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February 23 2013

Smallest Exoplanet Yet Discovered by ‘Listening’ to a Sun-like Star

Scientists have discovered a new planet orbiting a Sun-like star, and the exoplanet is the smallest yet found in data from the Kepler mission. The planet, Kepler-37b, is smaller than Mercury, but slightly larger than Earth’s Moon. The planet’s discovery came from a collaboration between Kepler scientists and a consortium of international researchers who employ asteroseismology — measuring oscillations in the star’s brightness caused by continuous star-quakes, and turning those tiny variations in the star’s light into sounds.

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