Astronomers have found 13 candidate planets flying so close to their parent stars that a year on these worlds lasts between just three and 10 hours.
If confirmed, the planets, which were found by NASA's Kepler space telescope, would add another twist to the quirky and dynamic relationship between stars and their orbiting planets.
"This does really force us to think hard about how planets form, where they can live and how they evolve. It seems like almost anytime you think of something crazy to go looking for, it's out there somewhere," astronomer Brian Jackson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science, told Discovery News.
"Like almost every discovery in extrasolar astronomy, it is basically causing people to have to go back and rewrite the textbooks," he said.
For starters, astronomers do not know how the candidate planets ended so close to their parent stars, nor where they came from. The shortest distance between one of the newly found candidate planets and its host stars is about 865,000 miles. That suspected planet orbits its star every 3.3 hours.