Planet Pi: An exoplanet that orbits its star every 3.14 days

Planet Pi: An exoplanet that orbits its star every 3.14 days

Astronomers have found a new Earth-like exoplanet that orbits around its star every 3.14 days hence, called the “π” (Pi) planet.

The exoplanet is around 186 light years away from Earth and has a radius nearly the same as that of the blue planet. “K2-315b” is its official name. It orbits around its star at a speed of 81 kilometers per second.

According to the researchers, it is too hot to be habitable as it is in close proximity with its star and thus the surface temperature rises to as high as 176°C (350°F).

K2-315b was spotted in 2017 by the researchers at MIT during the K2 mission of NASA’S Kepler Space Telescope and now is confirmed by 2020 observations by ground-based telescopes called SPECULOOS (Search for Habitable Planets Eclipsing Ultra-cool Stars).

“The planet moves like clockwork”, said Prajwal Nirula, who is a graduate from MIT in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).

The paper regarding the exoplanet was titled in a fun manner by Prajwal Nirula: “Pi Earth: a 3.14-day Earth-sized Planet from K2’s Kitchen Served Warm by the SPECULOOS Team.”

K2-315b is as the name suggests, the 315th alien planet found by the K2 data. It was 1 exoplanet away to be in a mind-boggling symmetry.

The researchers say that the exoplanet is a potential candidate to follow up with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), to keep an eye on the atmosphere of the exoplanet.

For now, the team of astronomers is going through other datasets, like from NASA’s TESS mission in order to find signs for more Earth-like planets.

“There will be more interesting planets in the future, just in time for JWST, a telescope designed to probe the atmosphere of these alien worlds. With better algorithms, hopefully, one day, we can look for smaller planets, even as small as Mars,” said Nirula.

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