The Most Amazing Alien Planet Discoveries of 2013

Mike Wall
Published: December 29, 2013

The Smallest Exoplanet

NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

An artist's conception of the tiny alien planet Kepler-37b, which is slightly larger than Earth's moon and orbits its host star every 13 days. It likely has a surface temperature of in excess of 400 deg C (700 deg F).

In February, astronomers announced the discovery of Kepler-37b, the smallest alien world ever found around a sun-like star. The planet is about 2,400 miles (3,900 kilometers) wide, making it just slightly larger than Earth's moon. 

Kepler-37b, which was spotted by NASA's prolific Kepler space telescope, lies about 215 light-years from Earth. The exoplanet is likely far too hot to host life as we know it; it zips around its parent star once every 13 days.


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