Imagine waking up every day to a new year.
That’s exactly what happens on a Earth-size fireball of a planet 700 light-years away, which orbits its star in just 8.5 hours.
The newly discovered planet, named Kepler 78b, has one of the shortest orbital periods ever detected with a radius that is only about three times the radius of the star.
The researchers believe that the planet is about 40 times closer to its star than Mercury is to our sun.
Scientists have estimated that the top layer of the planet is likely completely melted, creating a massive, rolling ocean of lava at temperatures at 2760??C.
The star around which Kepler 78b orbits is likely relatively young, as it rotates more than twice as fast as the sun- a sign that the star has not had as much time to slow down.
But what has really excited astronomers is that they were able to detect light emitted by the planet.
This is the first time researchers have been able to do so for an exoplanet as small as Kepler 78b, and it could give scientists detailed information about the planet’s surface composition and reflective properties.
Kepler 78b is so close to its star that scientists hope to measure its gravitational influence on the star.
Such information may be used to measure the planet’s mass, which could make Kepler 78b the first Earth-sized planet outside our own solar system whose mass is known.
The current number of extrasolar planets discovered as of February 2018 is nearly 300.
Based on data from NASA’s K2 mission an international team of scientists have just confirmed nearly 100 new exoplanets, planets located outside our solar system. This brings the total number of new exoplanets found with the K2 mission up to almost 300.