Contact: Christine Pulliam
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Caption: The super-Earth GJ 1214b, which has 6.5 times the mass of our Earth, orbits its star once every 38 hours at a distance of only 1.3 million miles. Astronomers estimate the planet's temperature to be about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Although warm as an oven, it is still cooler than any other known transiting planet because it orbits a very dim star. Since GJ1214b crosses in front of its star, astronomers were able to measure its radius, which is about 2.7 times that of Earth. This makes GJ1214b one of the two smallest transiting worlds astronomers have discovered to date.
Credit: David A. Aguilar, CfA
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