An artist's impression of Kepler 10b, one of the smallest exoplanets yet discovered.
- Kepler 10b is 560 light years from Earth.
- The planet was discovered by NASA's Kepler Mission, which uses a space based telescope to detect distant planets transiting their stars.
- It was the first confirmed rocky planet to be detected outside our solar system.
- Kepler 10b orbits a star very similar to our own sun but it is around 7 billion years older.
- The maximum temperature on Kepler 10b is around 1,400C (2,500F), which is hot enough to turn its surface into molten lava.
- The effect of solar wind is constantly stripping material from Kepler 10b, leaving a trail of debris as it orbits its star.
- Kepler 10b has a very high density, meaning it must have a huge amount of iron in its composition.
- The force of gravity is around twice as strong on Kepler 10b than it is on Earth.
- One other planet has been discovered in the Kepler 10 system, it is an unusually massive rocky world.
Kepler 10b OrbitKepler 10b revolves around its host star at a distance of only 1.6 million miles (2.6 million km) and takes only 20.5 hours to make one complete orbit. Along with Corot 7b it orbits closer to its host star than any other planet ever detected.
Kepler 10b AtmosphereIf Kepler 10b had originally possessed any kind of substantial atmosphere it has long since been stripped away by its close proximity to its host star.
Kepler 10b Mass and RadiusKepler 10b is estimated to have a mass around 3 to 6 times that of Earth, due to the detection method its radius can be measured accurately at 1.4 times that of Earth, making it one of the smallest exoplanets yet discovered.
Kepler 10b StatisticsHost Star: Kepler 10
Host Star Type: Yellow Dwarf - G Type Main Sequence
Host Star Mass: 90% of Sun
Distance from Earth: 560 light years
Planets Detected in System: 2
Discovery Date: 11th January 2011
Detection Method: Transit Method
Exoplanet Type: Super Earth
Mass: 3 to 6 x Earth
Diameter: 1.4 x Earth
Distance from host star: 1.6 million miles (2.6 million km)
Orbital Period: 13 days
Atmosphere: Tenuous, replenished by emissions from its surface.
Temperature: Surface temperatures around 1,400C (2,500C).
Gravity: 2.2 x Earth gravity
Possibility of Life: None