A newly discovered esopianeta the size of Earth has one very peculiar characteristic — it orbits its star every 3.14 Earth days.
The research, pubblicato in The Astronomical Journal, notes the “pi planet” known as K2-315b is relatively close to Earth at 186 light-years away. Un anno luce, che misura la distanza nello spazio, equals 6 trilioni di miglia.
“The planet moves like clockwork,” the study’s lead author, MIT researcher Prajwal Niraula, detto in a dichiarazione.
Exoplanet K2-315b was discovered in 2017 thanks to NASA’s Kepler telescope, but it wasn’t until this year that its orbit was confirmed via telescopes on Earth.
“Everyone needs a bit of fun these days,” co-author Julien de Wit added.
It’s believed that K2-315b is approximately 95% the size of Earth. It’s also believed to be terrestrial, or rocky, like Earth, but given its close proximity to the star, it’s likely not habitable with a surface temperature approaching 350 gradi Fahrenheit.
“This would be too hot to be habitable in the common understanding of the phrase,” Niraula added.
Additional research is needed to look into K2-315b and could be “a promising candidate to follow up with” using the James Webb Space Telescope.
“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,” Niraula explained. “With better algorithms, hopefully one day, we can look for smaller planets, even as small as Mars.”
Nel mese di luglio, Fox News segnalato that the launch of the James Webb Telescope originally scheduled for March 2021 was pushed back to Oct. 31, 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Più di 4,000 esopianeti sono stati scoperti in totale dalla NASA, circa 50 di cui si credeva potenzialmente abitabile a partire da settembre 2018. Hanno le giuste dimensioni e l'orbita giusta della loro stella per supportare l'acqua superficiale e, almeno in teoria, per sostenere la vita.