On Monday (21), a team of astronomers from several countries, led by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the United States, announced that they had discovered a planet the size of Earth and that revolves around its star. every 3.14 days.
Nicknamed “planet Pi”, in reference to the famous mathematical constant represented by the Greek letter π and whose value is 3.14, he had the first records captured in 2017. Since then, scientists have been studying the data collected by the K2 mission from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.
As early as 2020, researchers used SPECULOOS, a ground-based telescope network, to confirm that the observed star was actually a planet. The new data also helped to calculate the time taken to complete the orbit around its star, equivalent to 3.14 Earth days.
“The planet moves like clockwork,” said MIT Prajwal Niraula, a graduate student in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. He is the lead author of the study, published in the Astronomical Journal, which details the discovery of “Terra Pi”.
“Too hot to be livable”
Officially called K2-315b, the planet pi has a radius of size almost identical to that of Earth, according to astronomers’ estimates, and orbits a cold star, the mass of which is equivalent to one fifth of the Sun. It revolves around its star at 81 km / s.
With a size similar to that of our planet, K2-315b is probably not one of the candidates for life, as the narrow orbit brings it too close to its star, causing the surface temperature to be around 176ºC. “This is too hot to be habitable,” commented Niraula.
Despite this, scientists say a more detailed study of his atmosphere is needed to prove this possibility.