Scientists have discovered a “planet pi” that is similar in size to our Earth and is about 185 light-years away from us. It orbits its star every 3.14 days. This orbital period is reminiscent of the mathematical constant pi.
According to a report on the Spanish “Abbesa” website, researchers found signals of the planet’s existence in data obtained by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Kepler space telescope K2 mission in 2017. The research team analyzed these signals and various possibilities, and finally confirmed that this is likely to be an orbiting exoplanet, rather than other cosmic phenomena such as binary star systems.
According to the report, the researchers used the SPECULOOS system, an astronomical telescope network that observes from the ground. The mission of this network of telescopes is to search for habitable planets similar to Earth near ultra-cool dwarf stars. These small, weak stars offer astronomers a better chance of detecting orbiting planets and studying their atmospheric characteristics because they lack the illumination of larger, brighter stars. Just like that, researchers confirmed it was a planet. It still appears to be orbiting its star, orbiting it once every 3.14 days.
“The planet runs like a clock,” said Prajwal Niara of MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and lead author of the study.
According to reports, the new planet, labeled K2-315B, has a radius of 0.95 times the radius of the Earth, making it similar in size to the Earth. It orbits a low-mass, cool star about one-fifth the size of the Sun at a speed of 81 kilometers per second.