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Smallest known transiting planet discovered

Finding could help to understand composition and structure of planets beyond the solar system that could have structures like Earth’s

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5:15pm, February 3, 2009

Astronomers report today that they have found an extrasolar planet no more than 11 times Earth’s mass with a diameter about twice that of Earth. The discovery may ultimately provide groundbreaking information about the composition and structure of terrestrial planets beyond the solar system.

Once the team can refine an estimate of the planet’s mass, "this could be a potentially huge discovery, one that we've been waiting for for a long time," comments theorist Sara Seager of MIT. "I'm excited to see what more the team will find out about this prospective terrestrial planet."

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