. The newfound alien planet Kepler-37b is the first exoplanet discovered to be smaller than Mercury. It whips around its parent star every 13 days and has a roasting surface temperature of about 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 Celsius), researchers said. It not a promising contender for life, they added.

Astronomers found Kepler-37b and two other, larger planets (called Kepler-37c and Kepler-37d) orbiting a star about 215 light-years from Earth using NASA’s prolific Kepler space telescope. Finding such a small exoplanet with the Kepler spacecraft was a stretch, but some attributes of Kepler-37b’s parent star made the discovery possible….

Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

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