Kepler’s K2 mission has revealed the presence of another ‘Super-Earth’ planet. The newly discovered planet, designated EPIC 246393474 b (or C12_3474 b), is ‘more than’ five times more massive than the Earth and orbits its parent star every 6.7 hours, making it the planet having the shortest orbital period known to date with a precisely determined mass.
According to the findings, reported in the journal arXiv , the planet orbits its host star at about 0.007 AU (Astronomical Unit). And because of its close distance with the parent star, the planet has lost its entire atmosphere due to stellar irradiation.
NASA’s Kepler has been so far the most prolific space observatory to hunt for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. To date, the kepler mission has confirmed over 2300 exoplanets. After the mission had been crippled by failure of its two reaction wheels in 2013, NASA repurposed the mission as the K2 “Second Light” – to perform high-precision photometry of selected fields in the ecliptic. Since then, the mission has detected nearly 160 extrasolar worlds.