Evaporating Mercury Size Planet Found


As if extrasolar planets were not strange enough the Kepler Telescope has found evidence for a mercury size planet orbiting so close to its star that its rock is actually evaporating. Normally such a small planet would not be detectable, but the cloud of gas around it is causing variability in its how much  light is being blocked on different orbits. The planet orbits its star at distance of only 960,000 miles every 15.685 hours, with a surface temperature so hot that it is literally evaporating and should be gone in about 200 million years. It is not only the smallest extra solar planet ever found by the closest to its star and the shortest orbital period of any planet known. See the original paper here.

This is yet another example of how strange extrasolar planets are and how varied planetary systems are. It also just how unique our own system is.

 


 

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