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Planetary Science
The Solar System

What planet has the shortest year?


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April 21, 2011 4:46AM

In our solar system, Mercury has the shortest "year", or orbital period. However, a great number of the extra-solar planets (planets that orbit other stars) have VERY short years, on the order of a few days!

This may be an artifact of the way that NASA is doing the measurements; when your satellite is measuring occultations, then you aren't likely to discover planets in more distant orbits! That's because planets more distant from the star occult much less of the star's surface, and doesn't occult the star's surface AT ALL if the planet's orbital plane doesn't pass through our solar system.