Smallest planet yet found outside solar system

  • Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:08 a.m.
This image provided by NASA shows an artist rendering of the newfound planet known as Kepler-37b. The planet is about the size of our moon and is the smallest known exoplanet, according to a study published in Thursday Feb. 21,2013 issue of the journal Nature. (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)
This image provided by NASA shows an artist rendering of the newfound planet known as Kepler-37b. The planet is about the size of our moon and is the smallest known exoplanet, according to a study published in Thursday Feb. 21,2013 issue of the journal Nature. (AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)

LOS ANGELES — Astronomers have found the smallest planet yet outside of our solar system.

It’s about the size of our moon and it’s the first known planet smaller than any in the solar system.

The planet was detected using NASA’s Kepler telescope, launched in 2009 to hunt for Earth-like planets.

Despite the buzz, the newfound planet is too hot to support life. Scientists estimate its surface temperature is a sizzling 700 degrees Fahrenheit. It also lacks an atmosphere and water on the surface.

The discovery is detailed in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

Scientists are still searching for a planet the size of Earth in the so-called Goldilocks zone – the not-too-hot, not-too-cold place where water could exist on the surface.

Comments { }

Commenting rules: Do not post offensive, racial or violent messages. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the commenter, not www.aikenstandard.com. Click 'report abuse' for any comments that you feel should be removed from the site. However, www.aikenstandard.com is not obligated to remove any comment posted on the site. Moderators do not have the ability to edit comments. Read the terms of use.