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Kepler mission discovers five very hot planets news
05 January 2010

NASA scientists reported Monday the Kepler space telescope had discovered five planets that orbit nearby stars. These newly discovered planets aren't 'Earth-like' because of their close proximity to stars, which makes them unbelievably hot –with temperatures hotter than molten lava.   

Kepler with distant solar system. Image: NASA
Dubbed Kepler 4b, 5b, 6b, 7b, and 8b, the five new planets range in temperature from 2,000 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,090 to 1,650 degrees Celsius), William Borucki, Kepler's principal scientist said at a press briefing at the American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC.

Borucki is working out of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

One of these planets, Kepler 7b, is among the lowest-density planets yet found, with about the same density as Styrofoam, Borucki said.

These planets are "certainly no place to look for life-that will be coming later," with discoveries of Earth-like planets, he added.

The Kepler Mission has been designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy in a bid to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the 'habitable zone' and also to determine how many of the billions of stars in our galaxy have such planets in orbit around them.

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Kepler mission discovers five very hot planets