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August 20 2013

On Lava Planet and Iron World, 'Years' Take Only Hours

Astronomers have discovered a scorching-hot "lava world" whose year lasts just 8.5 hours and determined that another planet candidate with an even tighter orbit is likely composed almost entirely of iron.

The newfound Earth-size exoplanet Kepler-78b is so close to its host star that its surface is likely an enormous ocean of lava, researchers said. Further, the discovery team was able to detect light emitted by the planet a first for a world so small.

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