Release Images

Release No.: 2013-25
For Release: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 2:00pm

Mystery World Baffles Astronomers

Kepler-78b is a planet that shouldn't exist. This scorching lava world, shown here in an artist's conception, circles its star every eight and a half hours at a distance of less than one million miles. According to current theories of planet formation, it couldn't have formed so close to its star, nor could it have moved there.

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Earth and Kepler 78b

This illustration compares our Earth with the newly confirmed lava planet Kepler-78b. Kepler-78b is about 20 percent larger than Earth, with a diameter of 9,200 miles, and weighs roughly 1.8 times as much as Earth.

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Kepler 78b diagram

This diagram illustrates the tight orbit of Kepler-78b, which orbits its star every 8.5 hours at a distance of less than a million miles. It is only 2.7 stellar radii from the center of the star, or 1.7 stellar radii from the star's surface.

David A. Aguilar (CfA)