Hey kids, it’s a new planet! Say hello to Kepler-10b, the new kid in town. Or, to be more accurate, the new kid from out of town: this tiny, rocky planet actually resides outside of our solar system. It’s a little guy - the smallest, in fact, ever discovered outside of our Sun’s orbit. The confirmation of Kepler-10b’s existence is the product of over eight months of data collection, and represents the “first solid evidence of a rocky planet orbiting a star other than our sun.” Here are some key facts about it with which to impress your friends.
- It’s a lot like us Kepler-10b has a diameter 1.4x that of our beloved blue orb. It’s also classified as a “rocky” planet, meaning it has a composition similar to that of Earth (as opposed to a gaseous planet like Saturn).
- It’s probably way hot Although the physical composition of the planet would render it capable of hosting water, it’s way too close to the star it orbits (its “Sun,” if you will) for that to be possible.
- NASA’s pumped about it While Kepler-10b is outside of the “habitable zone,” scientists are giddy about its mere discovery, and optimistic that the spacecraft that found it will yield more results in the future. source
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