Possible Alien Planet Smaller Than Earth May Be Lava World
Illustration: An artist’s illustration of the alien planet UCF 1.01, a potential exoplanet 33 light-years from Earth that may be covered in lava. Credit: University of Central Florida
Scientists have discovered what appears to be an alien planet just two-thirds the size of Earth, a heat-blasted world perhaps covered in molten lava, a new study reports.
Astronomers discovered the newfound alien planet, known as UCF-1.01, using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The diminutive world is just 33 light-years away, making it a near neighbor of Earth in the cosmic scheme of things.
“We have found strong evidence for a very small, very hot and very near planet with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope,” study lead author Kevin Stevenson, of the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, said in a statement. “Identifying nearby small planets such as UCF-1.01 may one day lead to their characterization using future instruments.”