Earth + 0.4: smallest exoplanet spotted

Today at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, NASA's Kepler team announced the discovery of the smallest exoplanet yet identified. The planet, called Kepler-10b, is only 1.4 times the diameter of the Earth, but it's significantly more heavy and quite a bit hotter, since it orbits well inside the radius of Mercury. Its detection, however, provides a clear indication that Kepler will be able to pick up similarly sized bodies orbiting further out from their host stars.

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