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Kepler 10b “Vulcan” Is The Smallest Exoplanet Yet Discovered

  • Artist's rendition of Vulcan orbiting around its parent star.

    Artist's rendition of Vulcan orbiting around its parent star.

    The smallest planet yet orbiting around another star was found over 500 hundred light years away by NASA’s orbiting Kepler telescope.

    It was discovered by watching how the planet dimmed the faint light of its parent star as it made its orbit, blinking the sun’s light on and off.

    ‘The discovery of Kepler 10-b is a significant milestone in the search for planets similar to our own,’ said a spokesman for Nasa headquarters in Washington.

    Kepler 10-b, being called “Vulcan” by scientists, is rocky and hot at 2,400 degrees Farenheit, orbiting too close to its parent star to support alien life. It is about 1.4 times the size of Earth.

    Not to confuse things, “Vulcan” was also the name of a hypothetical planet orbiting closer to the planet Mercury that scientists never found.

    The Kepler planet finding telescope locates distant worlds in the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra and has found nine extrasolar worlds to date.

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