Earth-like ‘pi planet’ with 3.14-day orbit discovered by researchers

MIT researchers have found the exoplanet K2-315b, approximately the size of Earth, to have a shockingly exact 3.14-day orbit. In comparison, Earth’s orbit around its Sun seems gigantic in comparison—at 365.25 days. The planet serves as a naturally occurring tribute to the universal circumference-to-diameter ratio of any perfect circle.

Due to the planet’s fast-moving orbit of 3.14 days (and therefore close proximity to its star), the exoplanet is described by MIT as “baking hot” and “likely not habitable” in a statement on Monday. “The planet moves like clockwork,” said MIT graduate student Prajwal Niraula, lead author of the paper. The study was published in the Astronomical Journal this week. 

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The exoplanet was discovered among the mountains of data collected by the 2017 NASA Kepler Space Telescope K2 mission. Since 2018, the space telescope has been retired.

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Due to its fast-moving orbit and close proximity, the exoplanet K2-315b moves at a speed of 181,000 mph (291,000 kph) to maintain its orbit. The surface of the exoplanet also reaches temperatures up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). This is actually, coincidentally, the perfect temperature to bake a pi (as MIT noted)!

K2-315b’s orbit is “a delightful alignment of astronomy and mathematics,” MIT says. Keep in mind to celebrate this wonderful exoplanet on Pi Day (March 14, 2021)!

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Source: CNET

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