Space telescope spots smallest planet beyond our Sun
February 20th, 2013
04:06 PM ET

Space telescope spots smallest planet beyond our Sun

By Matt Smith, CNN

It's not the kind of place you'd call home: an airless, rocky planet so close to its sun that some metals will melt on its surface.

But it's a big little discovery for NASA's space observatory Kepler. The space agency says the planet, dubbed Kepler-37b, is the smallest yet found beyond our solar system.

Slightly larger than the moon and about a third the size of Earth, it's one of three planets circling the star Kepler-37, NASA announced Wednesday - and the first of dozens of discovered exoplanets known to be smaller than any that orbit our sun.

The findings were reported in this week's edition of the journal Nature.

Kepler-37 is located 210 light-years away in the constellation Lyra, and it's slightly smaller and cooler than our sun. Kepler 37-b circles it closely, completing its "year" every 13 Earth days, the NASA-led team of scientists wrote.

All three planets found in the system are in orbits closer than Mercury. NASA estimates Kepler-37b's surface temperature at about 800 degrees F (427 C), hot enough to melt metals like lead, zinc or tin.

The $600 million Kepler mission was launched in 2009 and has been scanning a patch of about 150,000 stars in our end of the galaxy for planets orbiting in habitable zones. It has found more than 100 other confirmed planets, ranging from about 1.5 times the size of Earth to larger than Jupiter.

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Filed under: In Space • Kepler
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Rich

    The comets; the craters; the vapors; the solar wiiiiinnnd-FZ, 1983

    February 24, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  2. glennrobert

    The universe is much larger than the Bible.

    February 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  3. dave breese - davebreese165@y.c

    Had this shell once been the size of present day Earth atmosphere, that big bang would have propelled the singularities outward at nearly the speed of light. -Current biblical size of the universe: 6000ly radius. Age 14 billion years below firmament, 6K from Gods pov inside the 2 singularity layers.

    February 22, 2013 at 2:44 am |
  4. dave breese - davebreese165@y.c

    In such an infinte firmament of heaven system there would exist 2 stable temporal points: between the b/w singularities and absolute dead center of the shell radius. –Fill the shell with exotic matter and ignite. "Let there be light!"

    February 22, 2013 at 2:20 am |
  5. dave breese - davebreese165@y.c

    to I AM. The firmament is a shell composed of a black hole outer layer/ white hole inner layer. Time against the inner singularity would be vastly acclratd. In such a construct, billions of years could occur during a six day creation process.

    February 22, 2013 at 2:00 am |
  6. dave breese

    Space is not infinite but time is; man sees his outer universe inside the distortion wave of a white hole singularity layer encompasing what we refer to as the cosmic background microwave barrier. 6000 ly away!

    February 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • MOCaseA

      By your definition this "Microwave Radiation Barrier" is within the same arm of the Milk Way as our solar system.

      Milky Way galaxy = 100,000ly Diameter.

      I have no idea where you are pulling these ideas from, but you really need to catch up on the last 100 years or so of space and scientific research...

      February 22, 2013 at 5:05 am |
  7. Buck Rogers

    Nice rendering NASA..... keep up the hunt for ET!

    http://www.fountainsofthegreatdeep.com/Alien.htm

    February 21, 2013 at 9:18 am |
  8. tiphany guidotti

    upto I looked at the check 4 $6763, I accept that...my... friends brother was like really erning money part time at there computar.. there brothers friend haz done this for less than ten months and recently repayed the morgage on their place and bourt a great new Land Rover Defender. go to,............ BIT40.ℂOℳ

    February 21, 2013 at 5:26 am |

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