Scientists Spot Smallest Planet Ever Seen
Exoplanet Kepler-37b is the size of our moon
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 21, 2013 6:52 AM CST
This image provided by NASA shows an artist rendering of the newfound planet known as Kepler-37b.   (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

(Newser) – Scientists have discovered the smallest known planet, just a third of the size of the Earth. Mercury, the smallest in our solar system, is two-fifths Earth's size, the AP notes; the new discovery, Kepler-37b, is a far-off exoplanet. "This research shows for the first time that other stellar systems host planets much smaller than anything in our solar system," says a scientist. The ability to spot this planet—via the Kepler telescope—suggests researchers are now capable of finding distant Earth-like planets, Sky News notes.

But don't pack your bags just yet: The new planet is pretty close to its sun-esque star, resulting in rather balmy 700-degree temps on its surface. Further making life inhospitable: No atmosphere or water. Still, "this new discovery raises the specter that the universe is jampacked, like jelly beans in a jar, with planets even smaller than Earth," says one expert.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Scientists Spot Smallest Planet Ever Seen is...
4%
69%
1%
19%
1%
6%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 37 comments
iq145
Feb 21, 2013 9:29 PM CST
Soon they'll reveal it's just an ice meteor... :-)
donwine
Feb 21, 2013 8:48 AM CST
That could mean one of two things. Either it is one of those planets that a Mormon angle gets to be king of with multiple wives OR it could where those 70 wives of the Taliban are hanging out!
finkster
Feb 21, 2013 8:47 AM CST
It's probably smaller than Pluto but you still call it a planet, right?