Dense, Hot Super-Earth Is "New Class of Planet"
Exotic world is "a Sumo wrestler in a supermodel body," expert says.
"With a year that lasts less than 18 hours, surface temperatures reaching 2,700 degrees Celsius [4,892 degrees Fahrenheit], and having the density of lead, this is hands down the most exotic world we have ever seen," said study co-author Jaymie Matthews, an astronomer at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
(Related: "'Backward' Planet Has Density of Foam Coffee Cups.")
Nestled in the constellation Cancer, 55 Cancri e is part of a four-planet system that's just 42 light-years away.
The unusual world was discovered in 2004 via ground-based telescopes using a technique called radial velocity. This method measures how much a star "wobbles" due to the gravitational tug of