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Kepler-78b

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Kepler-78b, A ‘lava-world’ planet orbiting 400-light years away has been discovered by scientists, who say the planet they have named Kepler 78b has a similar mass and density to earth.

Kepler 78b is the smallest exoplanet with a known mass and size. Its orbit and mass was determined by analysing the light emitted from its star that was then blocked by the planet as it passed in front.

Scientists measuring the planets mass say it is approximately 1.2 times bigger than Earth, 1.7 times more massive, and has an almost identical density.

Like the Earth, scientists believe Kepler 78b mostly consists of rock and iron. Unlike earth, the planet hugs its parent star so closely that temperatures can reach up to 2,800C, ensuring that nothing could live on the scorching surface.

Although the planet is an uninhabitable “hellish world”, the authors of the study believe it “bodes well for the discovery and characterization of habitable planets.”

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