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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Moon-Sized Planet Orbits Sunlike Star
20 February 2013 1:45 pm
NASA's Kepler spacecraft has detected the tiniest world ever found around another star that's about as warm and luminous as the sun. The wimpy world (main image, artist's conception) is one of three planets (inset) orbiting Kepler 37, a star 220 light-years from Earth. As astronomers report online today in Nature, the diminutive world is only 3900 kilometers across—smaller than Mercury, only 10% larger than the moon, and 60% larger than Pluto. The puny planet is about as little as one found in 1993 circling a pulsar that also has three planets. In both solar systems, the smallest of the three worlds is the one nearest the star, just as Mercury is smaller and closer-in than Venus and Earth. Because we live on a rather small planet ourselves, the ability to discern such little worlds means astronomers may be approaching the day when they glimpse another life-bearing planet like our own.
See more ScienceShots.