planets_exoplanets_kepler_1500

This chart compares the first Earth-size planets found around a sun-like star to planets in our own solar system, Earth and Venus.NASA’s Kepler mission discovered the newfound planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus with a radius .87 times that of Earth. Kepler-20f is a bit larger than Earth at 1.03 times the radius of Earth. Venus is very similar in size to Earth, with a radius of .95 times that our planet. The images of Kepler-20e and f are artist conceptions.

Prior to this discovery, the smallest known planet orbiting a sun-like star was Kepler-10b with a radius of 1.42 that of Earth, which translates to 2.9 times the volume.

Both Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f circle in close to their star, called Kepler-20, with orbital periods of 6.1 and 19.6 days, respectively. Astronomers say the two little planets are rocky like Earth but with scorching temperatures.

Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

Posted 
April 8, 2012
 in 

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