WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A newly discovered “pi planet” orbits around its star every 3.14 Earth days.
- The exoplanet is believed to be similar to Earth in size and terrain.
- The James Webb Telescope, which has the ability to look into the atmosphere of other planets, may be able to assist in additional research into the exoplanet.
A newly discovered exoplanet has been nicknamed the “pi planet” because it orbits its star every 3.14 days. The research published in the Astronomical Journal says K2-315b is around 186 light-years away from earth (a light-year equals a distance of about 6 trillion miles).
The “pi planet” is also roughly 95% the size of Earth and was discovered back in 2017 using NASA’s Kepler telescope. However, it wasn’t until just this year that other telescopes on Earth confirmed the exoplanet’s orbit.
K2-315b is also believed to be rocky like earth, but it orbits too close to its star, making its surface temperature about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. MIT researcher Prajwal Niraula, the study’s lead author, says that this “would be too hot to be habitable in the common understanding of the phrase.”
The James Webb Space Telescope, designed to probe the atmosphere of alien worlds, will be used to do additional research into K2-315b. Niraula hopes that better algorithms can also help them find and look for smaller planets similar to the size of Mars.
Fox News reported in July that the James Webb Telescope originally scheduled to be launched on March 2021 has a new launch date of Oct. 21, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of September 2018, NASA has discovered over 4,000 exoplanets. Around 50 of these are believed to be potentially habitable — having the right orbit around their star, the right size, and the ability to support surface water which can mean, theoretically, that they can support life.
Source: New York Post