A mysterious exoplanet orbiting a star 31 light-years from Earth in 8 hours has been discovered.
International researchers such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States announced that they discovered such a planet using the TESS space telescope of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
According to the researchers, the planet named ‘Gliese 367b’ (GJ 367 b) is one of the lightest planets discovered to date, with a mass of 55% of Earth’s. The planet also has a diameter of about 9000 km, which is smaller than Earth (about 12,700 km) and larger than Mars (about 6,700 km), but its internal structure is similar to that of Mercury, so it is also called ‘Super Mercury’.
GJ 367 b is likely to be a rocky planet, but its distance from its parent ‘Gliese 367’ (GJ 367) is about 1 million km, so it is exposed to enormous radiation. Therefore, life cannot exist. Mercury is about 58 million kilometers from our Sun.
In addition, GJ 367 b is classified as an ultra-short-period (USP) planet, a group of exoplanets with an orbital period of less than one day due to a short orbital period of 7.7 hours. However, unlike the existing USP planets, the planet has the advantage that it is close enough to Earth, so it is possible to find out the characteristics of these planets that have not been known before. The researchers believe the planet is likely to be rocky and likely to contain a solid core of iron and nickel similar to the interior of Mercury.
The researchers estimate that GJ 376 b emits 500 times the energy of solar radiation. As a result, the daytime temperature of the planet rises to 1500 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the iron and rock would melt and there would be no signs of life as we know it, and the atmosphere would have evaporated.
Currently, GJ 367 b is the only planet orbiting its mother half the size of the Sun, but more planets are expected to be discovered in the system in the future. This is because the mother is generally classified as a multi-planet red dwarf star.
The researchers also believe that there may be more planets around the mother, and that there may be at least one planet within the ‘habitable zone’ where life may exist due to the presence of liquid water at a distance.
The detailed research results were published in the latest issue of the world-renowned academic journal ‘Science’ (December 2).
By Yoon Tae-hee, staff reporter [email protected]