Astronomers Find Tiniest Planet Ever

Kepler 37 bThe artist’s concept depicts the new planet dubbed Kepler-37b.

Photo: NASA

A new planet named Kepler-37b is just slightly bigger than Earth’s moon. It’s the tiniest planet yet to be found circling around a star like our sun in a newly discovered planetary system called Kepler-37, according to NASA. The system is about 210 light-years from our planet. 

Kepler-37b, about one-third the size of Earth, is one of two other planets found in a region within the planetary system where liquid water might exist. This is also known as a “habitable zone” since water is needed to support life.    

Kepler-37c is three-quarters the size of Earth and Kepler-37d, the farthest planet, is twice the size of Earth. 

Although the star in Kepler-37 is like our sun, “all three planets orbit the star at less than the distance Mercury is to the sun, suggesting they are very hot, inhospitable worlds,” NASA wrote in a press release.

Astronomers think tiny Kepler-37b is mostly rocky and has a blistering surface temperature of around 800 degrees Fahrenheit. It also doesn’t have an atmosphere, meaning it can’t support life as we know it.

This line up compares the smallest known planet to the moon and planets in the solar system.

Photo: NASA

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